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Co-parenting in Georgia: Joint Custody Tips for Divorced Parents

Establishing Paternity in Georgia

When a couple is married, there is a legal presumption that a child born to them is the couple’s legal child. If the parents are not married, paternity must be established before legal decisions can be made regarding custody, support, and parental rights.


In the state of Georgia, paternity can be established through a DNA test or through acknowledgment of paternity, according to O.C.G.The Code § 1A-1–15.10. Once paternity is established, the father’s name is placed on the child’s birth certificate and he is legally the child’s father for all legal purposes.


Custody in Georgia

In the state of Georgia, there are several different types of custody, including joint custody, shared parenting, legal custody, and physical custody. Legal custody gives a parent the right to make decisions about the child’s health, education, and other welfare issues. Physical custody, on the other hand, determines which parent the child will live with.


In Georgia, the courts generally favor joint custody as the most favorable outcome for the child. Shared parenting is also allowed, which is when both parents participate and consult with each other on important decisions.


However, if the court finds that joint custody would not be in the child’s best interest, the court may order sole legal or physical custody to one parent. The court will determine what type of custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest.


Child Support in Georgia

In Georgia, the court will order one parent to pay the other parent child support. The type of arrangement and amount of money to be paid depend on the couple’s circumstances. For example, if one parent has physical custody of the child, the non-custodial parent is usually required to pay the other parent child support.


The amount of child support due is calculated using the Georgia Child Support Guidelines according to O.C.G.A. §19-6-15. The guidelines take into account factors such as the parents’ income, the number of children in the family, the parents’ parenting time and any special medical or educational needs the child may have. The court may adjust the amount of child support if the guidelines are unfair or inappropriate in the situation.


Georgia Co-parenting Expenses

In some cases, the court may order one parent to pay the other parent for certain expenses related to the child. These can include medical expenses, childcare expenses, or educational expenses. The court will consider the couple’s financial situation when determining who will pay for co-parenting expenses.


It’s important to note that parents are encouraged to make arrangements out of court for co-parenting expenses. If parents have a dispute over an expense, they should make an effort to come to an agreement without involving the courts.


Parental Rights in Georgia

Parents in Georgia are responsible for providing their children with necessary care and support. This includes the responsibility to feed, clothe, and shelter the child, to make sure the child is healthy, to educate the child and to provide emotional and moral support.


The law also provides parents with certain rights. These include the rights to make decisions about the child’s upbringing, including decisions about school, religious education, medical care and recreational activities. Parents also have the right to access their child’s school and medical records, as well as be informed about the child’s activities.


Developing a Parenting Plan in Georgia

In Georgia, the court may order the parents to develop a parenting plan. The purpose of the parenting plan is to outline the details of the parents’ custody arrangements and decisions. This includes outlining the rights and responsibilities of each parent, as well as the details of the child’s visitation schedule. The parenting plan should also outline procedures for decision-making and dispute resolution between the parents.


Parenting plans must meet the requirements of O.C.G.A. § 19-9-2 for them to be legally binding. The court will review the parenting plan and approve it or order changes as necessary.


Visitation Rights in Georgia

In Georgia, non-custodial parents have the right to visitation. The court will usually order visitation arrangements that are in the best interests of the child. The court may also order supervised visitation if it’s necessary to protect the child’s safety.


Visitation can be limited or denied if the court finds that it would be harmful to the child. The courts also have the power to order a change in visitation if the current arrangement is no longer in the child’s best interest.


Co-parenting Mediation in Georgia

Co-parenting mediation helps divorced or separated parents to resolve disputes and reach agreements on issues such as child support, parenting time, and decision-making. The court may order the parents to attend mediation if they are having trouble coming to an agreement.


Mediation can be conducted by an attorney or trained mediator. The mediator helps the parents to negotiate and decide on an agreement that is in the best interests of the child. The agreement will be legally binding once it is approved by the court and signed by both parents.



Co-parenting after a divorce or separation can be challenging, but with the right information and understanding of the law, parents in Georgia can make the process go more smoothly. By keeping the law's governing custody, support, and parental rights in mind, co-parents can develop a co-parenting arrangement that supports the needs of the children and parents alike.


Fact Check and Resources

In crafting this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:




Co-parenting in USA


Co-parenting in Canada


Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

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