Georgia, like many other states, tries to focus on the needs of children when parents divorce. Specifically, if the parents can’t reach their own custody agreement, a judge will have to create a parenting plan based on the best interests of the children.
Understanding what matters to the courts as far as the best interests of the children can help you represent yourself better when in front of a judge and set realistic goals for your parenting plan.
The best interests of the children usually mean the support of two parents
Each of you likely wants to spend as much time with the children as possible. Frequent custody exchanges will mean that you have to see each other more often than you might like. Some parents think about pushing for more parenting time in their divorce just to see less of their ex.
Children typically want the opposite. They want to maintain strong relationships with both of their parents. The courts want to see parents working together because they understand that the children benefit from having two parents in their lives. However, a parent doesn’t just need to show up. They also have to provide stability, guidance and other necessities for the children.
Children need stable lifestyles and reliable parental bonds
Divorce can undermine or disrupt the bond between child and parent. It is crucial that both parents do their best to be present physically and emotionally for the children during the divorce. After it, the children will likely need help processing their emotions.
Parents should focus on keeping a daily routine that supports healthy development. Consistent bedtimes, nutritious meals and understandable household rules are all important to helping children develop into healthy adults. Ideally, parents will agree on the rules and structure that are best for the kids. However, if one parent isn’t capable of providing stability and other necessities, their behavior and lifestyle could influence how the courts divide custody.
The courts want to know that a child will be safe and supported in their living arrangements after a divorce. They will usually do their best to support both parental relationships unless there is evidence that one parent is a source of risk for the children.