2022 Georgia Code
Title 19 - Domestic Relations
Chapter 9 - Child Custody Proceedings
Article 1 - General Provisions
§ 19-9-1. Parenting Plans; Requirements for Plan

Universal Citation: GA Code § 19-9-1 (2022)
  1. Except when a parent seeks emergency relief for family violence pursuant to Code Section 19-13-3 or 19-13-4, in all cases in which the custody of any child is at issue between the parents, each parent shall prepare a parenting plan or the parties may jointly submit a parenting plan. It shall be in the court’s discretion as to when a party shall be required to submit a parenting plan to the court. A parenting plan shall be required for permanent custody and modification actions and in the court’s discretion may be required for temporary hearings. The final order in any legal action involving the custody of a child, including modification actions, shall incorporate a permanent parenting plan as further set forth in this Code section; provided, however, that unless otherwise ordered by the court, a separate court order exclusively devoted to a parenting plan shall not be required.
    1. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, a parenting plan shall include the following:
      1. A recognition that a close and continuing parent-child relationship and continuity in the child’s life will be in the child’s best interest;
      2. A recognition that the child’s needs will change and grow as the child matures and demonstrate that the parents will make an effort to parent that takes this issue into account so that future modifications to the parenting plan are minimized;
      3. A recognition that a parent with physical custody will make day-to-day decisions and emergency decisions while the child is residing with such parent; and
      4. That both parents will have access to all of the child’s records and information, including, but not limited to, education, health, health insurance, extracurricular activities, and religious communications.
    2. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, or agreed upon by the parties, a parenting plan shall include, but not be limited to:
      1. Where and when a child will be in each parent’s physical care, designating where the child will spend each day of the year;
      2. How holidays, birthdays, vacations, school breaks, and other special occasions will be spent with each parent including the time of day that each event will begin and end;
      3. Transportation arrangements including how the child will be exchanged between the parents, the location of the exchange, how the transportation costs will be paid, and any other matter relating to the child spending time with each parent;
      4. Whether supervision will be needed for any parenting time and, if so, the particulars of the supervision;
      5. An allocation of decision-making authority to one or both of the parents with regard to the child’s education, health, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing, and if the parents agree the matters should be jointly decided, how to resolve a situation in which the parents disagree on resolution;
      6. What, if any, limitations will exist while one parent has physical custody of the child in terms of the other parent contacting the child and the other parent’s right to access education, health, extracurricular activity, and religious information regarding the child; and
      7. If a military parent is a party in the case:
        1. How to manage the child’s transition into temporary physical custody to a nondeploying parent if a military parent is deployed;
        2. The manner in which the child will maintain continuing contact with a deployed parent;
        3. How a deployed parent’s parenting time may be delegated to his or her extended family;
        4. How the parenting plan will be resumed once the deployed parent returns from deployment; and
        5. How divisions (i) through (iv) of this subparagraph serve the best interest of the child.
  2. If the parties cannot reach agreement on a permanent parenting plan, each party shall file and serve a proposed parenting plan on or before the date set by the court. Failure to comply with filing a parenting plan may result in the court adopting the plan of the opposing party if the judge finds such plan to be in the best interests of the child.

History. Orig. Code 1863, § 1685; Code 1868, § 1728; Code 1873, § 1733; Code 1882, § 1733; Civil Code 1895, § 2452; Civil Code 1910, § 2971; Code 1933, § 30-127; Ga. L. 1957, p. 412, § 1; Ga. L. 1962, p. 713, § 1; Ga. L. 1976, p. 1050, § 1; Ga. L. 1978, p. 258, § 2; Ga. L. 1983, p. 632, § 1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 22, § 19; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1000, § 1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1036, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 1368, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 1656, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 863, § 5; Ga. L. 1999, p. 329, § 3; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1292, § 1; Ga. L. 2007, p. 554, § 5/HB 369; Ga. L. 2011, p. 274, § 2/SB 112; Ga. L. 2013, p. 553, § 2/SB 1; Ga. L. 2016, p. 222, § 1/HB 52.

The 2016 amendment, effective July 1, 2016, substituted “court” for “judge” throughout this Code section and, in subsection (a), twice substituted “court’s” for “judge’s” in the second and third sentences and, in the fourth sentence, substituted “order” for “decree” near the beginning and added “as further set forth in this Code section; provided, however, that unless otherwise ordered by the court, a separate court order exclusively devoted to a parenting plan shall not be required” at the end.

Cross references.

Parenting plan, Uniform Rules for the Superior Courts of Georgia, Rule 24.10.

Editor’s notes.

Ga. L. 2007, p. 554, § 1/HB 369, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: “The General Assembly of Georgia declares that it is the policy of this state to assure that minor children have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interests of their children and to encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of rearing their children after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage or relationship.”

Ga. L. 2007, p. 554, § 8/HB 369, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that the amendment to this Code section shall apply to all child custody proceedings and modifications of child custody filed on or after January 1, 2008.

Ga. L. 2011, p. 274, § 1/SB 112, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: “This Act shall be known and may be cited as the ‘Military Parents Rights Act.’”

Law reviews.

For article recommending more consistency in age requirements of laws pertaining to the welfare of minors, see 6 Ga. St. B.J. 189 (1969).

For comment on Bodrey v. Cape, 120 Ga. App. 859 , 172 S.E.2d 643 (1969), see 7 Ga. St. B.J. 256 (1970).

For article, “The Child as a Party in Interest in Custody Proceedings,” see 10 Ga. St. B.J. 577 (1974).

For article surveying Georgia cases dealing with domestic relations from June 1977 through May 1978, see 30 Mercer L. Rev. 59 (1978).

For annual survey on law of domestic relations, see 42 Mercer L. Rev. 201 (1990).

For note on 1992 amendment of this Code section, see 9 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 243 (1992).

For article, “Domestic Relations Law,” see 53 Mercer L. Rev. 265 (2001).

For survey article on domestic relations cases for the period from June 1, 2002 through May 31, 2003, see 55 Mercer L. Rev. 223 (2003).

For annual survey of domestic relations law, see 56 Mercer L. Rev. 221 (2004).

For survey article on domestic relations law, see 59 Mercer L. Rev. 139 (2007).

For article with annual survey on domestic relations, see 73 Mercer L. Rev. 89 (2021).

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