If you are going through a big change, such as moving or rearranging your work schedule, you may need to make amendments to your child custody arrangement.
By petitioning the court, a divorced parent in Georgia can request changes to an existing child custody order. These changes may be accepted or negotiated by the court. For example, the court may allow the custodial parent to move out of state with the child(ren) in exchange for allowing the non-custodial parent more visitation time.
The court could also change the type of custody order completely by changing how sole custody, joint custody, joint legal custody or joint physical custody is granted.
Many considerations related to the child’s best interests are taken into consideration by the court or a judge to determine how amendments should be made. If the child is at least 11 years old, but younger than 14 years old, the child can state which parent he or she would prefer to live with. However, the child's opinion may be overruled if the judge does not agree that the choice is in his or her best interests.
Generally, considerations made to determine the child’s best interests involve:
- The continuity of each parent’s relationship with the child
- Physical and mental health of each parent
- Home environment offered by each parent
- The ability for each parent to care for and nurture the child
- The ability for each parent to ensure the child’s health, educational, and social needs are met
- Financial stability of each parent
- Criminal history of either parent
These are just a few of the considerations the court reviews during proceedings.
If you are considering making amendments to your child’s custody arrangement, contact an attorney to help you prepare your defense.