Most Georgia parents would agree that the determination of child custody is the most important issue in a divorce. The court will make its custody determination based upon the best interests of the child, regardless of the parents' desires.
A woman was recently arrested after failing to return her son to his father, the custodial parent. A court order gave the father physical custody and sole legal custody, while granting the mother visitation rights during the summer. After one such visit, the woman did not return the child to the father as required by the order. Instead she instead took the child elsewhere. The woman had provided false addresses in the divorce agreement, making it difficult for authorities to locate her and the child. When authorities were finally able to locate them, the mother was arrested on felony charges.
A child custody arrangement typically governs which parent a child will live with and the terms under which the other parent will have visitation. The most common arrangement is one in which the child lives primarily with one parent, also known as the custodial parent. The other parent will have visitation rights. One parent, or both parents jointly, are also awarded legal custody, which is the right to make important decisions concerning the child's health, education and upbringing.
Both parents are required to abide by the custody arrangement. If a parent has visitation rights and fails to return a child, they may be found in violation of the criminal law as well as the custody order. An experienced divorce attorney can guide a parent through this process and pursue the best outcome for all involved.
Source: KXXV ABC, "Belton Woman Arrested In Child Custody Interference Dispute," Colton Scott, Sept. 13, 2013