The Societal Interest is: the child not the parents

When children are involved the Courts uniformly review everything in terms of what is in the child's best interests. Georgia is unique now among the 50 states in that it allows a 14 year and older child to choose which parent he or she wants to live with ~ this mandate has recently been amended to require the Court to apply a best interests of the child review but that will be a heavy burden. The new amendment review will probably be most important in modification actions where it is relatively clear that the child is manipulating the situation in terms of trying to get back at the custodial parent. In those situations it will be important to have a guardian ad litem appointed who can review everything that is going on.

Custody actions are still at this time 'pay your own lawyer' actions. The Appellate Courts uniformly hold that an award of attorneys fees in custody actions is improper and so never expect to be awarded any of your attorneys fees in a custody only dispute.

Children have grown up to prosper and be productive with the most miserable of circumstances when they have the love and support of their parents; living homeless, in a car, going back and forth between relatives. But they never, ever grow up to prosper and be productive without massive amounts of counseling if they are not loved and are not supported by their parents. Abuse is not just physical, it is also mental: do not argue in front of your children unless you desire to have them grow up to be 'fighters' in front of their children ... ecetera, etcetera ...