FAQs for divorce gavel image

When facing a custody case, one of the most frustrating aspects can be familiarizing yourself with the terminology being used. What exactly does Joint Custody mean in Georgia? What does the distinction between legal custody and physical custody mean? Why does that matter to me?

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The short answer is yes, but with caveats. The child can choose not to visit, but that decision is still subject to judicial review.

At age 14, a child’s request may be considered a material change of circumstances to file a modification of custody. In Georgia, once a child turns 14 he or she may choose which parent will be their primary custodial parent, however, there are instances when a judge can overrule the child’s election. Also, pursuant to Georgia law, children between the ages of 11-14, may also express their desire and courts put substantial weight. Note, however, a child’s choice between the ages of 11-14 of which parent they want to live with is not controlling.

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Under current Georgia Law, there are two ways to legitimate a child born out of wedlock: 1. When the recognized parents of the child marry after the birth of the child; or 2. When the father petitions the superior court of the mother’s residence to legitimate the child.

Typically, a Legitimation action has two components: 1. Legitimating the child as the legal child of the Father; and 2. Securing legal and physical custody rights to the child.

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