Georgia Child Visitation Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of attorney writers and editors.

When the parents separate, they must face several legal issues including child custody determinations. The custody agreement also addresses visitation issues or "parenting time," the term that Georgia uses to refer to the time that a child spends with the non-custodial parent. Because visitation is considered a related issue, the court will use the same legal standard that it uses to make custody determinations: In Georgia, this is the "best interests of the child" test.

Acknowledgement of Legitimation

For married couples, a husband is the presumptive father. However, if the father isn't married to the child's mother, he must establish paternity prior to obtaining any visitation or custody rights. This is true even if he's listed on the birth certificate. The father must go through the process of making the child legitimate either by signing a legitimation acknowledgment or via a court action. During the legitimation process, the father can request custody, visitation, and/or child support.

Georgia Child Visitation Laws Overview

Although it's preferable to consult with an attorney for complex cases, an overview written in minimalist language rather than legal jargon can assist in comprehending how the law works regarding child visitation in Georgia. See the chart below for helpful information including links to the relevant statutes.

Statutes

Statutes

  • Section 19-9-3
  • Section 19-9-7
  • Section 19-9-20 (Georgia Child Custody Intrastate Jurisdiction Act of 1978)

 

Parenting Plans

 

The visitation schedule establishes when the child will spend time with the non-custodial parent. Georgia encourages parents to arrive at a mutual understanding. The agreement can be set forth in a parenting plan as part of a final settlement if the parties are divorcing, or as a separate agreement for non-married parents. However, if the parties can't agree, then the court will impose a specific visitation schedule.

Determining Visitation Rights

Unsupervised visits: The non-custodial parent spends time with the child without the mandated presence of another person. Most cases fall into this category.

Supervised visits: The non-custodial parent spends time with the child with the presence of another person (another relative or household member, or third party social service agency). If the non-custodial parent has "committed one or more acts involving family violence," then the court may order supervised visitation.

Alternatives to Supervised Visitations:

  • Child exchange in a protected setting
  • Non-custodial parent must complete a certified family violence intervention program
  • Non-custodial must abstain from alcohol and/or drugs before and during visits
  • Restricting visits to daytime

Grandparent Visitation Rights

Georgia recognizes grandparent visitation rights. Grandparents may request visitation by initiating their own proceedings or they can join/intervene as a party to an existing action.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Georgia Child Visitation Laws: Related Resources

Find a Georgia Attorney for Your Child Visitation Needs

If you're dealing with child visitation issues, make sure that you understand the laws and how they'll affect the welfare of your child. Find a Georgia attorney familiar with custody and visitation issues who can work toward achieving the best situation for you and your child.

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