Child Custody

If your divorce involves matters relating to child custody, or you are in another situation where custody issues arise, Atlanta family law attorney Nishit Patel has the knowledge and skill to address the legal issues and help you navigate through the custody process. With more than 15 years of experience in family law matters, Nishit provides his clients compassionate support and highly effective counsel in Georgia child custody cases.

Experience and Approach

Nishit Patel established his own law firm to focus on providing personalized service and support to individuals facing family law issues, including child custody. Nishit’s extensive experience with custody cases provides him with insightful understanding and compassion for the emotional difficulties and stress that custody and parenting issues present for clients.

In a Georgia child custody matter, the court takes the unique circumstances of the parents and child into account in making decisions. Due to the importance of the family situation in resolving custody issues, Nishit takes the time to understand the client’s family and parenting circumstances in detail at the beginning of representation. He identifies every concern and need of the client before discussing options and strategies for proceeding. Throughout the whole process, he maintains close communication with the client to provide support and reassurance and answer questions as they arise.

Nishit’s substantial background enables him to help the client navigate seamlessly through matters relating to custody. He always makes certain that the client fully understands their legal rights before they make an informed decision on an issue. Whenever possible, Nishit resolves issues efficiently and effectively without needless conflict and stress. But if protecting his client’s interests requires going to court, he advocates fiercely and aggressively to safeguard the client’s interests.

Nishit is passionate about providing each client with the individualized attention and service they need and deserve. He draws on the full range of his experience to guide the client through every issue with meticulous care, providing sound advice and counsel throughout the entire process.

Georgia Child Custody Laws

Complex Georgia statutes and court decisions govern all matters relating to child custody in the state. While divorcing or divorced parents can — and often do — agree on matters relating to custody, the court always has the ultimate authority to determine what arrangements are in the best interests of a child. You should never enter into a custody agreement without having the benefit of advice from a knowledgeable custody attorney, to ensure that you are aware of and protect your full legal rights before you agree to custody terms.

In determining the best interests of a child in a custody matter, a judge takes all relevant factors into account. The custody law includes 17 specific factors for the court to consider. Generally, those factors include:

  • The relationship between each parent and the child
  • The relationship between the child and their siblings and the residence of the other siblings
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health, capacity to build a relationship with the child, and provide for the child
  • The importance of continuity in the child’s life
  • Each parent’s willingness and ability to encourage a relationship with the other parent
  • Depending on the child’s age, the wishes of the child

The statute details other factors for the court to consider as well. Extensive provisions in the law apply to the court’s determination. The complexity of the law is one of the important reasons why a parent should always be represented by an attorney in any court action that involves court consideration of custody issues.

Types of Custody in Georgia

In custody matters, Georgia law recognizes two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the child’s residential location. Legal custody refers to making major decisions for the child, including those relating to medical matters, education, and religion.

Joint legal custody by both parents is preferred under Georgia law, so that both parents are involved in making major decisions for the child. However, in some circumstances, the court may award sole legal custody to the parent who has primary physical custody of the child.

Parents may share physical custody of a child, or one parent may have sole physical custody. If one parent has sole physical custody of a child, the non-custodial (other) parent usually has visitation or parenting time with the child, as provided in the parenting plan that is part of the custody order.

In a divorce case involving custody issues or separate custody action, the parents may enter into a written agreement concerning physical and legal custody issues. A parenting plan, which describes the child’s needs and terms of physical and legal custody, must accompany the written agreement. Even if the parents cannot agree on custody terms, a joint parenting plan — or a separate parenting plan from each parent — must be submitted to the court.

In making decisions about custody, the court reviews the written agreement between the parents (if there is one) or the proposed parenting plan(s). The judge also may hold a hearing to gather evidence if necessary. After the judge renders a decision on custody, the court order and terms of custody can only be modified in a subsequent court action. The finality of the custody decision is another crucial reason that every parent should have legal representation in any action involving custody issues.

Legal Representation in a Georgia Child Custody Matter

For a parent facing custody issues in any context, including divorce, proceeding without proper legal representation is a serious mistake. The complexity of Georgia laws, the formality of court proceedings, and the finality of a court decision make it imperative to retain a lawyer for custody issues.

Nishit Patel has a deep understanding of the Georgia laws that apply to child custody. He also has years of hands-on experience resolving custody matters between parents and by litigating issues in court proceedings. If you face custody issues, Nishit has the knowledge and skill to provide the guidance and advocacy necessary to help you successfully navigate through the matter.

Contact NVP Family Law

To talk with Nishit Patel regarding a Georgia child custody matter, please call (404) 333-8682 or use the online contact form. NVP Family Law provides legal services throughout the Atlanta region.