Family Law in Atlanta Georgia

Family Law in Atlanta Georgia

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Family law is a specialized area of the law that deals with divorce, legal separation, child custody, legitimation and paternity cases, as well as other issues related to families. These cases are filed in Superior Court and handled by Judges in a Domestic or Family Division.

Choosing the right lawyer is a critical step in handling your family law matter. We believe you deserve straight answers and experienced legal advice throughout your case that is focused on strategies for your long-term well-being.

Divorce

There are two types of divorce in Georgia: a final divorce and a legal separation. A final divorce is permanent, permits remarriage, and terminates property claims (though the court may settle those claims through a separation agreement). A legal separation simply marks the ending of a marriage but is not as comprehensive as a divorce.

In Georgia, as in other states with equitable distribution laws, marital property — including pension assets — is divided fairly between the spouses. Separate property includes any assets obtained independently by either spouse before the marriage. Inheritance and gift property is also considered separate, as well as anything delineated through a prenuptial agreement.

During the divorce process, spouses need to resolve issues like child custody and visitation, child support and alimony. The judge will usually make these decisions based on what is in the best interests of the children and what each spouse can reasonably afford. If spouses cannot reach their own agreements, a trial will be necessary.

Child Custody and Support

Divorce is a major life change for any couple with children. Working out a child custody arrangement can be difficult and time consuming. Family law attorney Tricia Solomon can help you assert your rights and get a fair custody arrangement. Georgia child support guidelines dictate that parents must responsibly provide for their children financially. The state uses economic tables to estimate the cost of raising a child. The non-custodial parent typically pays a percentage of their income to the custodial parent. Child support payments last until the child turns 18.

Parents can share legal and/or physical custody of their children. A judge may also appoint a guardian ad litem or custody evaluator to meet with the parents and recommend a custody plan. A custody schedule determines the amount of time a parent will spend with their children. A well-crafted schedule can include mid-week visits, alternating weekends, holidays and other special occasions. If a parent fails to pay child support, the court can enforce the payment with remedies including placing a lien on property, levies on wages, garnishing taxes and/or withholding tax refunds.

Adoption

Adoption is a specialized area of family law in Atlanta, Georgia and requires a knowledgeable lawyer. The laws surrounding adoption vary by state. For example, in Georgia, birth parents must legally terminate their parental rights when placing a child for adoption. In addition, prospective adoptive parents must meet certain age and residency requirements and undergo a home study investigation before being permitted to adopt.

Georgia also allows independent adoptions in which the biological parent and prospective adoptive parents work directly together without the involvement of an agency. In these cases, birth mothers can network with family, friends or acquaintances to find adoptive parents. Prospective adoptive parents may advertise as long as they comply with stringent restrictions set forth in the Georgia adoption code.

If you are considering adoption, contact a compassionate and experienced Atlanta Family Law attorney for advice. The Edwards Law Group can help you understand your options and pursue the best possible outcome for your situation.

Grandparents’ Rights

Often, grandparents play a vital role in their grandchildren’s lives and can provide support and guidance. However, a divorce or separation can cut off grandparents from their grandchildren. Georgia law allows grandparents to petition the court for visitation rights if certain conditions are met.

Under the state’s laws, grandparents can file a petition for visitation in custody actions including divorce, termination of parental rights and adoption. However, the court will only award grandparents visitation if they can demonstrate that the child would suffer emotional harm if they are denied access to their grandchildren and that it is in the best interests of the children.

In order to get visitation or even custody rights, a grandparent must demonstrate that the parent has severed the relationship and that the denial of visitation will cause harm to the children’s emotional health. Grandparents also have a limited time to seek visitation. They can only do this once every two years and they must petition in the original action or in an existing custody case.

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