If you’re going through a divorce or separation in Georgia and have children, the parenting schedule is one of the most important things to consider. A parenting schedule, also known as a visitation schedule, outlines when children will spend time with each parent.
The best parenting plan for you and your children will fit your schedule and puts the kids’ needs first. Perhaps it works best for you and your ex to swap weeks with the kids? Maybe you want to alternate days in a week?
Creating the best parenting plan for you and your family is complicated, especially while trying to divorce. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced family law attorney to create a parenting plan that works for your family and ensures your child has regular contact with both parents.
What is Parenting Time in Georgia?
Parenting time is the time each parent spends with their child after a divorce or separation. In Georgia, parenting time is also known as visitation or access. It is a crucial aspect of a child custody agreement that outlines when the child will be with each parent.
The goal of parenting time in Georgia is to ensure that both parents have a meaningful relationship with their child and to provide stability and structure for the child. It is important to note that parenting time is not the same as physical custody. Physical custody refers to where the child lives, while parenting time refers to the time the child spends with each parent.
Common Parenting Time Schedules in Georgia
In Georgia, your parenting plan should reflect your family’s individual needs. This includes you and your ex’s work schedules, the child’s schooling, their hobbies and extracurricular activities, and who does the bulk of the childcare.
If you’re struggling to figure out what works for you, consider these common parenting time schedules in Georgia:
- 2-2-3 Schedule. With this schedule, the child lives with one parent for two days, then spends the next two days with the other parent, and then returns to the first parent for three days. The starting parent switches each week. This is best for younger children and for parents who live near each other.
- 2-2-5-5 Schedule. The 2-2-5-5 schedule is similar to the 2-2-3 schedule, but the child spends five days with each parent instead of three. The parents alternate weekends.
- 3-4-4-3 Schedule. The 3-4-4-3 schedule is another option where the child spends three days with one parent, four days with the other parent, four days with the first parent, and then three days with the second parent. The parents alternate weekends.
- 4-3 Schedule. The 4-3 schedule is similar to the 3-4-4-3 schedule, but the child spends four days with one parent and three days with the other. The parents alternate weekends. This schedule is often used for older children who can handle longer periods away from one parent.
- Alternating Weeks Schedule. Children spend one week with each parent. This is best for teenagers and older children who can handle longer stretches away from both parents.
- Standard Visitation Plan. The secondary custodian (non-custodial parent) would have parenting time from Friday after school (or starting at 6 p.m.) until Sunday at 6 p.m. (or Monday morning at school) every other weekend and dinner/overnight visitation during the off week.
- Holiday Schedule. In addition to the standard visitation schedule, most parenting plans include a holiday schedule. Holidays typically run from 6 p.m. on the first day to 6 p.m. on the last day, with parents alternating even and odd years. For example, one parent may have custody of the children on Thanksgiving in even years, while the other parent has custody in odd years. The holiday schedule may also include special provisions for birthdays, school breaks, and other important events.
However, these are just standard schedules and may not be appropriate for every family. The court will consider various factors, such as the best interest of the child, the safety of the child, and the ability of both parents to provide for the child when determining the best parenting schedule.
Georgia law encourages both parents to have frequent and meaningful contact with their children, even if they do not have primary custody. This means regular visitation for the non-custodial parent unless there are concerns about the child’s safety and well-being.
Creating a Parenting Plan
If you are going through a custody case in Georgia, you must create a parenting plan. This plan will outline your child’s physical custody arrangement and visitation schedule. If both parents agree, they can file a joint plan. However, if they cannot agree, each parent must submit a separate plan, and the courts will make the ultimate decision based on the child’s best interest.
Best Interest of the Child
During a divorce, the children remain the top priority for the Georgia courts. At every stage of the divorce, Georgia courts will look to make decisions that benefit the child. To do this, they will consider the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs.
Some factors the courts consider when determining a parenting plan include:
- The child’s age and gender
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs
- The child’s school and extracurricular schedule
- Any history of abuse or neglect
Contact Our Atlanta Divorce Attorneys
At Hobson & Hobson, P.C., our Atlanta divorce lawyers can help you and your ex create a parenting plan that works for your family. A good parenting plan can ensure you’re involved in your children’s lives and an integral part of raising them. Our attorneys can meet with you to discuss your parenting plan issues and guide you through the difficult legal process.
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.