Georgia family law cases are typically very sensitive, so a careful approach is always required. Because of the sensitivity of involved in domestic relations matters, Georgia family law attorneys help clients handle divorce, alimony, child custody, child support, and other family law issues with as little emotional upheaval as possible. Georgia law is unique and complex, making it important to have a legal expert on your side.
Family law attorneys licensed to practice in Georgia have experience with many different kinds of situations and know the specifics of the state’s complex laws. They help clients file for divorce, petition for alimony, and fight for custody and financial support of their children. Whether the case is settled in or outside of court, a Georgia family lawyer provides valuable assistance.
Georgia Divorce Help and Advice
Legal separation is not recognized by Georgia law which is why your recourse is to file for a dissolution of the marriage, otherwise known as, a divorce or for a separate “maintenance.” In Georgia, either spouse may file for separate maintenance, a legal domestic relations action similar to a divorce action. This resolves all issues that are typically settled during a divorce without completely dissolving the marriage. It may even include alimony, child custody, and child support determinations. This is ideal for couples who have trouble maintaining their marital households but have religious or moral objections to divorce.
Divorce severs the marital bond completely and for this reason, it can be extremely stressful. During a divorce, a couple must deal with potential issues like alimony and equitable division of assets. If the couple has children, child custody and child support must also be determined. Each of these issues can be emotionally difficult to handle. If the couple is not well-versed in the law, these situations can be confusing and stressful. Unfortunately, Georgia family laws are not easy to understand so professional help is usually required.
Georgia divorces fall into two categories: a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce. If the couple agrees on the major issues, the divorce is considered uncontested. A final judgment, settlement agreement and supporting documentation are presented for court approval and the divorce can be finalized in just 30 days. Georgia family law attorneys handle both contested and uncontested divorces. A contested divorce is more complicated, including a discovery process that typically spans six months with the very real potential of a contested hearing or trial. If the couple cannot come to agreement regarding an issue, the divorce is categorized as contested. Contested divorces can take many months, even years, to be concluded. An important job for many Georgia family law attorneys is to frequently step in to cases that have seemingly lost control and find a way to settle them without further delay.
Georgia Child Custody Help
Divorcing parents, or parents that have never been married to each other, usually benefit by trying to agree on child custody without involving the court. This is not always possible, so many couples find themselves asking a Georgia family court judge to determine which parent will receive custody. The judge will consider what is in the best interests of the child, which requires considering factors that include the mental and physical health, home environment, and caretaking ability of each parent. This is known as the “best interest of the child” standard, and it is utilized in virtually every state, including in Georgia child custody cases.
There are two types of custody in Georgia: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody involves the right to make decisions regarding the overall well-being and welfare of the child. Physical custody is the right to have the child reside primarily in one parents home. Every Georgia custody case requires submission of a parenting plan that outlines the needs of the child and how the youngster will divide time between parents. This document also specifies the decision-making authority wielded by each parent.
When determining what is in the best interests of the child, the judge considers a proposed parenting plan and may hold a hearing that includes testimony by the parents and witnesses. Georgia family law allows a child who is at least 11 years old to state a preference for his or her residence. However, the final custody decision is not determined by this unless the child is 14 or older.
Some situations include a court-appointed custody evaluator or guardian ad litem, who is a professional designated to represent the interests of the child. After meeting with the family, this individual provides a custody recommendation to the court. The judge usually considers this when determining the custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the child. To prevent any aspects from being overlooked, it is helpful for parents to have experienced legal representation throughout the custody process.
Georgia Child Support Help
Georgia family law courts have been using what is known as the income shares model for child support decisions since 2007. Under this child support model, the percentage that each parent contributes to the total combined income of the couple is determined. This serves as the basis for the child support contribution made by the parent who does not receive custody.
To determine the basic child support obligation, the combined income of the parents is located on the Georgia child support obligation table. This obligation is then multiplied by the parent’s adjusted gross income percentage. Several calculations are involved in determining adjusted gross income and parents must also divide health insurance premiums and child care costs on a pro-rata basis. This formula is not the easiest in the world by any stretch of the imagination. Getting expert Georgia family law advice can help straighten things out and assure you are paying or receiving the correct amount of child support.
If the situation warrants, Georgia law permits the judge to deviate from the child support calculation. Some reasons would be special needs children or a child with some type of illness. Georgia child support statutes also permit an existing child support award to be modified if the needs of the child or the financial status of the paying parent changes significantly. Georgia law mandates the continuation of child support until the child reaches majority age, with a few exceptions. Georgia family law attorneys ensure that custodial parent clients receive the support to which they are entitled.
Georgia Father’s Rights Help
Georgia father’s rights have been gaining traction because many fathers believe they deserve equal rights to their children as mothers. Georgia family lawyers are finding themselves with an increasing number of male clients specifically because of this increase in father’s rights advocates. These men deserve to be involved in the lives of their children and seek legal assistance when filing for child custody. Fathers who do not receive physical or legal custody are still entitled to be involved in the lives of their children. Georgia family law attorneys that specialize in father’s rights help them fight for these rights and win visitation time.
Fathers who are unmarried must navigate a complex legal process to establish paternity. Called legitimation, this process serves as the foundation for child custody and visitation. By establishing legitimation, Georgia lawyers help unmarried fathers receive the same rights that divorced fathers possess. Retaining a skilled father’s rights helps both married and unmarried fathers continue to play positive roles in the lives of their children and prevents noncustodial fathers from having to pay an excessive amount of child support.
Finding Georgia Family Law Help
Getting Georgia family law help is as simple as calling our team of expert legal professionals and family law attorneys. Our team is happy to connect you with an expert that can give you the Georgia family law advice you deserve.