Archive for August, 2013

Georgia Alimony: Periodic or Lump Sum Payments?

Posted on: August 12th, 2013

If you are in the midst of the Georgia divorce process and your family law attorney has let you know that you will likely receive alimony from your spouse, you might be wondering what your options are in terms of receiving the payment. Of course the advice of your divorce lawyer will be critical since it will be specifically tailored to your unique situation, but there are some general principles you should know when deciding between periodic and lump sum alimony payments.

Periodic Georgia Alimony Payments

Periodic vs lump sum GA alimonyDepending on the type of alimony payments you receive (temporary, permanent, or rehabilitative), and depending on your financial situation at the time of your divorce, periodic payments may be your best bet:

  • Generally, periodic alimony payments in Georgia are made on a monthly basis.
  • If temporary, they will be made until the divorce ends.
  • If permanent, they will be made until the recipient dies or remarries.
  • If rehabilitative, payments will be made until a specified occurrence or date.
  • In terms of taxes, periodic alimony in Georgia can be quite complex, both in terms of how and when you may deduct or state them as income. Consult not only with your attorney but a tax professional you trust regarding how periodic alimony may affect your tax situation.

Lump Sum Alimony Payments

Here are the main aspects of Georgia lump sum alimony payments:

  • Lump sum alimony payments are also known as “alimony in gross”.
  • One-time payment that is generally still made even if the recipient dies or remarries.
  • There may be a tax advantage in receiving lump sum over periodic payments.
  • Many times, the payment ends up being less overall than with periodic payments.
  • However, taking into consideration the possibility of investing the lump sum amount, it still may be a better decision financially.

The best way to determine which is right for you is to work closely with your Georgia divorce and alimony lawyer as well as with your financial advisor. That way you can make the best decision for you while working within Georgia alimony law. To schedule a consultation with one of our divorce lawyers in Atlanta GA, please fill out the brief form on this page and we will be in touch with you shortly!

 


Uncontested Divorce vs Contested Divorce in Georgia

Posted on: August 12th, 2013

The Differences Between Contested Divorce and Uncontested Divorce

The first step to filing for a divorce in any state is determining whether you plan on getting a contested or uncontested divorce.  If you are not familiar with divorce laws (most people are not if they do not have previous experience), you may not be familiar with the difference between the two.  However, the two types of divorce are extremely different, so it is important to know the difference between the two and which type is best suited for you.

Uncontested Divorce:

When couples seeking divorce are able to meet eye to eye in regards to settlements, alimony, child support and so forth, an uncontested divorce is appropriate.  Uncontested divorces are generally faster, cheaper and less messy.  In an ideal world, all divorces would be uncontested.  However, most couples seeking divorce don’t often see eye to eye when it comes to dividing assets and other possessions fairly.  Usually, a lawyer involved in an uncontested divorce is mainly responsible for drafting up a settlement agreement between both parties.

Contested Divorce:

Getting a contested divorce in Georgia is very different from an uncontested divorce. Couples who are not able to come up with an agreement in terms of settlements, child custody, amount of alimony and so forth should consider getting a contested divorce.  Filling for a contested divorces calls for the skill set, the familiarity with divorce law and the expertise of a divorce lawyer.
contested divorce in georgiaThe best law attorneys have noted that couples who aren’t on speaking terms, couples where one spouse cheated on the other, or couples who absolutely cannot see eye to eye usually opt for a contested divorce.  Contested divorces are generally longer than uncontested divorces.  The speed of the divorce is dependent on how quick both parties can come up with an agreed settlement.

Determining Which Type of Divorce is Right for You:

It may be hard to decide what type of divorce is right for you in the beginning stages of your divorce.  Sometimes, it is difficult to determine whether a divorce is uncontested or contested in the beginning and what may seem to be an uncontested divorce can ultimately turn out to be contested in the end. The key question is whether you perceive that you and your spouse can work things out over the course of a divorce, but whether you have already done so. Hopefully this blog gives you a little better idea of what an attorney is really asking when he/she asks if your divorce is contested or uncontested.


