Can you receive primary physical custody in your divorce?

| Dec 4, 2020 | Divorce

Like many parents who go through a divorce, your main concern may be the amount of time you will spend with your children afterward. If your bond with them is strong, you are likely interested in maximizing your share of custody. Even if your spouse is a fit, loving parent, you may feel that your children are more likely to thrive under your care. Given your family’s circumstances, seeking primary physical custody of them may make sense.

Understanding how primary physical custody works

In many Georgia divorces, the court awards one parent primary physical custody of their children. If you receive it, it means that your children will live mainly at your home. It also means that you will be the parent most responsible for their day-to-day care. Under this arrangement, your spouse will likely receive visitation rights.

Even if you receive primary physical custody of your children, you and your spouse will likely share legal custody of them. If you do, you will both be responsible for making decisions about your children’s upbringing, including those related to their education, activities and medical treatments. In Georgia divorces, parents tend to share legal custody of their children unless exceptional circumstances – like abuse, substance abuse or neglect – are present.

The factors that affect custody decisions

The court will award you primary physical custody of your children if it is determined to be in their best interests. In making a ruling, the court will consider numerous factors related to your family’s circumstances. These may include:

  • Whether you or your spouse can better provide your children with a stable home environment
  • Whether you or your spouse have a stronger bond with your children
  • Whether you or your spouse were your children’s primary caregiver during your marriage
  • Whether your or your spouse’s schedule allows more time for parenting responsibilities
  • Whether you and your spouse will both encourage your children’s relationship with the other parent
  • Whether your children have custody preferences, if they are of an appropriate age or maturity

Whatever custody arrangement is set forth in your parenting plan must put your children first. If you feel that receiving primary physical custody of them is in their best interests, you will want to work with a family law attorney to fight for this outcome.