Non-relatives raising children is a common practice in the United States. Neglect in families is a serious issue, and nowadays, it isn’t unusual for a child to be cared for by a family friend, teacher, or even parents of a child’s friend. One of the main concerns for these caregivers is their lack of legal custody or protection for the child. Court’s in Marietta, Georgia, have changed all that with the ‘Equitable Caregiver Act 19-7-3.1.’ passed in 2019.

How does the Equitable Caregiver Act affect Custody?

If you are fighting for grandparent rights or custodial rights, it’s best to understand what that legally entails. In Georiga, a caregiver tends to the needs of another who is incapable of doing it for themselves. This statute applies to children, mentally or physically ill persons, those with disabilities, or older adults. In the past, Georgia only recognized biological relatives as eligible caregivers in court. However, the Marietta court now acknowledges caregivers as “someone who provides competent and consistent care to a child.” As long as you qualify, you can gain legal custody

Woman doing child's hair - Family law issues with Attorney Sean Whitworth

What Qualifies Someone As an Equitable Caregiver?

There are many measures that must be taken to determine the qualification of caregiver status in Georgia law. The person applying for legal custody must be taking care of the child continually, standing in, essential, as a parent. They must have established an evident bond with the child and not be expecting financial compensation. On top of that, the child must depend on the potential caregiver, proving it difficult for the child to adjust to life without them. 

It makes the process much more legitimate in the court’s eyes when at least one of the parents acknowledges the consistent care provided by this person.

If you meet these criteria, reach out to a family law attorney in Marietta, Georgia. Filing to become an equitable caregiver is no easy feat, and having an experienced attorney on your side will make the process less complicated. Rights are not automatically granted; you must apply in Georgia court! 

woman and child with therapist- Custody law requirements with Attorney Sean Whitworth

How Do You Prove Yourself In Court?

To prove the need for your care, you must prove to the court that the child would suffer mentally or physically without your care. The best interest of the child will always be at the forefront of what matters in Georgia court. The court will request records of the child’s medical and psychological needs to help determine who is best suited to provide them.

The court will require sufficient information on the past caregivers and anyone else applying to become a caregiver. The most important thing, however, is who the child has the strongest emotional attachment to. Proving yourself as this person will substantially increase your likelihood of gaining custody. 

Who benefits from the Equatibale Caregiver Act?

This Act benefits you if you care for a child you are not biologically related to. If you are a grandparent hoping to gain custody, this Act also helps you. Georgia family law has always prioritized visitation; however, gaining full custody is an option for grandparents and stepparents. Stepparents now have rights to custody if they separate from the biological parent. The same thing applies if the biological parent dies. This Act also makes a huge impact on the LQBTQ custody matter dealing with adoptive children and children that are biologically related to one parent. This also benefits same-sex marriages that do not adopt, and friends and relatives that children are left with when the parent abandons them for prolonged periods.

Couple helping child with homework- Caregiver qualifications in Georgia with Attorney Sean Whitworth

Georgia Family Law 

It is important to remember that the Georgia court considers many things before granting custody. Custodial parents, for instance, still have rights unless they proved unfit. The Equitable Caregiver Act does not diminish or relinquish the rights of the biological parents. 

Stay informed on how this can affect your case by hiring an experienced attorney. Book your consultation today. 

The main priority for the Georiga court is in the best interest of the child. No matter the level of care you provide or the amount of commitment you prove, the court may still deny custody. It’s the court’s responsibility to determine the right choice for the child. 

Ready To Apply For Custody?

If you meet these criteria, reach out to our Marietta law firm and discuss your options with our Attorney, Sean Whitworth. Together you will discuss your goals and learn what to expect in court. Georgia takes custody very seriously; having a respected Marietta attorney by your side will only help your case. Call us today at 770-415-8500

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