- The purpose of vague statutes and judicial discretion is to allow judges to tailor the custody outcome based on the circumstances of each case instead of taking a one size fits-all approach.
- Theoretically, proponents say that both parents should be equal in this process.
- The data on custody outcomes is very limited. Looking at the data collected by the Georgia Child Support Commission (See Custody Outcome Findings) as part of their quadrennial child support guidelines reviews, mothers are custodial parents most the time. This conclusion supports data collected at the national-level.
- Looking at the disposition manner of a random sample of 572 divorce cases in Gwinnett County, Georgia for 2016 and 2017, most cases are settled prior to trial and not heard by a judge.
- There is no data on parenting time arrangements. It is commonly understood that default arrangements vary by Georgia county – with metropolitan counties like Fulton and Dekalb to be more inclined to order shared parenting arrangements than suburban counties like Gwinnett and Cobb Counties.
- it is also commonly understood that if parents cannot agree to an parenting time arrangement, the defacto arrangement is the non-custodial parent seeing their children every other weekend with alternating holidays. This is because courts have taken an informal approach that children can be detrimentally harmed by exposing the children to conflict when parents are forced to co-parent. Therefore, it is best that a child has one stable household that be exposed to two households.
- Once the court determines the outcome of custody, the findings are entered in documents like the permanent parent plan order (O.C.G.A. § 19-9-3(a)(8))
- In the absence of a formal state policy explicitly stating that both parents are equally fit, it appears like the Courts have informally taken the position (unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary) that the mother is the best suited as the primary custodial parent. However, these custody battles can take years and tens of thousands of dollars.
- The lack of an meaningful statutory framework that could be used as a starting in custody proceedings means that Georgia statutes