Can Fathers Win Child Custody in Georgia?
Can Fathers Win Child Custody Cases in Georgia?
Many people believe that there is a bias against granting child custody to dads and that moms are more likely to win. Is it very common for our clients to ask us whether a father can win a child custody case. The simple answer is yes.
It is essential to understand that Georgia law does not provide any bias, based on the gender of the parent, for determining custody. Georgia law goes out of the way to expressly state that it does not favor either parent when making a custody decision. O.C.G.A. § 19-9-3(a)(1). In fact, it is well settled in Georgia case law that when it comes to child custody determinations in Georgia, both mothers and fathers have equal status under the law. Gambrell v. Gambrell, 244 Ga. 178 (1979).
That answer, however, glosses over what is involved in making a child custody determination in Georgia. When determining child custody, a judge will need to determine what is in the "best interests of the child/children involved". To determine what is the best interests of the child/children, the judge will review a series of factors. You can read more about those factors here. As you are reading through the child custody factors, take a moment to consider how those factors apply to your case. Be sure to let your attorney know if you have any questions about the how the factors apply.
Why do so many individuals believe that fathers cannot get a "fair shake" when it comes to custody determinations? That is a question well beyond the scope of our site. That said, we wanted to reassure fathers that just because you are a father does not mean that you can not be awarded primary physical custody. If you have concerns about getting a "fair shake" during the custody process - call Meriwether & Tharp now at (678) 879-9000 or schedule an appointment for your free phone consultation with one of our child custody lawyers.
To learn more about common or standard child custody visitation plans, take a look at the card below. Remember that these are common visitation plans. Accordingly, they may not fit your situation exactly. Your child custody lawyer will work with you to craft the visitation that best fits your family's needs.
Traditional Visitation ("Standard Visitation")
Under this plan, that traditionally has been used the most for outlining custody, the primary custodian (A) would have most of the parenting time with the minor child(ren). The secondary custodian (B) would have parenting time from Friday after school (or starting at 6 p.m.) until Sunday at 6pm (or Monday morning at school) every other weekend and dinner(s)/overnight visitation during the off week. The choice between pickups and drop-offs at school v. at 6 pm varies based upon the needs of the parties in each case with a preference towards drop offs at school to avoid conflict that may be caused by an in- person exchange.
Similar to the traditional visitation plans, this format has an every other weekend approach. The extra day allows for the noncustodial parent (B) to have extended visitation with the child(ren). As in the traditional example, pickups and dropoffs can occur either at school or at a designated time. This hybrid of joint visitation and traditional visitation has been growing in popularity over recent years.
Weekly Exchange (Joint Custody)
This custody arrangement has also been popular. Obviously, it's a week on/week off format that requires extended time away from the other parent. As a result, this format is slightly disfavored as of late.
2/2/5 (also referred to as 2/2/3) (Joint Custody)
This plan is a relatively new version of the weekly exchange schedule and provides for a similar 50/50 joint custody arrangement. This plan, however, breaks the monotony of the weekly exchange schedule and provides its own level of certainty for the child(ren) involved. Since each parent has two designated nights for visitation during the week, it allows a parent to schedule day care and extracurricular activites on a consistent basis that was generally prevented under the week on/week off type of schedule. Additional, this plan provides each parent with alternating full weekends with the child.