In the modern era, parents often marry multiple times and have various children with different partners. This can result in families that contain children from different marriages and relationships. When spouses who have children from previous marriages get together, they often willingly accept new children into their family. Often, these families are very strong, with the various children forming close bonds as they grow up together – even though they are not full siblings. What happens to these children when spouses get divorced?
If you find yourself in this situation, it is best to get in touch with an experienced family law attorney in Georgia. Our legal professionals can guide you through the divorce process. With our assistance, you can strive for the best possible custody outcome, spending adequate time with your children after the marriage ends.
Parents Keep Custody of Their Previous Children
If parents already have custody of children from previous relationships, they are unlikely to lose that custody in the case of a divorce from a new spouse. The only exception is if they are guilty of serious neglect or abuse, and it is determined that the best possible person to gain custody is their spouse. However, it is much more likely that the biological parent of the children would receive custody if they are available and deemed suitable by the family courts. In a divorce, the courts are typically focused on children who have been born during the marriage.
How Step-Siblings Can Affect Custody
With all that being said, having children from previous marriages can affect your custody battle. Georgia family courts consider many factors when determining a child’s best interests, including their relationships with their step-siblings.
According to the Georgia law, one of the factors that should be considered when determining the child’s best interests is:
“The love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties existing between the child and his or her siblings, half siblings, and stepsiblings and the residence of such other children.”
In other words, if your biological children have developed a close bond with your spouse’s children from another relationship, it could affect your custody battle. Specifically, the family court will be more likely to keep these children together and in the same residence. Therefore, whoever maintains ownership of the family home and has pre-existing custody of your children’s stepchildren is more likely to retain custody.
However, it is worth noting that this only really applies if your children have a good relationship with their step-siblings. If they clearly do not get along, the courts will not force them to keep living together.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you have been searching the Georgia area for a qualified, experienced family law attorney, look no further than Lankford & Moore Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous parents approach custody battles in a confident, efficient manner. We know how important this is to parents, and we can help you fight for your right to spend as much time as possible with your kids following the divorce. Book your consultation today.