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CHILD CUSTODY AND SUPPORT

Child custody: Child custody issues involve which parent should have custody of the child and visitation rights for the other parent and which parent should be permitted to make final decisions about the child’s welfare. If parents are unable to agree on child custody and visitation, then a judge will make a decision based on what he or she determines is best for the child. Factors which can determine which parent obtains custody include the suitability of each parent, the prior roles of the parents, the wishes of the child depending upon the child’s age, location of the parental residences, and many other factors. The judge may appoint a guardian, who is generally a lawyer, to assist with his or her determination.

Child support: Parents are legally obligated to support their children whether they remain married or are divorced. Child support guidelines ensure that a child's economic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, health care, and day-to-day expenses, are met until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school. The method of calculating child support in Georgia, which was substantially revised in 2007, is based on the gross income of both spouses, the cost of health care insurance, any work-related daycare costs and other factors.