In child custody cases, the Georgia court generally supports the idea that it is in the child’s best interests to have both parents play an active and engaged role in the child’s life. Unfortunately, factors often exist that make this a problem. The threat of family violence, abuse, or neglect may require the need for supervised visitation to avoid putting the child at risk. The court may order the parent in question to obtain counseling, as well as to abstain from using alcohol. Alcohol screening tests can help ensure the person is in compliance with the court order, while also ensuring the safety of the child during these visits.

There are situations in which parents become unable to care for their children. It could be due to injury or illness, the result of an addiction, or allegations of abuse. Placing the child into the care of another responsible adult is often the best way to ensure the child is protected and cared for. When done on a voluntary basis, establishing a temporary guardianship is less complicated than seeking permanent child custody, and it allows all parties to work at eventually reuniting the parent and the child.

Whether you are going through a divorce or dealing with child custody issues outside of wedlock, it is important to understand that both parents have rights in the process. In fact, when it comes to awarding custody, Georgia law does not favor one biological parent over the other (although, as discussed below, unmarried fathers must take some additional steps in order to establish their right to custody).

If you are preparing for a divorce or separation, planning ahead will help give you the best chance to secure the parenting time or guardianship rights you desire. While there are many factors to consider in the process, below are some of the most crucial considerations to keep in mind.

father drawing with sons

When seeking custody in Georgia, it is important to have a clear understanding of the laws and legal principles that apply to your individual circumstances. While the path differs for married and unmarried fathers, contrary to popular belief, the law specifically provides that preference not be given to the mother or the father. Once paternity has been established (when the parents are unmarried paternity must be established through a legal action; in a divorce, paternity is presumed unless successfully challenged by the mother, her husband, or the putative (biological) father), the law focuses on ensuring the best possible living situation for the children involved.