There are two child custody options in Georgia. The first and more common option is joint custody. Meanwhile, the other option is sole custody. If you receive sole custody or your partner is seeking sole custody, there are a few things you should know. Find out what sole custody means for Georgia residents.
What is Sole Custody in Georgia?
Whether you’re in the midst of a Georgia divorce or you’re unmarried and establishing rights, you need to determine custody. This shows who will make the primary decisions for the child, and also dictates who will have the most rights to the child. If the court awards you sole custody, you have permanent custody of the child. It grants physical custody to you, which means the child lives with you on a full-time basis. However, sole custody is about more than just physical custody. It also gives you legal custody of your child. When the time comes to make major decisions about the child, you have all of the rights. You can make decisions that relate to the education, medical care, and religion of the child.
It’s true that sole custody limits one parent’s rights to the child. However, it does not eliminate all rights. More specifically, it allows the noncustodial parent the right to visitation. If you want to deny visitation, you need to get a court order. This is only common in serious situations that put the child in harm’s way.
How it Differs from Joint Custody
The courts consider sole custody much more extreme than joint custody. And there is a good reason for this mindset. Sole custody limits one parent’s rights, while joint custody allows them to share legal responsibility for the child. If they need to make a major decision, they must discuss it and agree.
Joint custody also allows for both parents to spend equal time with the child. Although one parent often gets more time, the other parent can get overnights and frequent visitation. However, the amount of visitation varies depending on the situation. If both parents can’t agree on visitation, the court takes over.
When Does a Court Award Sole Custody?
The court likes to preserve the bond between parents and their children. Because sole custody limits that bond, the Georgia court hesitates to award a parent with sole custody. There are only a few situations in which sole custody is an option. Here are a few examples of why a court might award sole custody to one parent:
- Drug abuse
- Alcohol abuse
- Child endangerment
- Physical or sexual abuse
For the court to even consider sole custody, they need to see that the other parent is a danger to the child. If there is no evidence of danger, then they are unlikely to award sole custody. Typically, you need to prove a history of neglect, substance abuse, or violence.
More About Sole Custody in Georgia
With 11.3% of the population in Georgia divorced, child custody battles are common. Many of the divorces involve lengthy court battles that center around child custody cases. Whether you want joint custody or sole custody, you could be in for a fight.
If you want to seek sole custody or fight an attempt for sole custody, you need a family law Attorney in Newnan, GA. Either way, you need to fight for your rights in court.