Divorce Lawyers: 10 Signs of Troubled Marriages

Posted on: August 12th, 2013

signs-of-troubled-marriageBefore you race to the yellow pages and start looking up “best Atlanta divorce law firm”, take some time to really evaluate your relationship. Fighting is a common occurrence between couples. In fact occasional fighting and butting of heads can actually be beneficial for couples. But when your occasional disputes turns into constant fighting and indifference, your relationship may be in murky waters. Is your marriage possibly in trouble? Here are ten signs that there might be a bigger problem than which piece of furniture to get.

1. Unhappiness with relationship:
Do you find yourself feeling unhappier when you are with your spouse? If so, this should be a red flag signaling a greater problem. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should get ready to sign the divorce papers, but it does mean that you and your partner should take time to figure out what is causing the unhappiness.

2. Same repeated arguments:
If you and your spouse are having the same arguments over and over again, it could mean that you are realizing different core values. People are bound to change as they age. Sometimes the change is minor, sometimes it is for the better, and sometimes those changes can cause a rift between two people.

3. Lack of physical intimacy:
Physical intimacy is a good indication of troubled marriages. Happily married couples report high levels of physical intimacy even after many years. High reason for divorce has been lack of physical intimacy.

4. Constant criticism:
Are you constantly criticizing your partner? Is your partner constantly finding ways to belittle you? Constructive criticism is one thing, but constant criticism is a clear sign that something is amiss. People often resort to criticism to uncover their unhappiness with something in general.

divorce-in-georgia5. Lack of communication:
When you have good or bad news, do you shy away from telling your spouse? Communication is key for a functioning relationship. A tall tale sign of a troubled marriage is lack of communication on all levels.

6. Threat of physical abuse:
Any relationship where one of the spouses is in danger of physical or emotional abuse is one that is on rocky foundation. Abuse of any kind goes beyond a failed marriage. If you are in an abusive marriage, look into a quality divorce lawyer who can represent you.

7. Constant nitpicking:
Repeated nitpicking can be annoying. Such a habit is able to put up a wall between you and your partner. Unless it is within your personality to nitpick other people as well, your habit of nitpicking your wife/husband can be your subconscious tugging at your overall dissatisfaction with something deeper.

8. Suspicions of infidelity:
Infidelity is one of the most common reasons and grounds for filing a divorce in Georgia, nationwide, and worldwide. People who suspect their partner is cheating are either right or allow the worry to consume them.

9. Lack of common goals and virtues:
Change is inevitable. We can’t predict how we as individuals evolve, how our goals change, and how our priorities change. However a common reason for divorce occurs when a spouse places more importance on work or if a spouse lacks any kind of goals.

10. Find yourself looking for distractions:
Spending time with your partner should not be a requirement, tedious, or dreaded. If you’re looking for ways to distract yourself or to spend less time with your partner, it might be time to address the issue at hand.


How to File for Divorce in GA

Posted on: August 12th, 2013

divorce in georgiaIt sounds like a very simple question, but it is one of the most frequent questions Georgia divorce attorneys hear: how do you file for divorce in Georgia?

Before we get to the answer, it’s important to know that if you are considering this question, you are probably seriously considering a divorce. If that is the case, you should consult with an Atlanta divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

Why is it necessary to consult with a divorce lawyer in Georgia if you are only thinking about getting divorce, and not sure you really want to or should? Because with legal matters as delicate and often time sensitive such as divorce, the sooner you have experienced legal guidance to instruct you on the proper course of action, the better off you will be in the long run.

