When the parents of a child divorce or separate, they must work together to create a parenting plan and visitation schedule that complies with Georgia law and is in the best interests of their child. However, negotiating a parenting schedule during a divorce can be complicated and may necessitate the help of an experienced Marietta visitation lawyer. Once retained, a dedicated family law attorney could help you create or modify a parenting plan that meets your child’s needs.
In Georgia, parents may be granted one or both of two types of custody. Legal custody grants the right to make decisions regarding their child’s medical treatment, education, religious practices, and other important matters. Alternatively, physical custody dictates where and with whom the children live.
Parents can share legal and physical custody of their children, and a judge may award joint custody to both parents. In cases where parents cannot share physical custody equally, one parent might be awarded physical custody while the other parent is awarded visitation. This may occur if one parent has a work schedule or other obligations that could prevent them from properly caring for the child.
The parent with visitation is normally the parent responsible for paying child support. A knowledgeable attorney could help parents understand the nuances of visitation law in Marietta so that they can make an informed decision regarding parenting time with their child.
Georgia state law encourages parents to agree on a parenting plan that works for them and their schedule. Similar to other matters related to children, a judge must approve a parent’s visitation schedule and confirm that the distribution of parenting time fits the child or children’s best interests.
Courts may review multiple factors when deciding upon the bests interests of children. Some common considerations include:
Parents may need to prove their ability to care for their children with a psychological evaluation or by speaking with a neutral evaluator. These professionals are often psychologists or social workers who could testify in court regarding a parent’s fitness for custody.
Ideally, each parent can have unsupervised visitation with their children, meaning they would not be restricted in what they could do or where they could go while caring for their kids. In certain cases, though, a judge might order a non-custodial parent to have supervised visitation with their children pursuant to Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-9-7.
If a judge believes that a child is not safe with their non-custodial parent, they may rule that supervised visitation is necessary. For example, this could occur in cases where the parent was accused of committing an act of family violence or has significant substance abuse issues.
Parents who have supervised visitation may be monitored by another family member, a friend, or a third-party agency, but regardless the judge must approve the person who supervises the parent and their children. Their visitation may take place in a controlled environment to allow the parent to spend time with their children safely and securely.
When one parent is concerned about the other’s behavior around the children, supervised visitation may not be the only option. For instance, the parties could agree that the non-custodial parent would only have parenting time during the daytime or they could agree to restrict visitation to certain areas.
A judge may also order one or both parents to undergo therapy, treatment programs, or drug and alcohol testing as a condition of receiving unsupervised visitation. Seasoned visitation lawyers in Marietta could help individuals decide which type of visitation may be appropriate for the well-being of their children.
Parents have the right to ask a family court to modify or change their parenting plan and custody agreement. If a parenting plan is no longer working for the children or their parents, an accomplished family attorney could help them create a new agreement to better serves their needs.
If you wish to spend more time with your kids and need to create a suitable parenting plan, a Marietta visitation lawyer could discuss your options and legal rights with you. Call today to schedule a consultation.