If you are considering getting a divorce in Georgia, you should be aware of the effects that allegations of domestic abuse can have on the proceedings. In Georgia, domestic abuse occurs when a person exerts control and power over another person, whether emotional, physical, sexual, or psychological. Domestic abuse can occur among any of the following individuals:
- Parents and children,
- Foster parents and foster children, and
- Cohabitating persons or those who previously lived together.
Below is an overview of the ways in which domestic abuse allegations can impact divorce. For additional information, please contact a Georgia divorce attorney.
Custody and Visitation
Although domestic abuse doesn’t ordinarily affect property division or alimony, family courts in Georgia always consider domestic violence allegations before granting a parent custody and visitation rights. During a divorce, Georgia law requires parents to disclose all domestic violence-related incidents. Courts always take this information into account when making decisions regarding children, even if it doesn’t involve the child in question or didn’t occur in the current household. A judge may award visitation or custody rights to an abusive parent only if he or she believes that it is safe to do so. To ensure that a child and abused parent remain safe, a judge may take certain precautions, including:
- Requiring that custody exchanges occur in a public place,
- Prohibiting the abusive parent from possessing drugs or alcohol during or before visitation,
- Prohibiting the child from staying overnight at the abusive parent’s house, and
- Withholding information that may put the child’s or abused parent’s safety at risk.
Supervised Visitation and the Termination of Parental Rights
In addition to the above measures, when a judge believes that a parent has committed acts of domestic violence, he or she can require all visits between the child and abusive parent be supervised. If a judge requires visits to be supervised, he or she often requires the abusive parent to pay any associated fees. In addition, in extreme cases of abuse, a judge can terminate the parental rights of the abusive parent. However, a judge may only take this action when it is in the best interests of the child and there is clear evidence of severe abuse.
Contact an Experienced Georgia Divorce Attorney Today
If you need assistance with the divorce process in Georgia, Carter/Pilgrim is on your side. At Carter/Pilgrim, our experienced Georgia divorce attorney will guide you through the Georgia divorce process while doing everything possible to ensure that you obtain a fair result in your divorce case. Whether you need to file a divorce or need assistance with a child custody issue, such as one involving domestic abuse, experienced family law attorney Amy Carter has the knowledge and experience necessary to obtain the results you desire. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.