Hopefully you will reach out to a compassionate lawyer if you are seriously considering this question, but to begin to answer the question in a general manner, if you plan on filing for divorce in Georgia, as the spouse seeking divorce, you must file an official complaint with the court governing your jurisdiction. In doing so, you will become known as the “plaintiff” and your spouse will be known as the “defendant” throughout the divorce. This complaint must have detailed information about your marriage in its current state, including why you are filing for divorce. Sound complicated? It certainly can be, which is another reason to have a practiced Georgia divorce attorney on your side to help you throughout the process.


Understanding Georgia No-Fault Divorce Law

Posted on: August 12th, 2013

If you are considering a divorce in Georgia, you probably have some substantial reasons for doing so. However, you might also have heard of something called a “No-Fault Divorce”, which is provided for under Georgia law. A practiced divorce lawyer can discuss with you whether a Georgia “No-Fault Divorce” is right for you and your particular situation, but in the meantime, here are the general principles you need to know.

Georgia law has thirteen grounds for divorce total, which will be explored in a later post, but for the time being, we will look solely at the last, thirteenth ground for divorce in Georgia. The only requirement in filing for this last ground for divorce in Georgia is an individual’s claim that their marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Therefore, it is known as a “No-Fault Divorce” because an individual does not need to show proof of any particular fault that warranted divorce.

So what does it mean that a marriage is “irretrievably broken”? According to Georgia law, one must demonstrate that there is no hope of the marriage being reconciled. This means that a spouse has to prove that the couple has no chance of working things out and staying together. But how does one spouse actually prove this? Under Georgia law, all that is required to prove the “irretrievably broken” nature of a marriage is the testimony of one spouse, which has an interesting side effect. This means that even if the other spouse disagrees, he or she cannot stop the divorce.
“No-Fault” Divorces are utilized very regularly for the very reason that they do not require proof of a specific grounds of divorce in Georgia, or, in other words, fault. If you are considering a divorce in Georgia and need a lawyer to consult with regarding whether or not a “No-Fault Divorce” is in your best interests, look for an experienced legal professional with good ratings and reviews.


Divorce in GA: 10 Reasons to Hire a Divorce Attorney

Posted on: August 12th, 2013

Going through a divorce without the help of an attorney can be challenging. Divorce lawyers are able to provide their clients not just legal help, but a friendly shoulder to lean on. To get the best legal help, always hire a local divorce attorney. For example, if you live in Atlanta it is best to hire an Atlanta divorce attorney. There are many benefits to hiring someone within your county such as ease of appointments, knowledge of local judges and knowledge of surrounding divorce lawyers and firms. But before we consider the smaller details, here are 10 reasons why you should depend on a divorce attorney:

1. Settle an agreement:
Couples who are looking into getting a divorce rarely see eye to eye. Coming up with a mutual agreement is a hard feat. Individuals going through separation may not want to give into the other’s agreement and vice versa. This ongoing tug of war could go on forever. With the help of a divorce lawyer, couples are able to come to an agreed settlement much faster.

2. Serve as a mediator for you and your spouse:
It isn’t uncommon for couples going through separation or divorce to have pent up anger, frustration or contempt for the each other. Negative personal feelings often lead to fights, adding fuel to the flame. Divorce lawyers can redirect these negative emotions by taking on the role as a mediator.

3. Help lessen the emotional stress:
Going through a divorce can be emotionally, physically and emotionally draining on individuals. By hiring a trustworthy divorce attorney, you are able to lessen your load and less part of your burden. Your divorce attorney will be there to help take care of the details, keep you focused and hold your hand throughout the process.

4. Fast divorce procedure:
When going through a divorce, the last thing any couple wants is to prolong the divorce. With the help of a reputable family lawyer, the whole process of divorce and coming up with an agreed settlement goes by much smoother and faster.

5. Determine if you getting your fair share:
A crucial part of getting a divorce is determining how to divide property, assets and so forth. Different states have different laws for how to divide property and assets. Hire a local Atlanta divorce attorney to consult you on Georgia divorce settlement procedures.

