If your divorce is final in Georgia, your divorce decree will state who has legal and physical custody of the children. Legal custody deals with decision-making, and physical custody generally reflects with which parent the children will spend most of their time. Often, the major legal custody categories (health, education, religion, and extracurricular activities) are split between the parents, with one parent having final decision-making authority on two categories and the other parent having final decision-making authority on the other two. The divorce decree usually states that the parties both have access to all records and should try to work together but, if they cannot come to an agreement, the final decision-making authority kicks in.
Day-to-day decisions are handled differently, however. In Georgia, a final divorce decree is required to state: “Each parent shall make decisions regarding the day-to-day care of a child while that child is residing with that parent including any emergency decisions affecting the health or safety of a child.” Thus, if a child gets injured while in the custody of the parent who does not have final decision-making on health issues, that parent can still seek treatment for the child. Parents should use their common sense in situations such as this and keep the other parent informed of any major decisions made that affect the children.