Why do we emphasize our firm's family law practice? Why do we periodically post articles covering topics of interest in the area of family law? According to the Judicial Council of Georgia's 2016 Annual Report the Georgia Superior Courts had 366,203 case filings statewide in 2015. The breakdown of the Superior Court case filings in 2015 was as follows: Criminal cases - 172,175 (47%); Family Law cases - 145,786 (40%); and Other Civil cases - 48,242 (13%). In other words, family law cases represent more than three-fourths of the civil cases that are filed in the Superior Courts.
If you are visiting our website there is a good chance you are here because you are looking for a family law attorney and have questions about particular legal issues. In my family law practice I regularly encounter many of the same questions from clients and prospective clients. The web is full of misleading information. Legal advice from family and friends is often inaccurate. It is my hope that the content you have reviewed on our website including the various articles that you see below will lead you contact us and schedule an appointment to discuss your particular 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. Small details often have a big influence on the advice that we give our clients.
March 27, 2013
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.
March 12, 2013
By Lance Owen |
Posted in Adoption |
The biggest issue in the adoption of a stepchild is whether or not the biological parent is willing to surrender his or her parental rights. The surrender is an unconditional, permanent termination of the biological parent’s rights.
The law imposes a number of procedural hurdles to ensure that the surrendering parent understands the consequences of what he or she is doing. The surrendering parent has the right to withdraw the surrender if the parent does so in writing within 10 days of executing the surrender.
February 28, 2013
By Lance Owen |
Posted in Divorce |
Prenuptial agreements (also referred to as antenuptial agreements) recognize the respective rights of each party in the event of the death of either party or in the event of divorce. These agreements were definitively recognized as enforceable by the Georgia Supreme Court in 1982. The Courts will recognize such agreements and the terms and provisions contained therein so long as none of the following circumstances are present:
(1) The agreement obtained through fraud, duress, or mistake;
(2) The the agreement unconscionable; or
(3) The facts and circumstances have changed since the agreement was executed so as to make its enforcement unfair and unreasonable?