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Alpharetta Family Law Blog

A year of reckoning for same-sex marriages? SCOTUS to weigh in

Could this be the year -- finally -- when fundamental legal questions relating to same-sex marriage will be definitively resolved by the highest judicial tribunal in the country?

It now seems increasingly likely, given the recent announcement by the United States Supreme Court that the court will hear a case evidencing a split among the nation’s federal appellate tribunals concerning the legality of various states’ bans on same-sex marriages.

Court rulings had been consistently coming down in favor of gay marriage in the past couple years, until the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled late in 2014 that the same-sex marriage bans operative in a number of states were constitutional.

Considerations in the sensitive area of family violence

Here is a preliminary question that might logically be asked at the outset of any discussion regarding domestic violence in Georgia:

What is it?

Indeed, what behaviors might logically be considered to fall within the rubric of family violence?

As we note in an article on our website addressing domestic violence and protective orders, so-called “spouse-on-spouse” abuse spells conduct that virtually anyone will immediately identify as problematic and being at the core of what constitutes family violence.

The American family: curtailed info gathering , Part 2

We noted in our immediately preceding blog post (please see our January 6 entry) the recent news that the U.S. Census Bureau might stop soliciting some family-related information that it currently collects in its nationally distributed Community Survey.

As we pointed out in that post, myriad critics have emerged to call into question the wisdom of any such plan. We summarized the central concerns of various individuals and groups opposed to the curtailment of family data by noting their fear that “much relevant information begins to lack when central data sources wither or dry up altogether.”

The American family: repercussions of curtailed info gathering

It makes sense that what is known about the American family -- especially information germane to new trends and patterns regarding its composition, diversity, the degree to which opinions relating to marriage and divorce may be changing, and so forth -- is largely dependent upon the compilation and close analysis of family-related data.

Given that, it conversely makes equal sense that much relevant information begins to lack when central data sources wither or dry up altogether.

Prenups: focus should be on utility, not misconceptions, acrimony

Of all the forms, documents and various contracts that feature in family law in Georgia and across the country, perhaps no legal instrument is less understood and more vilified than the marital contract.

That agreement encompasses what are essentially twin siblings, namely, prenuptial (before marriage) and postnuptial (following marriage) agreements, respectively.

The focus in our post today is on the former, which is often a standard inclusion on the front pages of tabloid offerings featuring the marital breakups of celebrity couples.

Many people across the country continue to believe that, except for the obscenely wealthy, a prenuptial agreement is, well, not a good idea.

Put another way: Mentioning the topic prior to marriage is akin to dropping a bucket of ice water on a glowing candle.

Do online marriage portrayals distort the institution's reality?

Is marriage being distorted by Facebook?

Today’s blog post focuses on that very question, given that most people reportedly seek to portray their married lives in an upbeat, positive way, even if that reality is, well, not real.

A recent article visiting the topic of Facebook and its effects on how marriage is commonly portrayed online notes that the “average” American has quite a love affair -- if not an outright fixation -- on Facebook.

Spending a reported 4.5 hours a week on the social networking site would seem to readily confirm the view that there is a lot of personal engagement with the forum and with sharing many of life’s personal details and moments.

Trusts in family law: useful, flexible and sometimes complex

As many estate administration and family law lawyers often point out, trusts can be very dynamic legal tools that allow for optimal planning and flexibility.

Consider for a moment a case where parents seek to provide for their children as the kids enter adulthood, yet with the parents still maintaining some essential controls over assets that are ultimately pegged for the children.

A trust can achieve that aim, and in impressive fashion. Properly crafted with relevant input from a proven attorney, a trust can parcel out funds over time and for a specified reason. Some representative examples underscoring the flexibility and great utility of trusts include these fashioned outcomes:

  • Money to be disbursed in installments when a child reaches the age of majority, paid out on dates specified in the trust instrument
  • Funds to be released to pay for college tuition
  • Trust principal to be used for an adult child’s home purchase
  • Trust assets to be used to pay for a child’s wedding

Myriad reasons for why couples slog it out in unhappy marriages

You -- and perhaps your partner, as well -- might flatly know that your marriage is a failed enterprise, despite your good-faith efforts over a sustained period to make it work.

So, you resolve to divorce, but, pursuant to that decision, take note of all the couples you know that seem to be doing just fine in their partnerships. Many of them might even seem routinely blissful.

Is something wrong with you? Why is your marriage unhappy and destined for closure when so many people around you seem to be thriving in their married unions?

Be mindful of protecting that inheritance following marriage

You learn to share as a kid. You might vaguely remember back to how difficult that seemed at times, but you persevered and figured it out.

You had to; it’s simply part and parcel of growing up.

And it certainly extends to adulthood. In fact, sharing is arguably what marriage is centrally about, with each party following betrothal learning to think about material things less in terms of “what’s mine” and more in terms of “what’s ours.”

That generally applies to the family home, the cars, the money that a couple works hard to earn to shelter themselves in retirement, and so forth.

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