770-609-1247 | Divorce Roswell Georgia: Custody, Child Support and Alimony

Call 770-609-1247 to Speak With an Attorney.


Custody, determining how to settle the protective care of any children, is a procedure marked with multiple court hearings in Georgia. Custody can be divided into two categories. The first is sole custody, which means one parent, or legal guardian, is completely responsible for the child’s overall wellbeing, including health and education. The second is joint custody, which fairly splits the same rights and privileges of the one parent above between two individuals. Joint legal custody means both have equal say in making decisions for the child, whereas joint physical custody means both can spend an equal amount of time and contact with the child. However, even in joint custody the court assigns one person to have the final say. While the parents’ and child’s say are both strongly considered, the court ultimately holds the authority to make the closing decision based on what they believe is in the child’s best interest.

Through different legal proceedings child custody cases can take various approaches. In divorce cases, if both are capable parents yet cannot agree, the court will employ a “best interest” standard  that takes into consideration each parents’ work schedules, home lifestyles, and personal habits. In Paternity and Legitimation cases, the mother has sole custody of the minor child until the father legitimates the child. Then they have equal custodial rights. Finally, in the case when the parent holding custody dies or if neither parents are capable to have custody, the court then considers a limited selection of relatives instead.

To complete the legal procedure, child custody laws in Georgia request parents to submit a parenting plan for any custody case. These plans typically expound upon an outline of goals with further detail on how the parents will figure out transportation, living arrangements, education, health care, and child support payments for the child. However, child custody decisions are by no means absolute. The court allows changes that can result from significant circumstances that could affect the child’s welfare. Also, when a child is eleven the court considers expressed preferences, but when a child is fourteen Georgia law allows the child to select a preference for one guardian over the other.


Child support plays a significant role along with child custody determining the child’s future after extenuating parenting circumstances. Georgia law states child support payments must be paid until the child is eighteen, marries, becomes emancipated, or dies. If the child continues education into secondary school, payments should be made until the child is twenty. Also, if the child has a physical or mental disability, the court may prolong child support.

To file for Georgia child support, one can simply apply online through the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) web site. An alternative is to also print the child support application from the same website and mail it to the local Child Support Agency. Next, DCSS must locate the non-custodial parent and establish paternity before the court can order child support. To order child support, the court follows the Georgia Child Support Guidelines, which analyzes both parents’ incomes, the number of children, and other relevant factors. To pay for child support, in most cases Georgia law arranges for direct income withholding so that the support amount is subtracted from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck. If the non-custodial parent does not pay child support to completion, then a contempt action may be filed which may fine that parent, sentence him/her to jail, or both. The court could also take other actions like suspending passports, preventing collecting state income tax refunds, or suspending certain licenses. The court may also sentence the non-custodial parent to the Fatherhood program, which is a government program that assists non-custodial parents who owe child support but don’t have the means to pay for it.

Guardians have the right after three years to review a child support order for amendments. Only if significant changes have occurred can the court review the case before then. Requests can be submitted in writing to the child support office administrating your case.


Alimony, or spousal support, is when one spouse financially supports the other during or after a divorce. Courts typically order the higher earner to pay alimony to the other spouse for a transitional period after separation to make certain of economic equality in a divorce. Temporary, or “pendente lite”, alimony is while the divorce is being processed, but the court may also order temporary or permanent alimony after the divorce has been finalized. The spouse paying alimony usually pays in one lump-sum amount or through periodic payments. However, permanent alimony is not frequently ordered;  generally, Georgia courts see alimony as only being paid during a  temporary state while the individuals are readjusting to separate lives. But special circumstances due to poor health and age related concerns can warrant legitimate need for permanent alimony also.

For the court to award alimony one spouse must be able to pay and one spouse must demonstrate a financial need. Georgia courts also consider if the spouse requesting for alimony has contributed to a significant reason to the dissolution of the marriage; if found guilty of such activity, the individual may be prevented from receiving alimony. The judge of the case holds great power in settling alimony in most cases because there are no set specific state guidelines for enforcement. However, a general method is to take one-quarter to one-third of the marriage length for alimony payment. Alimony decisions are more ordinarily seen among long-term marriages, which are marriages that exceed ten years in length.

Alimony agreements can be modified if there is significant circumstantial change or if the recipient remarries or engages in a new marriage-like relationship. Periodic alimony payments are tax-deductible for the payer and taxable for the recipient, but lump-sum payments are typically treated as property dispersals and therefore not taxable nor deductible.

Please review the following for more information about divorce cases in the Roswell, Georgia and surrounding areas:

Georgia Contested Divorce Georgia Uncontested DivorceChild SupportLegal Separation, Separate MaintenanceChild Custody, Child VisitationChild Support ModificationChild Custody Modification PaternityLegitimationAlimony, Spousal Support ContemptTemporary HearingsName ChangesAnnulments

Our Georgia attorneys handle cases in the following cities and communities: Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek, Milton, Cumming, Marietta, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Gainseville, Midtown Atlanta, Norcross, Lawrenceville, Kennesaw, Duluth, Buckhead, Dunwoody, Vinings, and Smyrna.

Our Georgia attorneys frequently handle cases for clients residing in the following counties: Fulton, Gwinnett, Forsyth, Cobb, DeKalb, Henry, Cherokee, Douglas, Carroll, Coweta, Paulding, Bartow, Hall, Barrow, Walton, Newton, Rockdale, Henry, Spalding, Fayette and Clayton.

Coleman Legal Group, LLC’s Georgia lawyers practice in the areas of Divorce, Family Law, Bankruptcy, Immigration and Business Law. We have two convenient offices located at: 5755 North Point Parkway, Suite 52, Alpharetta, GA 30022 and 659 Auburn Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30312. We serve clients in Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek, Milton, Cumming, Atlanta, Buckhead, Inman Park and the surrounding Metro Atlanta area.


Copyright © 2013 | Coleman Legal Group, LLC | All Rights Reserved. Coleman Legal Group, LLC5755 North Point Parkway, Suite 52 • Alpharetta, GA 30022 770-609-1247 DISCLAIMER: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.