If you are a parent going through a divorce or separation, one of the most important decisions you will make is how to divide custody of your child. In Georgia, the law considers it ideal for parents to share legal custody of a child as close to equally as possible so that both parents can make important decisions about the child’s life and upbringing. However, physical custody is also a crucial aspect of custody arrangements, as it determines where the child will live and spend their time.
One question that often arises in custody disputes is how far apart parents can live and still have 50/50 custody. While there is no hard and fast rule, most family lawyers recommend that parents live within 20 miles of each other to share custody. If parents live further apart, it can become more challenging to manage the logistics of transportation and scheduling, and one parent may be awarded primary physical custody. However, it is ultimately up to the judge to determine what is in the child’s best interests when deciding custody arrangements.
Legal Requirements for 50/50 Custody in Georgia
Georgia state law encourages parents to share legal custody of the child as equally as possible. This means that both parents get to make important decisions about the child’s life and upbringing. Physical custody, on the other hand, defines where the child will live. To achieve a 50/50 split in physical custody, specific legal requirements must be met.
When parents share joint physical custody in Georgia, they have roughly equal time with the child. For example, one parent may have four overnights per week, while the other may have three.
However, in some cases, the distance between the parents’ homes may make it difficult for the child to travel back and forth. This can be especially true if the parents live in different school districts or one parent lives far away from the child’s doctor or other essential resources.
For 50/50 custody to work in Georgia, parents must live close enough for the children to spend roughly equal time with each. If that cannot be done without putting the children through excessive travel, 50/50 custody may not work.
Legal custody refers to the right of a parent or guardian to make major life decisions, such as schooling and religious upbringing. In Georgia, parents can share joint legal custody, meaning they have an equal say in these decisions. However, the court may award sole legal custody to one parent if it is in the child’s best interests.
Both parents must be willing and able to work together for the child’s benefit if they wish to split legal custody 50/50. This may require the parents to create a detailed parenting plan that outlines how decisions will be made and how conflicts will be resolved. An experienced child custody attorney can help parents create a parenting plan that meets their needs and protects their child’s best interests.
Factors Considered in Determining 50/50 Custody
When it comes to determining 50/50 custody in Georgia, the court’s primary concern is the child’s best interest.
When determining what is in the child’s best interest, the courts will examine several factors:
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs
- The child’s relationship with each parent and other family members
- The child’s age and developmental needs
- The child’s preferences, if they are old enough to express them
- Each parent’s ability to co-parent and communicate effectively
- Any history of domestic violence or substance abuse by either parent
The court will weigh these factors and make a decision that is in the best interest of the child.
Georgia courts take allegations of child abuse very seriously and will thoroughly investigate any such claims. If child abuse or neglect is found, the court will limit or deny that parent’s custody and visitation rights. If you have concerns about your child’s safety, it is crucial to bring them to the court’s attention.
Out-of-State Custody Arrangements
When parents live in different states, custody arrangements can become more complicated. If you and your co-parent live in different states and are seeking 50/50 physical custody, it is essential to work with a Georgia child custody lawyer who has experience with out-of-state custody arrangements.
One important consideration is the school district where your child will attend school. If the parents live far apart, it may be difficult for the child to attend school in both districts. In this case, the court may consider which parent has stronger ties to the child’s school district and community.
Another consideration is transportation. If one parent lives significantly further away, arranging transportation for the child to visit the other parent may be difficult. The court may consider the cost and feasibility of transportation when making custody decisions.
Sometimes, it may be necessary to modify custody arrangements if one parent moves to a different state. If you are considering relocating or if your co-parent has relocated, it is important to consult a child custody lawyer to protect your rights.
Contact Our Atlanta Divorce Attorneys
At Hobson & Hobson, P.C., our Atlanta divorce and child custody attorneys are here to help you through the child custody process. We know that your children are your top priority, and we work tirelessly to protect your parenting rights throughout the divorce process. Let us make it easier for you, so you can focus on your children and on helping them through this difficult time.
Call us today at (770) 284-6153 or fill out our confidential contact form. We can set up a consultation so that you can review all your legal options.
Attorney Sarah Hobson at Hobson and Hobson, P.C. are powerful advocates for those who fight for better futures for those going through divorce and custody law matters.