Taking the Right Steps Early On
If you are concerned that your marriage may be heading toward a divorce, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible about your rights and your options for protecting your children.Â Â There are several considerations to be given to protecting your assetsâ€”especially income-generating assets such as business interests or real estate investments.Â More important, if you rely on the strength of these assets to provide for your children, there may be steps you can take while preparing for the possibility of divorce to protect these assets.
Planning for Your Children’s Future
Putting together a long-term plan for your childrenâ€™s future is one of the most important aspects of the divorce process and should be carefully considered. Â Planning for your childrenâ€™s future is so important that the State of Georgia requires that all parties involved in any case involving the custody of a child must include a permanent parenting plan in the final decree. Â This plan assures the court that the parents have given thoughtful consideration to how the children’s lives will look following a divorce; who will be the children’s primary caretaker, who will be responsible for healthcare costs, how will the parents stay involved in their children’s lives.
While the following is not an exhaustive list, a parenting plan in Georgia must include the following elements as outlined in The Official Code of Georgia Annotated, Title 19, Chapter 9, Article 1 (O.C.G.A. Â§ 19-9-1):
- A statement that the parents recognize that a close and continuing relationship between the child and each parent is in the child’s best interests.
- A statement recognizing the parent with physical custody will make day-to-day and emergency decisions concerning the child while the child is residing with the parent.
- A statement recognizing that both parents shall have access to the child’s records and information, including, (but not limited to), school records and information, medical records, religious activities, and extracurricular activities.
- A schedule designating where and when the child will be in the physical care of each parent, for each and every day of the year.
- A schedule designating how the child will spend holidays, birthdays, vacations, school breaks, and any other special occasions with each parent. This should include the time of day each event will begin and end.
- A statement allocating decision-making authority to either or both of the parents concerning the child’s health, education, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities.
Careful and deliberate planning with regard to your childrenâ€™s lives following a divorce will hopefully minimize the disruption to their lives.Â Â By sitting down with us before you begin this process, we can give the attention to these details your children deserve.