Discussions over thorny issues like property division and alimony can become heated during a divorce, but parents are usually able to put their personal differences aside when it comes to the welfare of their children. Studies show that about 90% of child custody disputes are resolved amicably, so the bitter court battles often portrayed in movies and television shows are actually quite rare. With that being said, we do not advise going at it alone. There are many aspects to child custody cases that can be overlooked. An Atlanta child custody lawyer can help you reach the outcome you’re looking for in your child custody case.
When parents are unable to reach an agreement at the negotiating table and these issues are left up to judges to decide, they make their decisions based upon what they believe to be in the best interests of the child.
Child Custody Lawyers in Atlanta
There was a time when divorcing mothers were often awarded sole custody of their children, but joint custody arrangements are now the preferred solution in most cases.
That’s because researchers have found that children cope much better and develop far fewer emotional and behavioral problems when they spend time with both of their parents after a divorce.
In modern divorce cases, judges tend to order joint custody unless the facts suggest that doing so would harm the child or place them in danger. Factors family law judges consider when determining the best interests of the child include:
- The psychological and physical health of the parents
- The involvement each parent has in the child’s education and social life
- The emotional ties the child has with each parent
- Records of domestic violence or substance abuse
- The lifestyles of each parent
- The ability of each parent to provide the child with a safe and nurturing environment
- The wishes of children aged 11 or older
The Importance of Parenting Plans
Before the judge issues child custody rulings, they study the parenting plan or plans submitted by the parties involved. These documents let judges know how the child’s time will be spent and which parent will make the final decision on important matters like health care and education.
Joint parenting plans are preferred, but parents can submit separate plans if they are unable to agree. If you need help drafting a parenting plan, the Atlanta child custody lawyers at Bell & Washington can assist you.
Temporary Child Custody
Temporary child custody begins when divorce is filed, and it is where a temporary decision is made about where children will spend most of their time.
During this time, the court will usually order that the child live with one parent and have regular visits with the other parent. However, temporary custody is rewarded to the parent that is living in the existing marital home most of the time.
This arrangement gives both parents a chance to show the court that they can care for their child while still allowing the child to maintain strong relationships with both parents.
Modifying Child Custody
Child custody orders can be modified if the arrangements in place are no longer in the child’s best interests.
This sometimes happens when one of the parents develops a substance abuse problem or enters into a romantic relationship with a person who could be a bad influence on the child or even harm them.
Either parent can petition the court for a child custody modification, but their requests are unlikely to be granted unless they can show that the situation has changed significantly and no longer serve the child’s best interests. If you need help modifying a child custody arrangement, our team of Atlanta child custody lawyers is ready to help.
Our Atlanta Child Custody Lawyers Put Your Children First
If you are going through a divorce and are worried about losing access to your children, it’s best to speak with an experienced Atlanta child custody lawyer before doing anything that could have a negative impact on your case. The Family Law Attorneys at Bell & Washington have more than five decades of experience in this area, and we can use this experience to help you find common ground with your ex-husband or wife and avoid a protracted and bitter custody dispute.
If you would like to discuss these matters more fully, you can call us at 404.437.6641 or use our contact form to arrange a free consultation.