When parents split up, they usually have to share both parenting time and decision-making authority for their children. Shared custody has become the standard expectation in modern divorces. Courts now typically consider shared custody to be in the best interests of the kids.
Even if you loathe the idea of sharing custody with your ex, that is generally how the courts will handle parenting responsibilities in a litigated divorce. There are a handful of situations in which you might be able to receive sole custody of your children.
When will the court allow sole custody in a Georgia divorce?
When the parents agree in a out-of-court settlement
A judge’s opinion about what is best for the children usually only matters if you litigate the divorce. If you settle outside of court and file an uncontested divorce, a judge just has to approve your settlement. Maybe your ex wants to leave the state for work or just has a very demanding schedule. If they don’t want shared custody, you can set sole custody arrangements in a written agreement with them.
When there is a concern for abuse
Physical abuse is still one of the more common reasons that people file for divorce. If you left your spouse because they were abusive toward you or toward your children, their previous actions might influence custody decisions.
However, you will typically need evidence or documentation to support your claims of abuse. A judge is unlikely to take one parent’s word on the matter, as exaggerated claims are common in custody disputes. In situations involving substantiated abuse allegations, the courts may limit or terminate the parental rights of the abusive parent.
When there is addiction or other personal instability
Opioid addiction has gone from a niche issue to something affecting most communities in the United States. Alcohol addiction has always been an issue. There are also many people who abuse prohibited street drugs.
A documented history of addiction can impact custody decisions in a divorce. The same is true of any other kind of personal instability. Severe mental health issues or even physical health concerns that would prevent a parent from fulfilling the obligations of childcare could be a reason for the courts to limit one parent’s time with the children out of concerns for their safety and well-being.
Understanding what influences child custody decisions in Georgia can help you manage your upcoming divorce.