Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
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Georgia parents: Keep in mind the dos and don'ts of child custody

Child custody cases are often difficult, contentious and emotional. There is no doubt that parents can be fearful when their relationship with their children is up in the air, and the logistical demands of sharing custody or having sole custody can be particularly complex.

Because of this, it is very common for parents to be scared, nervous, stressed out and anxious about this process. However, with support from an attorney and some basic legal knowledge, parents can learn what they should do and what they should not do when it comes to establishing child custody in Georgia.

There are many things parents should do when they are dealing with child custody issues.

  • Do know the difference between physical and legal custody and between sole and joint custody.
  • Do focus on protecting the child's well-being
  • Do consider research that suggests children often benefit from having a meaningful relationship with both of their parents
  • Do try to work through the development of an agreeable parenting plan if possible
  • Do report any abuse or physical violence in the home that may affect children

There are also things that parents should not do when faced with child custody issues.

  • Do not use the child and custody to punish another parent 
  • Do not violate the terms of any court order, whether it is prior to a formal custody hearing or after
  • Do not assume you are powerless 
  • Do not lie about the other parent's parenting skills, mental capacity, lifestyle or other factors that courts take into consideration when determining custody
  • Do not neglect your child and his or her wishes

Because of how emotional and life-changing a child custody arrangement can be, the instinct to go against these dos and don'ts can be easier than people may realize. Hopefully, however, this post will serve as a reminder of what parents should focus on and how they can avoid making the situation more difficult than it already is.

There is no doubt that this can all be a lot to take on alone; Georgia parents can and should have the support of an attorney. A legal representative can help parents understand their rights, set appropriate expectations and avoid decisions or behaviors that could harm their case.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Georgia Child Custody Laws," accessed on June 1, 2015

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Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy
Building J
Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Phone: 770-676-1191
Fax: 770-963-2828
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