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Are mothers given preference in Georgia custody cases?

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2021 | Divorce

One of the most common concerns divorcing parents have is that they will lose access to their children after a divorce. This can be particularly concerning for fathers who fear that the court will give the mother preferential treatment.

Do Georgia family court judges favor awarding custody to mothers?

Georgia law

Georgia’s child custody law specifically states that neither the mother nor the father has a prima-facie right to custody of their children. Additionally, the law instructs judges not to favor either parent. Judges have the discretion to determine whether to award sole or joint custody based on the best interests of the child.

Best interests of the child

Judges determine the custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the child based on these and other factors:

  • Love, affection, bonding and emotional ties between each parent and the child
  • Bonds between siblings
  • Parental capacity of each parent
  • Each parent’s knowledge of the child’s needs
  • Capacity of each parent to provide for the child’s day-to-day needs
  • Home environment of each parent
  • Importance of continuity and stability for the child
  • Stability of each parent
  • Mental and physical health of each parent
  • How involved each parent is in the child’s life
  • Willingness of each parent to involve the other
  • Evidence of past violence, abuse or substance abuse

Judges have significant discretion to decide about what is best for the child and some judges may have a bias that favors one gender or the other. However, judges who adhere to the law decide based only on relevant factors and not on the gender of the parents.