Settling Child Custody in Georgia: 3 Steps

Family law experts consider settling the best way to resolve a custody dispute. When parents settle, they draft a parenting plan together and file it with the court to make it a final order.

Settling allows parents to stay in control of their family life and often leads to less animosity, faster resolution and significant cost savings.

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After parents negotiate a plan successfully (perhaps turning to alternative dispute resolution methods for help), they'll follow the steps below, with minor variations by county.

If you have an attorney, he or she will guide you through the process. If not, you should at least have a legal professional review your paperwork.

Step 1: Draft your parenting plan

Begin by drafting a parenting plan with Georgia's uncontested parenting plan template or the Custody X Change parenting plan template.

You can even combine the two, using Custody X Change to supplement the state's template with personalized provisions.

Include a detailed visitation schedule.

Step 2: Complete your other paperwork

Complete the form listed for your case type below. Sign it, along with your parenting plan, in front of a notary with the other parent.

If your county requires parents in custody cases to attend a parenting seminar, attach each parent's certificate of completion.

If you still need to open a case, complete that paperwork, as well. You will not need to serve the other parent.

Step 3: Get the court's approval

Hand in your documents, with two copies of each original, to the court clerk. You may have to pay a filing fee.

The judge must confirm that your plan serves the children's best interests. They are less likely to approve if either parent has a history of crime, violence or substance abuse.

Usually, judges approve settlements without a court appearance. However, if you have a divorce or separation case, you may have to appear within 30 or 45 days of filing the settlement to confirm that you agree to its terms.

Once the judge signs, you can pick up copies of the final order from the court clerk, or you may receive them in the mail. Finally, either parent should complete and file a case disposition form to close the case.

After you've settled

The custody journey continues after you receive final orders. Now your responsibilities include:

To do all of this and more, use Custody X Change.

The online app's customizable calendars, parent-to-parent messaging, expense tracker and parenting plan template will make life after settlement as straightforward as they made settlement itself.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

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Explore examples of common schedules

Explore common schedules

Join the 60,000+ other parents who have used our co-parenting tools

Organize your evidence

Track your expenses, journal what happens, and record actual time. Print organized, professional documents.

Co-parent civilly

Our parent-to-parent messaging system, which detects hostile language, lets you collaborate without the drama.

Get an accurate child support order

Child support is based on parenting time or overnights in most jurisdictions. Calculate time instead of estimating.

Succeed by negotiating

Explore options together with visual calendars and detailed parenting plans. Present alternatives and reach agreement.

Never forget an exchange or activity

Get push notifications and email reminders, sync with other calendar apps and share with the other parent.

Save up to $50,000 by avoiding court

Write your parenting agreement without lawyers. Our templates walk you through each step.

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Bring calm to co‑parenting. Agree on a schedule and plan. Be prepared with everything documented.

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