Johnston & Owen, LLP

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Lance N. Owen handles our firm's family law matters. More than three-fourths of the civil cases filed in the Georgia Superior Courts are family law cases.   If you are visiting our website there is a good chance that you have questions about a particular family law matter. The internet absolutely full of misleading information. Legal advice from family and friends is often inaccurate. Mr. Owen regularly encounters many of the same family law questions from clients and prospective clients.  It is his hope that the content you have reviewed on our website including the various articles that have been posted will lead you to make contact with our firm to schedule an appointment to discuss the particularities of your situation. These articles DO NOT constitute legal advice. If an article is relevant to your particular legal situation you should understand that it is merely intended to provide a very general preview of matters that would be discussed in detail during a face-to-face consultation Mr. Owen.   The law is constantly changing and some of the information in these articles might be obsolete.  Finally, please recognize that very small details often have a big influence on the advice that we give our clients.

February 3, 2017

Grandparent Visitation Rights in Georgia

By Lance Owen | Posted in Child Custody & Visitation | No comments

In order to understand the current state of the law with regard to “grandparent visitation” in Georgia (O.C.G.A. §19-7-3) one must first understand how custody and visitation is determined by the courts when the custodial dispute is between parents.   Further, one must recognize that Georgia law provides a means by which certain third-party relatives (including grandparents) can actually get permanent custody of a child over the objection of one or both parents.

March 27, 2013

Can my child select his or her custodial parent?

By Lance Owen | Posted in Child Custody & Visitation, Divorce | No comments

A child who has reached the age of 14 has the right to select the parent with whom he or she will live. The selection, however, must be found by the Court to be in the child’s “best interest”. There is a presumption that the child’s selection is in his or her best interest. This means that the party opposing the selection will have the burden of convincing the Court that the selection is not in the child’s best interests. In my experience the opposing party has an uphill battle.

A case seeking to modify physical custody may be filed solely on the ground that the child is over the age of 14 and wants live with the other parent. When custody is modified based solely on the child’s selection there cannot be another custody action filed for a period of two years following the selection. This means that the child cannot change his or her mind and return to the other parent’s custody within two years of his or her previous selection unless there is some additional evidence to support a change of custody. For this reason the child should be certain of his or her selection.

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