Child custody and child support are complicated issues. Therefore, it’s no surprise that people tend to have misconceptions about these topics. People who rely on friends and family for information on child custody and child support often do so to their detriment. Even people who have gone through the divorce process are often confused about the laws governing these issues.
Below are some of the most common misconceptions about child custody and child support in Georgia. For additional information on child custody and support in Georgia, you should contact a Georgia child custody attorney.
Misconception 1: Only the court makes custody decisions
When parents can’t agree on how to share custody, the court makes this decision for them. However, parents who agree on a custody arrangement may cooperatively draft a parenting plan that addresses this issue. Family law judges usually agree to such plans. However, judges are required to keep the best interests of the child in mind when making custody decisions, so a judge may reject a proposed parenting plan if it appears determinantal to the child.
Misconception 2: Child support amounts are reached arbitrarily
Divorcing couples often believe that courts reach child support amounts arbitrarily. This isn’t the case. Family law judges calculate child support amounts based on set formulas that consider the following variables:
- The combined income of the parents,
- The amount of income contributed by each parent,
- The number of children needing financial support, and
- Whether there are any special expenses associated with raising the children.
Misconception 3: Court orders can’t be altered
Although parents often believe that court orders involving child support and child custody are permanent, this isn’t true—both types of orders may be legally modified. In Georgia, parents may seek a modification of a custody order when there has been a substantial change in circumstances warranting such a change. And modification of a child support order is allowed when there is a material change in the needs of the child or either parent’s income.
Misconception 4: Child custody and child support are intertwined
Since child custody and child support both involve children, some parents believe that they are legally intertwined. In other words, some parents have the false belief that one parent’s failure to provide child support gives the other parent the right to withhold custody, and vice versa. However, even if one parent fails to comply in either of these areas, the other parent is still required to fulfill his or her obligations.
Contact a Georgia Child Custody Attorney
If you need assistance with a child custody matter in Georgia, you need an experienced Georgia child custody attorney on your side. At Carter/Pilgrim, our experienced child custody attorney will work diligently to protect your relationship with your child. Attorney Amy Carter has the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure that your parental rights are protected. Please contact us today for a consultation.