Q: What can I expect going into court?
I have raised my four children for two years on my own with no support. One year ago he started getting them every other weekend. (He walked out and moved in with a girlfriend he cheated with two years ago.) They visit with him where he lives with her.
Now he is asking for joint custody (we have never been to court, are still married) and wants to put the kids in school in the middle. That would mean for me, driving 40 minutes round trip to get them to day care and then back to work. Since a day care would need to take them to school and pick them up. He doesn't hold a job and hasn't since he left except the odd job here and there. More money out of my pocket and less time with the kids for me. But now I found out I may have to pay him child support if we do this joint agreement.
What can I expect to hear from a judge in court about this? I don't mind joint, but I feel he should bring the kids to their schools and pick up here, since he doesn't work and hasn't paid child support.
A: A court is not likely to give him joint physical custody if there is a significant distance between the parties' residences. Additionally, if he went a two year period without support or visitation with the children, the court will also consider those facts in determining whether he should have joint physical custody.
Patrick L. Meriwether agrees with this answer
A: Based on the limited facts you just shared, it does not sound like he has a strong case on any of his requests. The statute that guides the Court in deciding parenting time and custody is OCGA 19-9-3. Here is a link - https://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-19/chapter-9/article-1/19-9-3 The standard is what is in the children's best interests. This statute lays out the factors the Court should consider. If you have to go to Court, just explain to the Judge how awarding you primary physical custody is in your children's best interests based on these factors. Basically, these factors give you a framework or outline of what evidence you need to present to the Judge. If you are struggling with formulating what to say, consider having at least a consultation with a lawyer if you cannot afford to hire one full time.
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