6. Help you with child custody laws:
Determining child custody is one of the most important factors for couples going through a divorce. An experienced family lawyer in GA will help you determine and fight for your rights as a parent.

7. Inform you of what you are entitled by law:
Getting a divorce in GA, you may be entitled to more than just marital assets.A knowledgeable attorney will inform you of everything you are entitled to by Georgia law.

8. Go over important legal documents:
To file for divorce in Georgia, you must submit and fill out the right legal documents for your local court to approve. Hiring a divorce attorney can help you keep track of these forms, help you fill out the forms and keep you moving smoothly along the divorce process.

9. Protect your rights:
A divorce lawyer is experienced with divorce law. An experienced lawyer will know all the ins and outs of the process, know what you are entitled to and know what your rights are. By hiring a trustworthy attorney with your best interest in mind, you are guaranteed to have your voice heard and your rights protected.

10. A shoulder to lean on:
Great divorce attorneys do not just provide legal help to their clients, they are also provide emotional help. Sometimes individuals going through divorce need someone to listen to their problems, worries, concerns and so forth. A divorce lawyer can provide clients a platform to express their anger, sadness, or frustrations.


What to Look For In a Divorce Attorney

Posted on: August 12th, 2013

divorce-attorneySometimes you will find it difficult to accept the fact that you need the services of a divorce attorney. Divorce is a very emotional and stressful issue that affects not only you but the entire family as well. The issue becomes extremely difficult when children are involved. That’s why you need to have a divorce attorney to work on the case for you. Your choice of an attorney is crucial to the success of your case. Here are some tips that you can use to find the best lawyer for you.

How to Make the Best Choice

Check their background. Be sure to do some research about the potential candidates that you will hire as your representative in your divorce case. Check their backgrounds, especially their field of specialization.

  • Do they have a strong education foundation on family law?
  • Do the law firms where they work focus on the areas of divorce and family law?

The divorce attorney that you should hire must have years experience handling family-related cases.

The next thing to consider is that you should hire a counsel who knows the local laws and ordinances. Laws may have the same application everywhere in the country, but they are sometimes bounded by the realities of particular state. Aside from that, a local practitioner also knows the important contacts in the area. Connections can make all the difference in a divorce case. This means that your legal counsel must know the attorneys and the judges in the locality.

Work Ethic

You must choose an attorney with good work ethic and has been known in the legal community to be somebody who has risen from the ranks through hard work and positive efforts. Ask what his current load is. You don’t want a counsel who handles many cases at one time, leaving him with barely a moment to work on your case. A practitioner who has good work ethic will tell you if he has too much work already.

Before you hire a divorce attorney, meet with the person first. Meeting him in person will tell you he is professional, both in words and deeds. You can tell it by the way he dresses, by his manner of speech and by the way he carries himself in general.

Lastly, you must get along well with your lawyer. He must be something that is not difficult to deal with. He must be someone you can trust. Remember that in a divorce case, you may have to share some very personal things about your married life and your family. You don’t want to entrust information like this to someone who cannot be trusted.


Temporary Hearings in Georgia Divorce Cases

Posted on: August 12th, 2013

One of the most popular questions surrounding divorce in Georgia pertains to temporary hearings, including what they are and why they may be beneficial. A divorce attorney can give you specific advice on what is best for you and your particular situation, but here’s some general information about temporary hearings in Georgia divorces:

  • Temporary hearings take place during the time after divorce papers are filed and before a final divorce decree has been issued, a time which is known as the “waiting period”.
  • Either spouse may request a temporary hearing, but it is not a required part of the Georgia divorce process.
  • The temporary hearing is not the same as the final divorce decree, but is meant to address some of the same issues, such as child custody, child support, child visitation, debts, alimony, and property division. Yet as the name implies, the decisions reached regarding these various aspects of the divorce are only preliminary and may change when final decisions are reached by the court.
  • The goal of a temporary hearing is to help take care of the practical details of your life while you are waiting for the divorce process to be finalized.

