Establishing Custody For The Divorce Process
Guidelines Until The Divorce Is Final
Temporary custody provides a measure of stability during the divorce process. Either parent can request a temporary custody hearing during the divorce. At the temporary custody hearing, a judge will issue custody, support and parenting time orders that will last only until trial, at which time final orders will be issued.
Emergency Motions To Change Final Custody Orders
Once established, courts are generally reluctant to modify final custody orders. However, if you can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances and that your child is in a situation detrimental to his or her well-being, it is possible to modify final custody orders. Such changed circumstances could include:
- Improved or worsened health conditions
- Improved or worsened mental conditions
- The child’s preference, if he or she is old enough to understand the issues involved
It is beneficial to bring before the court issues involving the children’s well-being. Even if a modification is denied, the court should be aware of the health, mental state and other factors regarding the custodial parent that affect your child’s best interests.
How Do You File for Temporary Custody During Divorce?
Many Georgia divorce cases include a temporary custody petition. This petition, which should be filed in the county where either you or the other parent resides, seeks to define your custody rights while the divorce is in progress.
In Georgia, the process after you file the petition depends on which county you live in. For example, in Paulding County, you are generally required to mediate your action before the court will grant you a temporary custody hearing, while in Cobb County, you can seek a temporary hearing at the time of filing. Any urgent temporary custody issue will have to be treated as an emergency and should be filed with help from a temporary custody lawyer.
Who Can File for an Emergency Custody Order in Georgia?
Either parent may file for emergency custody prior to divorce or separation if there is good reason to believe that the other parent is abusive or neglectful. When both parents are unable to care for their child or children due to circumstances like illness, child abandonment, or even death, a concerned friend or family member can request emergency custody or guardianship through the probate or juvenile court. (There is also an option for third parties to seek custody in the county’s Superior Court).
Once provided with temporary custody, the guardian(s) have the legal authority to make decisions regarding medical treatment, access to benefits or funds intended for the child, and more. A Georgia child custody attorney can help them seek a permanent arrangement if it is in the best interests of the child.
What if the Other Parent Denies You Access to Your Child?
When a custody order is in place, Georgia courts frown on parents who ignore its terms. If you have shared custody or visitation and your former spouse or partner refuses to let you see the children, see a temporary custody lawyer about requesting a hearing as soon as possible. With non-emergency cases, you can potentially wait at least 60 days for a court date, so be sure to act quickly. At the Gentry Law Firm LLC, we can help you get the process started and guide you through it.
What if Your Child Asks for a Change in the Custody Arrangement?
When making custody decisions, Georgia courts are always guided by the Best Interests of the Child Standard. If a child over the age of 11 but under 14 later expresses a preference for which parent they want to live with, the judge may grant temporary custody to that parent for a trial period not to exceed six months.
If your child is 14 years of age or older, they have the right to choose which parent they want to live with, and their selection will be presumptive unless it is determined not to be in their best interests. For example, a 15-year-old who wants to live with Mom because she lets them skip school and not do their homework is not likely to have their wish granted.
Call Us For An Initial Consultation
With the Gentry Law Firm LLC, you will receive the benefit of a legal team with more than 30 years of experience, who can walk you through all custody matters. Our attorneys are knowledgeable, compassionate, and communicative family law attorney. Temporary custody can play an important role in divorce proceedings; it is important to begin protecting your legal rights and relationship with your children immediately. Failing to protect your rights during this critical time can have long-term consequences. To schedule your initial consultation, reach us at 770-425-5573 or through this online form. Located in Marietta, Georgia, we represent clients throughout Cobb County and surrounding areas.