When it comes to determining the best custody arrangement for a child, there are several factors to consider.
We often hear the question ‘What type of custody is best for a child?’ And the legal answer seems like circular logic – it’s the custody that is in the best interest of the child (at least that is the standard in the state of Georgia, where we are).
The welfare and best interests of the child should always be the top priority in any custody decision. And you can’t find out the best type of custody unless you look at the specific situation of parents and child, to see what’s best for the child.
In this blog post, we will explore different types of custody arrangements and their implications on a child’s well-being.
What is the Best Custody Arrangement for a Child?
The best custody arrangement for a child depends on various factors such as the child’s age, their relationship with each parent, and the parents’ ability to cooperate and communicate effectively.
In most cases, a joint custody arrangement where both parents share equal responsibilities and decision-making authority can be beneficial for the child’s overall development.
Joint custody allows the child to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents, which is crucial for their emotional well-being.
It also promotes stability and consistency in the child’s life, as they get to spend quality time with each parent.
But, this is only possible when the parents live very close to each other and when the parents are able to co-parent well. Unfortunately, not all parents live close or are able to co-parent – after all, there is a reason the parents go divorced or were never married in the first place.
What is the Most Common Type of Custody Arrangement?
In many jurisdictions, including Georgia, the most common type of custody arrangement is joint legal custody with one parent having primary physical custody.
This means that both parents have an equal say in major decisions regarding the child’s education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.
However, the child primarily resides with one parent while the other parent typically has visitation rights or parenting time.
This arrangement ensures that both parents remain involved in the child’s life, while providing a stable home environment for the child.
It allows the child to have a primary residence and routine, which can be especially important for younger children who thrive on consistency.
How Many Types of Custody Are There in Georgia?
In Georgia, there are three main types of custody:
Physical custody refers to where the child resides on a day-to-day basis.
It can be either sole physical custody, where the child primarily resides with one parent, or joint physical custody, where the child spends significant time with both parents.
Additionally, there can be primary and secondary physical custody, where one parent is the primary physical custodian (who the child lives with more than 50% of the year) and the other parent is the secondary physical custodian (who the child lives with less than 50% of the year).
Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, including education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.
It can be either sole legal custody, where one parent has the authority to make these decisions, or joint legal custody, where both parents share the decision-making responsibilities.
Usually, legal custody means termination of a parent’s rights – so most custody arrangements are joint legal custody, because sole legal custody means the other parent has no rights or decision making authority in regards to their child, and that is a high bar to cross.
Visitation rights, also known as parenting time, refer to the noncustodial parent’s right to spend time with the child.
The specific visitation schedule can vary depending on the circumstances and the best interests of the child.
It’s important to note that custody arrangements are highly individualized and can be tailored based on the unique needs and circumstances of each family.
The courts aim to provide a custody arrangement that promotes the child’s well-being and ensures their safety and stability.
It often hard to make the best choice when it comes to separating a child from what they are accustomed to, having both parents in their lives and ready access to them when needed.
So even though deciding what type of custody is best for a child is sometimes a difficult one to make, the best custody arrangement for a child depends on various factors, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Joint custody with one parent having primary physical custody is a common arrangement that allows both parents to remain involved in the child’s life while providing stability.
Ultimately, the court will consider the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements.
If you have any specific questions or concerns regarding custody issues, it is advisable to consult with a family law attorney who can provide personalized guidance based on your situation.