In the coming weeks, a bill will be presented to the Georgia House of Representatives that could significantly change how family law matters are dealt with in the state of Georgia. In this post, we’ll explain what the proposed changes would entail and how they could benefit parents and children.
About House Bill 96
House Bill 96 will be presented in March and seeks to change a long-standing presumption pertaining to parenting time and custody.
Current Georgia law currently states that, in an instance in which there is a dispute regarding child custody, neither parent is automatically entitled to custody and nor is there a presumption in favor of a certain kind of custody. In other words, parents’ cases are blank slates until they’re brought to the court.
Lawmakers are seeking to change that through a proposal establishing the presumption a child’s interests are best served by completely or approximately equal time spent with both parents. The presumption could be challenged if one party isn’t fit, willing, or able to share in equal parenting time, but doing so would require clear and convincing evidence.
House Bill 96 also removes a clause stating that children over the age of 14 have the right to choose the parent they live with, as well as a clause stating that the interests of children between the ages of 11 and 14 could be considered by a judge when determining which parent will be granted custody.
If enacted, these changes could benefit families by reducing the friction that arises between parents as they seek to gain more time with their children. Moreover, the needs of children change as they age, and a parenting plan that doesn’t include equal parenting time may not be the best source of support for the child. A presumption in favor of equal parenting time provides children with the opportunity to benefit from the perspective and experience of each parent.
We’re incredibly excited about the possibility of House Bill 96 passing and will keep you updated.
If you have any additional questions about House Bill 96 or family law more generally, you can always come by one of our live Facebook Q&A sessions in which we answer questions from our direct messages and the public chat room. Be sure to check our blog in the coming weeks and months for additional updates.
If you need to get in touch with us regarding any matters pertaining to family law, contact our office for a consultation. We can help you with divorce proceedings, child custody, child support, and anything else your family may need.