Factors Used in Awarding Child Custody in Many Georgia Child Custody Cases

If the parties to a divorce cannot agree on custody arrangements for the child, the trial court will make a custody award. In making a custody determination, the judge will review all pleadings and other documents that are in the court file, any testimony offered at trial or hearings, and any other evidence (pictures, recordings, documents, etc.) presented to the court.

When reviewing all of the evidence, the court must consider any relevant factors including, but not limited to the following:

  • Each parent’s respective ability and willingness to co-parent, cooperate with the other parent, and encourage a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent
  • Each parent’s ability to inspire, encourage, and otherwise motivate the child and promote psychological well-being
  • The current relationship between the child and each parent, including its strength, nature, and stability
  • The ability of each parent to provide for the child’s physical needs, including food, clothing, medical care, and education, and the likelihood of each to do so
  • The emotional bonds, affection, love, and other psychological ties between the child and each parent
  • The role of each parent in the daily routine and needs of the child and the degree to which each has acted as the primary caregiver
  • The child’s physical and mental development level and emotional needs, including any special physical, educational, or medical needs
  • Each parent’s physical fitness, emotional well-being, and moral character
  • The child’s need for continuity and stability in all areas of life
  • Any evidence (not mere allegations) of one parent committing abuse against the child or the other parent
  • The preferences of the child, if the child is over the age of 12
  • Refusal of either parent to attend court-ordered parent education classes
  • Any other factors that the court feels are relevant

The trial judge is free to consider any combination of the above factors and to give some factors more weight than others. Any court order awarding custody of a child must give specific reasons for that award, along with the facts presented in support of those reasons. The overarching standard that must be satisfied in all custody awards is what serves “the best interests of the child.”

The McLeod Law Firm, P.C. provides quality legal representation for divorce, criminal law, business litigation and civil litigation across North Georgia including Hall County: Clermont, Flowery Branch, Gainesville, Lula, Murrayville, and Oakwood; Banks County: Gillsville, Homer, Maysville, and Commerce; Barrow County: Winder; Dawson County: Dawsonville; Forsyth County: Cumming; Gwinnett County: Buford; White County: Cleveland and Helen; Lumpkin County: Dahlonega; Habersham County: Baldwin, Clarkesville, Cornelia and Demorest; Jackson County: Jefferson, Braselton, Hoschton, Pendergrass and Talmo, GA.