Can You Be Granted 50-50 Parenting Time in Georgia?
Child custody after a divorce is a complicated issue. Where the children will live and how much time they’ll spend with each parent is determined by a court based on a host of factors — all related to what is in the children’s best interests. Georgia judges are generally averse to granting 50-50 parenting time, since they find that a child usually benefits from having a single home. Nevertheless, equal parenting time is possible if that is the preference of both parents.
Under Georgia law, there are two types of child custody that a court must award: legal and physical. Legal custody is the right to make decisions about how the children will be raised, including such matters as education, religion, extracurricular activities and social life. Legal custody also includes the right to make decisions about the child’s medical care and special needs affecting the child’s health and well-being. Judges generally have a strong preference for awarding joint legal custody.
Physical custody refers to which parent the child will live with. In Georgia, one parent is usually awarded primary physical custody and the other parent is granted visitation rights. The preference of Georgia judges is to give the child the stability of living in a single household most of the time. Even in joint custody arrangements, parenting time is usually not divided equally.
However, 50-50 parenting time may be awarded if the judge believes that your child’s best interests are being served. The judge’s decision will be based on considering multiple factors, which include:
- The parents’ wishes
- How well the parents get along
- How close the parents live to each other
- The age of the child
- The perceived ability of the child to adjust to switching between residences
- Each parent’s schedule and their ability to care for the child
- The child’s wishes
- Whether either parent has a history of abuse, neglect, or addiction
Your chances of obtaining 50-50 parenting time are vastly improved if you and your spouse can come to an agreement. Although the judge will still scrutinize the proposed arrangement, a carefully thought out and well-prepared parenting plan will be given great weight in the ultimate decision.
Because 50-50 custody arrangements are not the norm in Georgia, it’s essential to get help from an experienced attorney if you want to be awarded this type of parenting schedule. The Law Office of S. Mark Mitchell, LLC in Newnan is ready and able to assist you. Please call 470-344-8550 or contact the firm online to schedule a free case evaluation.