So how do you know if a temporary hearing is right for you and your situation? An experienced divorce attorney in Atlanta, or elsewhere in Georgia, will explain to you the various options available to you under Georgia law, and based on those options, will help you make the decision that will best protect your interests.

When you present your case before a judge at your temporary hearing, you want to make sure you have a Georgia divorce attorney with plenty of courtroom experience in order to win your case and achieve the outcome you seek.

More about divorce in Georgia courts here: https://georgia.gov/popular-topic/filing-divorce


Adopting Foreign Children: What Every Couple Should Know

Posted on: August 12th, 2013

Having a child can do wonders in the family. For most parents, they consider their children as the bonding element that strengthens the relationship between family members. However, there are couples who may find it hard to bear a child. When all medical remedies and prayers left unanswered, there’s another option to take – adoption.

Adopting foreign children has been common in the United States. Records from the U.S. Immigration state that there are over 200,000 adopted foreign children residing in the country. Apparently, there are approximately 20,000 international adoptions processed annually.

Starting the Process

A couple wanting to adopt a foreign child should acquire approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This will make the process legitimate, granting the child U.S. citizenship. They should also know the process involved in both countries – the U.S. and the country they wish to get a child from.

Prospective parents can also contact a legitimate international adoption agency for a smoother process. These institutions are familiar with the immigration process in different countries, and may have good resources together with their partner agencies. Make sure to use the services of a reputable international agency with years of experience to avoid legal issues in the future.

Laws Governing each Country

Foster parents should be aware of the laws governing the foreign country. The issue is a confidential matter between the couple and the government or the international agency. Thus, the U.S. government doesn’t have the right to petition in the best interest of the parents in cases of international adoptions. The adoption attorney may remind the couple of such fact but it’s up to them to research on the laws of the corresponding foreign country.

Immigration Issues

An adopted child doesn’t automatically turn into a U.S. citizen. There are legal procedures and requirements needed to be met by the couple in order for their children to become a U.S. citizen. Prospective foster parents should coordinate with the USCIS regarding this matter.

The adoption attorney may offer two legal methods. First is that parents can apply for adoption if the child has lived with them for two years in the U.S. given that they met all the requirements stated by the USCIS. Second is going to an orphanage and complying with the immigration requirements.

After immigration issues, other factors to consider include the couple’s income, length of marriage and stability of relationship, and living conditions. These are often checked by the social welfare.


How to Choose a Divorce Lawyer

Posted on: August 12th, 2013

Georgia Divorce AttorneysIf you are contemplating a divorce, one of the most important decisions you can make is who you choose to legally represent you. The difference between an average and an excellent Georgia divorce attorney can literally make all the difference when it comes to resolving your case in the most effective and beneficial manner.

While each person may have unique requirements when it comes to what you are looking for in a divorce lawyer, there are some general points you should keep in mind. Here are a few tips for choosing a lawyer:

  1. Ask for recommendations from family and friends. A referral could be one of the easiest and most effective ways to find a good divorce attorney in Atlanta, for example. This method produces good results because the people recommending will most likely have direct experience with an attorney, and would be able to give very specific and detailed information about them.
  2. Read online reviews. Online reviews are powerful ways to learn more about an attorney and help you choose between many options. Many times the people who take the time and energy to write insightful online reviews often had a very positive (or negative) experience with a particular divorce lawyer or family law firm. You can learn a great deal from both perspectives.
  3. Schedule a free consultation. Most if not all divorce lawyers will offer a free consultation to discuss your case and determine how they might be able to assist you. Based on this interaction with the attorney, take notes on your thoughts and impressions. Think about whether they would be a good fit for your needs and requirements.
Choosing an experienced divorce attorney is a vital step in the divorce process. Having a legal advocate on your side whom you trust is invaluable during divorce. For a free consultation with one of our Atlanta divorce attorneys, simply contact us using the form to the left, send us an email, or give us a call.
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