Understanding the Importance of your Child’s Custodial Election

In Georgia, certain children who are subject to a custodial dispute have the right to choose which parent they want to live with, which is the right to a custodial election. The election can be a deciding factor in other components of a case such as child support, parental decision-making, and visitation. Let’s take a moment to understand the basics of the child custodial election.

  1. Who can file a custodial election?

In Georgia, a child over the age of 14 who is involved in a custody case (i.e., divorce, legitimation, modification), can elect which parent he/she wants to be their primary caretaker. This election is often controlling and followed by the court. Children ages 11 to 14 have the right to have input into the custodial decision; however, this input is not as controlling as the custodial election made by a child over the age of 14.

  1. How does a child make a custodial election?

The child must complete a custodial election affidavit. The affidavit is a sworn statement completed by the child and subsequently submitted to the court.

  1. Does the Court have to honor the election?

The court will generally honor the election unless the custodial election is determined NOT to be in the best interests of the child. A parent can contest the child’s election by presenting evidence to the court showing the election goes against the child’s best interest.

  1. What is the effect of a Custodial election?

An election can have a significant impact on your child custody case. Should the court honor the election, the parent elected as the physical custodian will be the recipient of child support. An election can also be the basis to file a modification action.

If you have questions regarding child custodial elections and would like expert information about how an election would impact your child custody case, please contact B Bullard Law firm today at 678-432-1100 or by email at info@bbullardlaw.com. Our firm has the experience necessary to assist you and your unique needs.

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