In Georgia, custody has to be decided in a variety of cases. For example, in a divorce case, parents will have to decide who gets custody of the children, along with legal rights to make a decision for those children. It is possible to have joint custody when both parents share custody of the child in question.
However, it’s important to recognize that the court also decides who has legal custody and physical custody or which arrangement will be chosen for a family. Be sure to connect with a family lawyer who can guide you throughout the decision and appeal process.
Continue reading to know more about the differences between legal custody and physical custody.
What’s Legal Custody?
Legal custody is a right that allows a parent to make decisions for their child in major areas that the child will be involved in. For example, these decisions can include where the child goes to school, what they wear, and even medical decisions such as surgery needed.
Essentially, legal custody is recognized as guardianship in Georgia. Parents with joint legal custody have to share the decision-making process for their child. The parents will discuss the child and make decisions together.
What’s Physical Custody?
Physical custody is a right that gives a parent the right to live with their child and provide day-to-day care. There may be cases wherein both parents have physical custody of the child in question. However, the court can impose limits on a certain parent, depending on the situation.
The notable difference between physical custody and legal custody is that the former gives a parent the right to be with their child. Meanwhile, the latter only provides a parent with the right to make major decisions for the child.
How Do Courts Decide Between the Custody Types?
When courts decide between the two types of custody, it is important to note that courts place the child’s best interest first. A family lawyer can help you appeal and get the custody arrangement that you feel will best benefit the child in question.
Typically, the relationship between the child and the parent will be evaluated. The child may be asked to talk with the parent in question to know more about their relationship, which could help the judge determine which custody arrangement is most suitable.
What Factors Are Recognized in Court?
It is important to note that judges tend to consider several factors in determining the arrangement. For instance, a judge will always take into account the living conditions of the parent in question, along with their physical and mental well-being. Their behavior and financial capability to provide for a child are also assessed.
The child’s own opinion is also taken into consideration under Georgia law, provided that they are 14 years of age or older. At the very least, they may share their preference in court about which parent they would like to have physical custody.
It’s important to note that both types of custody are important. Legal custody will affect major decisions the child will be involved in, while physical custody means the parent is given the right to be with the child and provide daily care.
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