Child custody hearings in Georgia often involve both parents seeking preferable terms. Some may seek sole custody while others may want a joint arrangement that’s agreeable to them. Persons going through a first divorce and subsequent child custody proceedings may not know how the process works. A person may even prescribe to the belief that the courts prefer that a child’s mother receives custody. However, the assumption that a child’s mother “always” ends up granted custody may be a false belief.
The child’s best interests
In the past, a court might have felt more inclined to award custody to a child’s mother. Today, courts focus more on the child’s best interests. This means the courts look at various factors to determine whether the father or mother should receive custody.
The court may not favor a parent who is unable to present a stable or safe home life for his or her child. An abusive individual or someone who suffers from substance abuse, whether that parent is the mother or father, would probably not gain custody.
Similarly, the court may look at positive elements that create a potentially better arrangement for the child. A parent who works at home may offer more access and stability to the child than someone whose job requires constant travel away from home for many days at a time. Of course, there are other pertinent items the court will consider.
A mental health expert may even evaluate both parents and their child. The court could then review the evaluation when deciding on custody.
Other custody-related matters
The court’s decision could lead to a joint custody arrangement that involves joint legal custody. So while the child may live with one parent, agreements between both individuals may be necessary when making critical decisions, such as what schools to send the child to or what doctors to see.
Those unfamiliar with child custody hearings or how custody gets awarded could direct questions towards an attorney. Custody hearings may prove complicated, and a lawyer help a parent through the process.