When a family law attorney meets with a prospective client for the first time, that attorney often has to spend time dispelling some divorce myths in order to give the prospective client a better idea of what to expect throughout the divorce process. One widely believed divorce myth is that the mom will always get the kids. This is simply not true. In fact, Georgia law clearly addresses this issue: “In all cases in which the custody of any child is at issue between the parents, there shall be no prima-facie right to the custody of the child in the father or mother. There shall be no presumption in favor of any particular form of custody, legal or physical, nor in favor of either parent.” O.C.G.A. § 19-9-3(a)(1). Rather, the court will consider “all the circumstances of the case…to determine solely what is for the best interest of the child and what will best promote the child’s welfare and happiness.” O.C.G.A. § 19-9-3(a)(2).
While there is no presumption that the mother should get primary custody, the circumstances of many cases can warrant that result. In our society, the father is more commonly working longer hours than the mother, and the mother is more traditionally the primary caregiver. In these more traditional cases, it may be in the best interests of the children for the mother to remain the primary caregiver. But this is not simply because she is the mother – it is because the facts of that particular case deem giving her primary custody in the best interests of the children. It is important to remember that the law is very clear in Georgia that there is no preference in favor of the mother. The court’s decision will be based on all the circumstances of your particular case, with no gender bias coming into play. If you sense that you might have a potential child custody battle on your hands, contact the Atlanta Divorce Team today. With offices in Atlanta, Alpharetta, Cumming, Woodstock, Duluth, Decatur and Canton, Meriwether & Tharp is your Atlanta Divorce Team.