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God, School, Health and Extracurriculars: The Top 4 Post-Divorce Parenting Issues

by Jon Rotenberg, Of Counsel, Hedgepeth, Heredia & Rieder

Jon Rotenberg HHR 2015 smallAs parents raise their children, they confer on a huge range of decisions related to their kids’ lives. How do we handle homework? Do they get to watch TV on a school night? How do we make them eat their vegetables?

But there are four issues that top the list, and that we group as God, School, Health and Extracurriculars.

These four topics encompass key issues. Where will they go to school? Will they be raised in a religiously observant way? What activities will they take part in? How should we handle their medical care?

Managing all of these decisions is (hopefully) fairly amicable and straightforward when a couple is married. But when the marriage ends, the parenting continues. As part of a custody arrangement, the court will consider how the children’s time is divided. It will also make sure the children’s interests are taken care of on a number of fronts and these four areas will be at the top of the list.

The Judgement of Solomon - 2017 Version

Among the ancient tales of Solomon, the wise king must solve a dispute between two women who both claim to be the mother of a baby. His solution is simple and classic: Cut the baby in two and each woman gets half. Of course, the true mother would rather give the baby to the other than do that.

Fortunately, Georgia’s statutes on custody are slightly more reasonable. They mandate that in almost all cases parents are obligated to confer on important decisions. Recognizing that giving both parents equal weight would result in frequent deadlocks, one parent is designated as the tiebreaker for specific decisions.

It is common for one parent to have final decision-making power as to all major decisions, but that is not always the case. For example, if one parent has the majority of time with the children and will remain in the school district where the children have always attended school, that parent will likely have educational authority. But the other parent may be a physician, and thus could be the best choice for making medical decisions. The needs of the child in each area vary, and influence who is put in charge of those decisions.

Managing that quartet of God, school, health and extracurricular activities might seem daunting, but understanding the options and planning can make the process smoother for your family.

As always, consult your family law attorney to help you through the process! You can reach Jon Rotenberg at  or (404) 846-7025.

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