GA Law on Going Back to Court for Custody

By Shannon Johnson

Spending time with your child is one of parenting’s simple joys. Losing custody or having a custody order that you do not agree with can be a frustrating experience. However, a court’s decision regarding custody is not necessarily permanent. Under Georgia Code Sec. 19-9-3(a)(1), the law does not have a preference in favor of either parent, or for a particular type of custody. No matter what, a change of custody must be in the best interests of the child. Under certain circumstances, parents can modify custody in Georgia courts by filing appropriate paperwork and meeting state law requirements for a change of custody.

Modification Standards

Either parent can seek to modify custody by filing a petition for modification of custody. The petition must state that a significant change of circumstances that substantially affects the interests of the welfare of the child in a material manner has occurred. A parent will have to prove this by fresh, recent and relevant evidence.

Evidence You Need

Parents must show that there has been a material change in the circumstances surrounding the minor child, for a judge to change a custody order. Changes considered to be material include: not allowing another parent to visit according to the parenting plan, moving a child out of the state, parent marrying a spouse with a criminal history of child molestation or abuse, or a parent becoming addicted to drugs. Examples of evidence that courts have found to be insufficient in proving a substantial change in a child’s welfare include: remarriage, getting engaged, losing a job, denial of visitation twice and improvements in health.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Best Interests of the Child

Judges are required to look at the best interests of the child when deciding whether or not to change custody. According to Georgia Code sec. 19-9-3 (a)(3), the following factors should be considered when determining the best interests of the child: love and affection between the parent, child and any half or step siblings; the capacity of one parent to give the child necessary love, affection, and education; a parent's first hand knowledge of the child; the capacity to provide the child with food, clothes, health, and other day-to-day needs; a parent’s potential for providing a nurturing home environment; the mental and physical health of the parent; a parent’s work schedule and flexibility; the school and community history of the child; and past parenting performance. Also considered is whether or not there is a history of violence, abuse, a criminal history or evidence of substance abuse. It is important to note that one parent being behind in child support is not a defense to a custody change, but judges can use failure of child support in determining whether a change of custody is in the best interest of the child.

Choice by Minor Child

Children between the ages of 11 and 13 can let the judge know their choice when it comes to which parent to live with. Judges will have to take the minor child’s wishes into consideration, but the parent seeking a change will still have to prove that the change is in the best interests of the child. A judge will place a heavier weight on the wishes of a child over 14 years of age. If a child over 14 does not want to change custody, then the custody change might not happen.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Child Custody Laws in Pennsylvania for Infants



Related articles

Pennsylvania State Regulations About Proximity of Parents to Children in Divorce

Child custody and divorce cases can be highly contentious for both parties. Some parents wish to move away to avoid the stress of contact with the other parent. And, in some cases, the parent may want to move to limit the parent's contact with the child. This can be damaging to the child, and Pennsylvania custody decisions are made according to the child's best interests. Consequently, parents who wish to relocate must follow a specific procedure, and the court will not always permit relocation of the child.

California Laws on Teenage Custody Wishes

Custody determinations often have a significant impact on the life of a child. For that reason, California law provides judges with the discretion to consider a teenager's preference, if the child is capable of making a reasonable choice. Also, teenagers 14 and older may generally participate in the proceedings and offer input, regardless of whether the court ultimately considers the child's preference.

The Legal Age in California for Choosing to Live With Your Mom or Your Dad

California courts base child custody decisions on the legal doctrine known as "the best interests of the child." The state recognizes that it might not always be the best decision to force a child to live with one parent when he may be closer to the other. But at what age the child becomes old enough to make this judgment for himself is in a legislative gray area. The outcome often comes down to the subjective opinion of a particular judge on a case-by-case basis.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Child Custody Laws in the State of Tennessee for a 12-Year-Old

Establishing a custody arrangement is a required step for all divorces involving minor children. Under Tennessee law, a ...

If You Get Divorced in Georgia Can You Move to a Different State With Your Kids?

Before 2003, Georgia was one of the more lenient states when allowing a custodial parent to move away or relocate with ...

Child Custody Laws for North Carolina

Custody includes both physical custody, the right to provide a home for a child, and legal custody, the right to make ...

Child Custody Visitation Rights in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania passed legislation that overhauled the state's existing child custody laws in 2011. The new laws addressed ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED