Parents of minors in Georgia, regardless of whether they have married or not, will have to figure out a way to navigate child custody challenges when they divorce or separate. Some people, often those who serve as the primary caregiver for the children in the household, may wonder if they could potentially ask the courts for sole custody.
The idea of having their children all the time, instead of sharing custody, is appealing to many parents. Will a family law judge in Georgia grant one parent sole authority over their children?
Sole custody is rare in modern family law cases
Child custody laws in Georgia are very clear in that their focus is always on what is best for the children. If the adults in the family cannot settle matters on their own, then a judge reviewing the situation will make a determination based on what they think would be in the best interests of the children.
For most families, children will benefit from having plenty of time with both parents, regardless of how much conflict there is between the adults. Of course, there are always those outlier situations that deviate from the standard. In a handful of circumstances with compelling reasons, one parent can secure sole custody in Georgia.
Those reasons may include:
- domestic violence
- substance abuse
- severe physical or mental health
- issues significant personal instability
- voluntary agreement
One of the most common reasons that one parent gets sole custody is that the other agrees that they do not have the skill, proximity or time to parent adequately. In scenarios where one spouse alleges that the other is incapable of parenting or poses a threat to the children, they will typically need evidence supporting those claims to convince a judge of their position.
Asking for sole custody could be an uphill battle
If one parent doesn’t have clear evidence of misconduct, addiction or other significant issues, they may have a hard time convincing a judge that sole custody would be in the best interests of the children. In the worst-case scenario, a judge may view them as malicious and a potential source of harm to the children. Parental alienation or the intentional interference of one parent in the relationship that the other has with the children can affect the decisions that judges make regarding custody.
Therefore, being cautious in one’s approach to custody matters is important for preserving one’s rights. Seeking legal guidance to better understand when a Georgia family law judge might grant one parent sole custody can help a concerned parent to better prepare for their day in family court.