Child Custody in Georgia

One of the most important—and often the most contentious—aspects of a divorce is that of child custody. Determining where the child or children will live and the amount of time each parent is allowed or required to spend with the children is a matter that Georgia courts take very seriously.

Child custody is also an important matter in cases where the parents were never married. Georgia law is very specific regarding the physical, emotional and monetary responsibilities of each parent for his or her child, regardless of their relationship status with the other parent.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is the right of a parent to make decisions regarding the upbringing of a child or children. Under Georgia law, the four categories of decision-making are:

  • Religious upbringing
  • Education
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Non-emergency healthcare

The court may order sole legal custody (which means that these decisions will rest with one parent) or joint legal custody (both parents will share in making these decisions).

Physical Custody

Physical custody is a term used to describe where the child is physically located. Various arrangements can be made that include:

  • Joint physical custody: both parents have equal time with the child or children
  • Sole physical custody: one parent is the custodial parent and the other has visitation privileges
  • Split custody: In divorces involving more than one child, each parent has sole custody of one or more children

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