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Joint Physical Custody in Georgia Courts: What the Science Tells Us vs. Conventional Wisdom

Historically joint physical custody arrangements, where both parents have roughly 50% of the time with the children has been disfavored in Georgia courts.  One judge, in Fulton County Superior Court, went one step beyond simply disfavoring joint physical custody arrangements in that not only would he never order joint physical custody, he would never enter an order for joint physical custody EVEN IF THE PARTIES AGREED TO IT!  This judge had seen too many joint physical custody cases come back to his courtroom and said enough is enough.  Later in his career he loosened up a bit, allowing an attorney to “sneak” a settlement agreement passed him that called for joint physical custody from time to time.

But the question is, were courts serving the best interest of children when joint physical custody arrangements were disfavored?  The answer, if one uses the science, is no.

It is not uncommon that early studies in an area may become conventional wisdom.  As an example, United States nutritional guidelines were based upon early studies in the 1960s on nutrition.  Those studies that that promoted carbohydrates, called all fat bad, and the like, turned out, after subsequent, more modern studies, to be nearly completely wrong.

After reviewing 60 different studies that have been done on whether or not children do better in sole custody of one parent, or the joint physical custody of both parents, the end results, using meta-analysis, is that the early studies were flawed (using biased samples).  That in almost all the studies children in joint physical custody did no worse, and in most children in joint physical custody did better than children in sole physical custody.

So how do you bring modern science into a Georgia courtroom to overcome the conventional bias against joint physical custody arrangements?  You do so by bringing expert testimony into your case.

I represent both mothers and fathers.  My passion is for my client and their case, not some general case.  If you want to win joint physical custody of your child, and you are up against this negative bias, I want expert testimony to set the court straight.

We are Georgia divorce and child custody attorneys.  We win custody for our clients.  Each case is different, each case requires different strategy.  If what you want is joint physical custody, in so many cases, too many cases, it takes a fight to get it.  If you are going to fight, do it smartly.  Let’s use the science on our side.

If you have any questions, we would be happy to speak with you.  We have been representing clients in divorce and child custody cases since 1995.

Scott Shaw

Shaw Law Firm, PC

Georgia Divorce and Child Custody Attorneys

[email protected]

770 594-8309