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Child Custody


Almost every divorce is difficult, but this process can be especially complex and stressful when it involves children. While most parents want to do what is best for their kids, the spouses may have to reach a compromise on their own needs in this situation. If you need assistance with setting up this sort of arrangement, child custody attorney Thomas C. Rowsey can help. For over two decades, he has been assisting individuals throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area with a wide range of family law matters.


There are cases in which one parent may not be allowed custody, as well as extreme cases in which neither parent may retain custody of a child in favor of grandparents or other guardians. Following most divorces, however, both parents of a child will continue to play strong roles in his or her life. As a rule, Georgia courts prefer joint custody arrangements to encourage both parents to continue their responsibilities for and relationships with their kids.

There are two facets of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody relates to the physical possession of a child. Legal custody relates to the parent’s rights to make decisions on behalf of a child regarding education, medical care, extracurricular activities, religious instruction, and similarly significant matters. In most cases, unless there are special circumstances like a history of domestic abuse, a Georgia family court will favor joint physical and legal custody that divides these key rights between the parents. Even when one former spouse is given sole custody rights, the other former spouse usually has visitation or other rights.

In cases when the parents agree to retain joint custody, they can present their own parenting plan to the family court. However, even when they agree, the court is not obligated to approve it. The focus of a judge in this situation is to serve the child’s health, safety, and comfort interests, regardless of the divorcing spouse’s desires. At a minimum, a parenting plan should address:

    • Where the child will be every day, including holidays, birthdays, school breaks, and vacations;

Transportation arrangements, including allocations of costs in transferring the child from one parent to the other;

  • Child-care and other care arrangements, if necessary;
  • How the parents will allocate decision-making responsibilities, and how they will resolve any disagreements between them;
  • How a parent may contact the child when he or she is in the other parent’s care; and
  • How the parents will accommodate certain events, such as moving, changes in work hours, or unexpected travel.

The court must make sure that the plan comprehensively addresses the needs of the children as they age and mature, and not just their present desires or those of their parents.

When an arrangement is approved, the parents are obligated to conform to it. A parenting plan may only be amended if there is a significant change in family circumstances. In rare instances, such as when a parent in the military is deployed, Georgia law makes accommodations. In addition, when a child turns 14, he or she may request a change in custody by asking to live with one parent or the other, although a court has the discretion to deny that request.


Child custody issues can be relatively smooth or very contentious. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney can help you navigate your way through a child custody issue by helping you understand your rights under the law, by negotiating or mediating with your spouse or your spouse’s attorney, or representing you in litigating a dispute. At the Law Offices of Thomas C. Rowsey, our family law lawyers have considerable experience working with Roswell parents in all types of custody situations, and we have a thorough knowledge of Georgia’s family court system and rules. Our clients come from throughout Fulton, Cobb, and DeKalb Counties, including communities such as Atlanta, Marietta, Sandy Springs, and Milton. If you need help with a child custody issue, contact Rowsey & Stelter at 770-993-5317 or use our online form to set up a consultation.

Our Client Reviews

Rowsey & Stelter, Attorneys at Law

4.4 / 5.0

Based on 7 reviews

Chris Smith

Tom did an excellent job setting up my LLC for my new business recently. I was in a situation where I needed the LLC formed quickly and Tom and his team were able to work on a very short deadline. Highly recommended!

GAAW Wright

Tom has been our attorney for many years. He has been with us through thick and thin. He has successfully handled all our queries and cases with patience and understanding. We highly recommend Tom!

Corey Rennolds

At all times for the duration of my case, Tom demonstrated professionalism, confidence, and honesty. At no point was I pressured to make any one decision over another, but Tom did his best to inform me about the consequences and benefits of all of my options. If he did not know some specific detail regarding my case, he made the effort to find out. Tom instantly exudes trustworthiness and was always in steady contact. I would recommend his services to anyone.

Justina Allen

I met Tom over 10 years ago after settling in Roswell with my family. I have learned over the years that Tom is a man of high integrity, genuine and extremely knowledgeable in his field. Along with being honest, he is a straight shooter and will let you know where you stand. He will provide you with personal attention you don’t get at bigger firms and will go the extra mile. As legal matters can be frightening to deal with, Tom will guide you through the process and get you the results you need.

Rowsey & Stelter, Attorneys at Law

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295 W Crossville Road,
Building 100, Suite 110,
Roswell, GA 30075

(770) 993-5317

Monday - Friday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday Closed