When one or both parents have a significant change in their situation, child custody arrangements will need to be updated. In cases where both parents agree on what needs to change, the process is fairly simple. However, in cases where the parents are not in agreement, we may need to get the courts involved which can become a fairly involved and complex process.
Whether you are working through an initial child custody arrangement or a modification, the Georgia Family Courts still look at the best interest of the child as the main criteria for the plan. The “best interest” standard is somewhat fluid and based on what’s best for the child at a given time, so it’s normal for that to change over time, for example:
Another very common cause of having custody plans revisited and possibly modified is when one parent gets remarried or has a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend. The introduction of a new boyfriend or girlfriend or potentially step-mom or step-dad can have a big impact on the child’s relationship with their parent. Obviously a new romantic interest can create some very challenging situations either for the children themselves or the ex-spouse. There are no hard and fast rules for how a custody agreement would change after one of the parents is remarried. Our experienced custody attorneys can review your specific situation and try to give you an idea of what to expect.
In cases where you suspect your child’s other parent is using drugs or alcohol to the point that it’s affecting the safety of your child, we can help. A sustained and documented pattern of alcohol or drug use will be considered by the family law court. However, one parent simply stating that the other one “is doing drugs” or “is drunk all the time” will likely not be considered by the court. Issues that are documentable or as objective as possible are much more effective. For example, if you believe that your ex-spouse “goes out the bar every night” one thing, but the real issue is how many nights that the children are left unattended or without supervision. The key is to focus on the children, and not get involved in arguments that sound like two exes fighting.
We look forward to helping you work through the child custody modification process. However, we encourage parents to attempt to work with the other parent towards a plan that is agreeable to you both. If your ex-spouse is not going to work with you, the process to get a modification, while possible, will likely be both difficult and expensive. We are happy to provide an initial consultation so that we can help you understand what to expect both in terms of a timeline and an estimate of the cost.
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136 Fairgrounds St NE
Marietta, GA, 30060
141 Railroad Street, Suite 202
Canton, GA, 30114