Atlanta Physical Custody Lawyer

If you are in the process of negotiating a divorce, understanding the types of child custody that may be granted is essential. However, because of the often contentious nature of many legal proceedings, it may be difficult to navigate this process alone.

Instead, having an Atlanta physical custody lawyer by your side may prove useful. An attorney who is well-versed in negotiations over custody could help to explain your rights and work to reach an outcome that is beneficial for you and your child.

How is Physical Custody Defined in Atlanta?

Simply put, physical custody is the parenting time schedule—where the child will physically be and who will have rights to the child at all times. In most situations, one parent is designated as the primary physical custodian of the children.

Furthermore, their residence is established for purposes of administrative needs, on the basis of education and choice of schools, as we as to where that child lives. Physical custody also includes schedules during holidays, school breaks, and summer vacation, in addition to the regular parenting time schedule. A seasoned Atlanta lawyer could help to explain these nuances of physical custody at length.

Why Physical Custody is Highly Contested During Trial

Physical custody is often heavily disputed when parents have differing views over how the child should be raised, as well as the type of contact they want to have with their children in the future. Often, however, there are certain concerns about one party’s substance abuse, mental health status, or a history of domestic violence that might contribute to a heavily-contested physical custody situation.

No matter the circumstances, parents see the situation from their own perspective. This is part of the reason why divorce proceedings—and, as an extension, custody negotiations—are often emotional and contentious. In most cases, one parent will no longer see their child every day, because they will be living in separate households.

The Financial Responsibilities of Physical Custody

Typically, the primary physical custodian is the recipient of child support. This support is intended to help with the added cost of shelter, food, and clothing that the primary custodian incurs by having their child or children more than 50 percent of the time. Depending on how these elements are allocated by the court in a settlement agreement, the physical custodian may also be potentially responsible for extracurricular activity costs—unless those are allocated differently.

All other major costs that are not allocated in a final decree—or during a settlement agreementare the responsibility of the primary physical custodian. Furthermore, assuming that the agreed-upon support is being paid by the parent who has no custody rights, the physical custodian is responsible for all remaining financial responsibilities for the child or children in their custody.

Furthermore, in cases where there is joint equal custody, the party who has the higher income is usually deemed to be the non-custodial parent for the purposes of support. The intention of this is to maintain a similar lifestyle that the child has been accustomed to prior to the divorce.

How Support Payments are Calculated by Custody

In Atlanta, there is no set formula as to what amount should be paid in an equal parenting time arrangement. Instead, it is up to the discretion of the judge, and often depends on the specific facts and circumstances in each case—including the financial disparity between each parent, as well as the needs of the children.

Additionally, the primary physical custodian and their tax status are not necessarily determined by Georgia law. Regarding taxes, the custodial parent can agree to allow the non-custodial parent to claim the children for any tax purpose whatsoever. Furthermore, once physical custody is awarded to one parent, the court cannot override federal law with regards to which parent can claim a child for any tax purpose.

How an Atlanta Physical Custody Attorney Could Help

During a divorce proceeding, either parent might benefit from consulting with an Atlanta physical custody lawyer when considering the future care of their child. The law regarding custody is nuanced, meaning there is never a simple, clear-cut analysis.

Therefore, hiring an attorney who is familiar with how a judge or court system has handled these disputes in the past may help to clarify the entire legal process. To schedule a consultation, call a legal professional today.