File a petition to begin child custody proceedings.
You can file a petition for child custody in your county’s Superior Court. If you are divorcing, the petition will be included in your divorce papers. You must then serve, or deliver, custody forms to the other party using a process server or sheriff’s office.
There are two types of child custody: physical and legal. The child lives with the party with physical custody. The party with legal custody can make major decisions for the child. When legal or physical custody is shared, one parent or guardian is designated as the primary custodial parent and has final say in parenting decisions.
Custody orders stay in place until the child turns 18. If life circumstances change and the custody order needs to be modified, one party can file a petition to modify custody. To modify custody, they must prove that there has been a material change in circumstances that will impact the child’s well-being.
It is recommended that you seek legal advice before petitioning for child custody. You can find an attorney by visiting the State Bar of Georgia’s website.