Georgia’s family laws that govern property division, child support, and child custody all favor the parent that has assumed the position of primary caretaker in the past. Gender is not the deciding factor that determines which parent gets to spend time with and care for their children. If you are committed to caring for your children, we will be your biggest advocate in and out of the courtroom.
Whether you are currently married, divorced, or have never been married, we can help you with every area of the legal process.
Child Custody Lawyer in Atlanta
The divorce attorneys at Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC are sensitive to how important child custody can be and offer decades of experience keeping families intact. We bring expert knowledge of Georgia family law to the table and the experience of how to best represent your interests to the court.
Importantly, child custody laws in Georgia are designed to keep “the best interests of the child” in mind, but that term is inherently subjective and entirely dependent upon the facts presented. Let the lawyers at Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC work to ensure that what the court defines as your child’s “best interest” is what you seek as well.
The Best Interest of the Children
When determining what is in the best interest of a child during your divorce, Georgia custody law allows a court a large degree of discretion, and a judge can consider many different factors. Some of those factors include:
- A child’s age and desires
- Parental stability
- Parental criminal history
- Ability of the parent to care for the child
A court will use these factors, among others, to decide where your children should spend most of their time.
Types of Child Custody Under Georgia Law
Custody laws in Georgia provide for a variety of options including:
Joint Child Custody
- Joint legal custody, in which both parents have the right to contribute to major decisions regarding their children; and
- Joint physical custody, in which the child or children spend an equal amount of time living with each parent.
Sole Child Custody
- Sole legal custody, in which one parent has the authority to make major decisions regarding their children without input from the other parent; and
- Sole physical custody, in which the child or children live primarily with one parent.
Our child custody attorneys in Atlanta will work closely with you to review your case and determine whether petitioning for joint physical, joint legal, sole legal, or sole physical custody is right for you and your children.
Atlanta Child Custody Schedules/Parenting Plans
A custody schedule in Georgia can be as simple or as complex as needed to fit your family’s circumstances. Schedules can involve mid-week visits, alternating and extended weekends, and more. Questions such as who will have the children for holidays and birthdays will also have to be resolved.
Because your custody schedule will determine how you and your spouse will divide time spent with your children for years to come, it’s important that it is crafted with care and expertise. Without proper legal guidance, you can quickly miss out on valuable time spent with your child or children.
Look to Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC’s experienced lawyers to help you create a comprehensive custody and visitation schedule that ensures you are able to maximize your time and involvement in your child’s life.
Atlanta Child Support Law
In Georgia, both parents are required to support their children until a child reaches the age of 18, graduates from high school, marries, dies, emancipates, or joins the military. Additionally, support may be required past the age of 18 as well, such as in the case of a child who is still in high school. Child support is paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the child’s living expenses, health insurance, medical and dental expenses, and more.
The formula for determining appropriate child support in Georgia typically involves taking a detailed look at both spouse’s finances. Since 2007, Georgia child support guidelines have focused on an “income shares” model in which a Court will consider each parent’s salary, commissions, self-employment income, bonuses, overtime, severance pay, pension income (if it is recurring), interest income, dividend income, trust income, capital gains, gifts, prizes, lottery winnings, and income from a variety of other sources.
That “combined adjusted income” amount is used to establish a “Georgia Child Support Obligation Table” that helps to determine a “Basic Child Support Obligation,” which is then applied to each parent’s proportionate share of the combined adjusted income. All told, the process for calculating child support involves about nine separate steps.
Confused? It’s easy to get lost in the complex rules and guidelines that go into determining how much child support you and your child are owed. The lawyers at Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC will help you review your finances and answer any questions you have about how a child support determination will be reached. We will work hard to ensure that the Court has the best information available when making its Fulton County child support determination.
Child Support Modification in Fulton County
Life’s circumstances don’t always stay the same and neither should your child support schedule. If you experience a change in income, your previous schedule may no longer be suitable for you or your children. Georgia law does allow for the modification of support schedules and our Atlanta child support lawyers can petition the court to modify your schedule in a way that matches your current needs. If a major change means your old schedule is no longer a fit, give us a call right away.
Factors a Georgia Court may consider when adjusting your child support obligation include:
- Increased medical costs for the child or parent
- Increased educational costs for the child
- One party’s support obligations to another household
- In-kind contributions from either parent
- Travel expenses for visitation or shared physical custody
Atlanta Paternity Law
Under Georgia law, being the biological father of your children does not necessarily mean you have a right to custody or visitation. For children born outside of wedlock, the biological father is not automatically recognized as a parent and must petition the court to secure his rights to custody or visitation through a process called legitimation. Depending on your circumstances, it may be necessary to have a Court recognize your paternity before securing your right to custody and/or visitation via legitimation. Once the state recognizes you as a parent you assume the obligation to pay child support, if necessary, and the privilege to visit or secure custody of your child.
If you need assistance with the process of establishing paternity and legitimation, please contact KNC Law Firm’s experienced attorneys at (404) 844-2856.