There are many issues to be determined in a divorce. Many parents feel that the most difficult issue, however, is the determination of a custody arrangement. It is important for all parties involved to keep the child's best interests at the forefront in all decisions made regarding child custody.
A parental advocacy group working to reform family law in Georgia recently received a proclamation from the Governor. The group is seeking to gain awareness for opposing parental alienation. Parental alienation occurs when one parent gains custody of a child and uses negative characterizations to cause the child to develop unjustified hatred and dislike for the other parent. Such activity can make a non-custodial parent's ability to spend time with the children nearly impossible. The Governor's proclamation officially recognizes parental alienation as a growing issue within the state. The group hopes that the heightened awareness will lead to new legislation that grants parents equal rights in child custody matters and take steps to prevent parental alienation where possible.
A court's child custody decision must be based on the child's best interests. Typically, one parent will be granted physical custody of the child, while the other parent retains visitation rights. The parent with physical custody is the custodial parent. As the non-custodial parent, the other parent will usually retain legal custody of the child, which grants him or her the right to make decisions regarding the child's health, welfare, education and religion along with the custodial parent. In the case above, the advocacy group is seeking to raise awareness of a growing problem in Georgia involving the custodial parent creating negative feelings in the child towards the non-custodial parent. This can adversely impact the non-custodial parent's visitation rights, as well as his or her ability to be involved in the child's life in general.
Child custody arrangements are based on many factors and can be difficult to determine. The goal is to provide the child with a peaceful and stable life in the unfortunate event of a divorce, and it is important that both parents respect their child's relationship with the other parent to make such arrangements as successful as possible for all parties involved.
Source: News Central GA, "Parental alienation group gets proclamation from Governor", Shonti Tager, Feb. 11, 2013