Laws throughout the country around determining child custody in a divorce emphasize the best interests of the child. That gives judges a lot of leeway if they have to rule on the matter if parents can’t work it out on their own.
In recent years, more and more states have modified their laws to include a presumption that equal time with both parents is best for a child. Of course, exceptions can be made for all kinds of reasons. However, there needs to be a reason.
What the proposed change to the law would do
Some Georgia lawmakers are working to make 50-50 custody the presumption unless there’s evidence that it’s not what’s best for a child. That means a judge who denies equally shared custody would need to explain their decision-making process in their ruling.
Rep. Jasmine Clark has been working – so far unsuccessfully — to get the bill passed since 2019. She explains that the current law typically favors mothers over fathers. She says, “Mothers get the majority of custody in our state and fathers who want custody…usually have an uphill legal battle to get more than a once a week and every other weekend.”
Rep. Clark says that the legislation would simply help give fathers an equal opportunity to parent their children if there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have that. The current version of the bill amends the current law to say, “In all cases in which the custody of any child is at issue between the parents, there shall be a presumption, rebuttable by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, that a child’s interests are best served by equal or approximately equal parenting time with each parent.”
It remains to be seen if the bill fares better in this legislative session than in past ones. It’s always best when parents can negotiate a custody agreement on their own. However, if a judge has to weigh in, it’s important to know what the law says and how best to present your case. Having experienced legal guidance can help you seek the parenting time you and your child deserve.