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Alpharetta Family Law Blog

Child custody in Georgia: some central considerations

At first blush, some aspects of Georgia’s child custody laws might seem a bit complex to a reader trying to grapple with central terms and concepts set out in the state’s relevant statutory enactments.

That is immediately understandable, given the specialized vernacular associated with many family law considerations.

Take child custodial rights, for example, where Georgia law -- along with that of many other states -- makes reference to various forms of custody. A lay person seeking an immediate and comprehensive understanding of Georgia law on custody might be a bit stymied by references to physical custody, legal custody, sole custody and joint custody.

Roman Catholic church statements raise, dash hopes of gays

At a high policy level, the Roman Catholic Church just concluded a quite noteworthy week, with both an interim report and then a final document on the same subject matter issuing following a days’-long mass meeting of about 200 bishops from around the globe.

Based on perusal of myriad media reports describing happenings last week in Rome, Church authorities at the highest level of governance are far from unified on fundamentally important matters regarding central tenets of Catholic doctrine that govern parishioners across the world, including in Georgia.

Most centrally, those matters relate to the Church’s stance toward the rights -- if any -- of same-sex Christian couples seeking a closer relationship with the Church. Also at the forefront of interest and concern is official doctrine concerning divorced Catholics and practitioners of the faith who have remarried in civil ceremonies.

Some sensible tips for older divorcing parties

Here's a divorce scenario with real-life implications in Georgia or elsewhere in the country.

In deciding how to distribute marital assets in their dissolution, a couple ultimately determines that one spouse will keep the monies saved in a retirement plan, with the other becoming sole owner of the family home. Both assets are nearly identical in value when the divorce decree is finalized.

In the years following the divorce, the retirement plan balloons in value, reaping the benefits of strong tailwinds in the financial markets. Conversely, the value of the home plummets, owing to myriad pressures in the housing industry.

Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision: What does it mean?

There are a lot of hot-button topics on display in the realm of family law these days. Alimony-centered concerns are front and center in several states. The rights of fathers in adoption matters have been underscored in several prominent cases. Stories regarding marital contracts -- both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements -- never seem to stray far from the front pages of national media outlets.

One additional family law subject that has undeniably grabbed the public’s attention in a big way in Georgia and nationally over the past several years is same-sex marriage.

And as high-profile as that subject has become, issues surrounding gay marriage were placed under an even more glaring spotlight earlier this week pursuant to a United States Supreme Court response to appeals brought by several states challenging lower-court rejections of same-sex marriage bans.

Grounds for divorce in Georgia: central considerations

Although most would-be divorce filers in Georgia or elsewhere are likely familiar with the term “grounds for divorce,” they might harbor some questions regarding the phrase and what it entails.

That is understandable. “Grounds” is obviously a term synonymous with “reasons” or a similar word, and there can certainly be many reasons why a party might be seeking a divorce.

Divorce in the United States is truly an interesting subject, given its centrality in family law and several evolutionary phases that have marked it throughout the country’s history.

Domestic abuse focus, part 2: identification and curtailment

There are differing views, of course, as to what constitutes the predominant health concern in the United States. Some people might reasonably weigh in with the view that heart-related diseases top the bill. Others might just as easily point to cancer concerns.

The U.S. Surgeon General has an opinion on the subject, and he opts to go with domestic violence.

That expressed viewpoint is both eye-opening and depressing. As we noted in our immediately preceding blog post, though, it is hardly surprising in light of increased reports of domestic abuse actions occurring across the country.

Identifying, curtailing domestic abuse: Education must come first

Any television watcher in Georgia or elsewhere across the country with avid viewing habits well notes that a highly singular and specific subject has been dominating the airways recently, on both local and national programs.

That subject is domestic violence, which has been a lead story on news broadcasts and talk shows for several weeks running.

The National Football League in particular is being prominently featured in what is now essentially a national debate on family violence, with the league being under a withering spotlight.

Divorce: Do you need an accountant to go with that?

The question posed in the above headline begs another query, namely this: How complex is your divorce?

That in turn leads to additionally related questions, most of them centered on matters involving the identification, valuation and equitable division of property in your dissolution proceeding.

A recent media focus on complex financial considerations asks interesting questions about the parties you might need on your “divorce team” to render professional advice as you work through various matters en route to a final divorce decree.

View: No basis for distinction between married, divorced parents

In a nutshell, here’s what most disturbs writer and psychologist Robert E. Emery about a perceived irrationality he sees in family law.

On the one hand, and regarding a given issue (say, for purposes of discussion, child rearing), a judge will assume a role of passivity and refuse to invoke judicial power. He or she feels restrained from acting because a couple is married and the court thus deems the matter an internal family concern, respecting the special province of marriage and the authority of parents. The court will refrain from exercising power in all but the most extreme circumstances, such as imminent fear of violence in the household.

In some divorces, intellectual property considerations loom large

A core of common concerns sometimes emerges in many marital dissolutions, revolving around a few select matters.

Quite often, and understandably, children emerge front and center in divorce proceedings. What will best promote their interests as regards parental custody? Can a parenting plan be worked out that fairly and comprehensively addresses visitation, holiday schedules, school and sports activities and other matters?

Child -- as well as spousal -- support is also of central importance in some divorces.

And then there is property division, which fully engages soon-to-be exes in many divorce negotiations. Customarily, that includes determinations regarding the family home and, potentially, other real estate holdings, personal property, heirlooms, artwork, jewelry and, importantly, savings and investment accounts.

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