Types of Child Custody

Child Custody Classifications in Georgia

If you have questions about child custody in Georgia or wish to consult The Mason Law Firm, LLC, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm to set up a consultation. Our Cherokee County legal and physical custody attorneys would be happy to help. Otherwise, if you are seeking clarification about certain child custody-related terms, please read the information below.

Legal vs. Physical Custody

There are two components of child custody: legal custody and physical custody.

Legal Custody is the authority of one or both parents to make important decisions regarding the well-being of each child. Joint legal custody is routinely granted or agreed to by parents. This style of legal custody creates an obligation for both parents to discuss their children and major decisions prior to any decision being made; however, one parent must be the final decision-maker (tiebreaker vote) as to one or all of the following categories: education, medical, religious, extracurricular activities. What the tiebreaker gets to determine can be made more specific by the parties in negotiations. In addition, the decision-making authority can be split between the parties. However, each parent needs to have a clear understanding of  his or her rights. Does education decision-maker mean choosing the school? Does religious decision-maker mean choosing the only church the children attend? Negotiations need to occur to resolve these questions.

Sole Legal Custody is a style of custody that provides to one parent the absolute right to control all decisions affecting the children and does not obligate communication with the other parent.

Physical Custody defines where the children live primarily. Usually, the parents agree or a judge rules that one parent is the Primary Physical Custodian of the child(ren). The other parent is the Secondary Physical Custodian and has visitation with the child(ren). This designation has a substantial meaning besides physical time spent with the children. The designation could affect your taxes, the school the child(ren) can attend or whether insurance is available.

Some parents wish to split time with the children on a 50-50 basis. This arrangement is called Joint Physical Custody. Usually, the child(ren) spends one week with one parent then another week with the other parent. Some judges are very hesitant to allow this type of physical custody to be contained in the Order. It is critical that if you seek this type of arrangement, you should consult our firm to ensure your custody arrangement is handled appropriately.

Child Custody and Parenting Plans

Parenting Plan is a document that will guide you through what custody and visitation decisions you need to make. If your case is contested, each party will submit a proposed Parenting Plan prior to the Temporary and Final Hearings. The judge will hear testimony and create his or her own Parenting Plan for the parties. If your case is uncontested, you and your spouse can be as creative as you would like regarding visitation; however, you need to ensure there is a definite schedule with dates and times. We encourage our clients to take this document seriously. A Parenting Plan could guide each parent’s visitation time with his or her child(ren) until the child(ren) is/are 18 years old. We suggest you meet with The Mason Law Firm, LLC, to further discuss parenting plan options that work best. We have drafted hundreds of these plans and know what works best.

Contact a Cobb County Family Law Attorney Today

Contact The Mason Law Firm, LLC, via e-mail or call 770-720-7596 to consult a Cherokee County child custody attorney.