Johnston & Owen, LLC

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These articles DO NOT constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. 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.   The law is constantly changing and some of the information in these articles might be obsolete.  Please also recognize that seemingly insignificant details often have a big effect on the advice that we give our clients concerning a particular legal issue.

April 6, 2013

Where will my divorce case be filed?

By Lance Owen | Posted in Divorce | No comments

A resident of Georgia must be a bona fide resident of Georgia for a period of six (6) months before Georgia can acquire jurisdiction to grant a divorce.  A nonresident may file for divorce against his or her spouse who lives in Georgia if the spouse has been a resident of Georgia for six (6) months prior to the filing.

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.

March 12, 2013

Can I adopt my Spouse’s Children?

By Lance Owen | Posted in Adoption | No comments

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.

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