Archive for April, 2015

Who Can Legally Marry You?

Posted on: April 30th, 2015

Atlanta Law Firm This week, the US Supreme Court heard arguments for marriage equality and our Atlanta law firm is following this issue closely. Kitchens New Cleghorn provides legal services to many same-sex couples, and we fully support the dignity of their relationships. Although a large part of our business is helping some people end their marriages in the easiest way possible, we celebrate marriage and respect it for the special institution that it is. That’s why when one of our friends had pics on social media showing her officiating a wedding in Florida, we got curious about who can be a wedding officiant here in Georgia.

Kitchens New Cleghorn law clerk Burton Peebles researched this issue for us (what the law specifically says about who can act as a marriage officiant in Georgia). Here is what he told us:

“A marriage license may be authorized in Georgia by any Governor; former Governor of Georgia; any judge, including judges of state and federal courts of record in Georgia; city recorders, including recorders outside of their municipality; magistrate judges; ministers; or other persons of any religious society or sect authorized by the rules of such society to perform the marriage ceremony. This provision is interpreted broadly. However, if not a judge, justice of the peace, Governor or former Governor, city recorder, or magistrate, an officiant must have the authority under the rules of any religious society to solemnize a marriage (i.e. a deacon, elder, or ordained minister).”

Our rules are very liberal in comparison with some other states, such as neighboring North Carolina, where some “officiant” certifications obtained online do not satisfy their legal requirements to perform marriages. To ensure your marriage will be legal, be sure that your officiant is legally certified to perform the marriage ceremony.


4 Things You Should You Know About Georgia Adoptions | Atlanta Adoption Attorneys

Posted on: April 22nd, 2015

Atlanta Adoption AttorneyIn addition to being Atlanta divorce attorneys, we also have the happy job of being Atlanta adoption attorneys. The absolute joy of helping to create families for Georgia’s children is one of the best parts of our law practice. Because adoption should be encouraged, our lawyers want to educate Georgians on the 4 most common things that people should know before they decide to embark on their adoption journey:

  1. Age is a factor

    You must be 25 years old or older to legally adopt a child in Georgia. Although there are many people younger than this who are mature enough, the law requires this minimum age as a way of mitigating pitfalls from becoming a parent before you are financially and emotionally ready to assume responsibility for a child.

  2. Fiscal responsibility is a must

    The law requires that a person demonstrate a healthy level of responsibility when it comes to managing money. Your financial background will be considered when you apply to adopt a child. Be sure that you have repaired any damaged credit issues and can prove that you are capable of earning an income that can provide for he needs of a child.

  3. Your home will be inspected

    It’s a typical requirement that your home is inspected when you adopt or foster parent a child. You don’t need to have a house like Martha Stewart to pass the inspection, but you do need to demonstrate that the adopted child will have his own room, bed and the normal amenities (electricity, running water, etc.) that one would expect in a safe home.

  4. Character counts

    Obviously, Georgia has a vested interest in placing children with people who have solid character. This includes having friends and family who can speak well of you and your character. It also means that you must have a clean criminal background check.

For more information about the adoption process, you can check out the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services page. If adoption is something that you have been considering, please visit our website and learn more about our adoption services here in Atlanta.


What is Family Law? | Atlanta Divorce Lawyers

Posted on: April 8th, 2015

Family LawAll Atlanta divorce lawyers see their share of couples who want to end their marriage. But at Kitchens New Cleghorn, we don’t limit our practice only to divorce. We also practice family law.

Family Law is a term that encompasses a variety of core services. These services include both contested and uncontested divorces, adoption, child support, alimony, marital property and prenuptial agreements. Sometimes, people may have already gotten a divorce but needs change and they may require a modification to a child support agreement. Or perhaps a couple wants to protect their assets before deciding to marry so there will be less to argue over or lose in the event of a divorce in the future.

Because each family is unique, law services should be designed to customize to each different family situation. In addition, a great lawyer knows that it’s important to know what the goals for each family are.  There should never be a “one size fits all” approach to legal care.

Other Atlanta divorce lawyers may also have family law practices. But at Kitchens New Cleghorn, we work with our clients to protect them from unforeseen roadblocks. We also draw upon our experience to help them navigate the complexities of the law in regards to their particular situation. It is a satisfying experience to see the love on the face of a newly adopted child, or the relief on the face of someone who had a positive outcome in a worrisome divorce case. We practice family law because we value new beginnings and enjoy serving others in this way.

The Business of Marriage | Atlanta Law Firm

Posted on: April 3rd, 2015

Plans A B and COur Atlanta law firm sees a variety of problems, including divorce. But as a business, we can certainly see the value of treating marriage like one, too. Planning ahead, setting goals and knowing how to solve potential problems if/when they occur are all business principles that can be applied to marriage in order to strengthen it.

One of the first things people do before starting a business is to write a business plan. It’s a road map for how the business will operate and includes things such as mission statements, culture, human relations, budgets and growth plans. All of these aspects of a business plan can be applied to preparing for a marriage. Here’s how:

  1. Mission statement – what is the purpose for your marriage? Talk about this with your partner and write it down. This might be the time that you find out that you both think about the purpose of marriage very differently and may avert problems on down the road if you understand why you want to marry.
  2. Culture – what do you want your home life to be like? If you know in advance that your spouse will be in front of a giant-screen television every weekend watching some type of sporting event while you envisioned shopping at flea markets and antique stores with them, you may both be in for a big disappointment. Talk about what you want your home life to be like, how you will treat guests, how you will raise children, spend holidays, etc. Make your agreements before these issues come up.
  3. Human Relations – how do you make sure that you are both receiving your benefits package? (You know, the benefits of being married?) What if someone needs to be written up for a reoccurring problem? How will you handle conflicts? How can you reward excellent effort?
  4. Budget – how you will manage the cash flow? Do you want to save a certain amount for a home down payment? Do you want to pay off debt first? Will you carry a balance on your credit cards? Will you consult each other on large expenses before making a purchase? What should each person do to contribute to these goals? Discuss and come up with a strategy to make sure that you have a mutual understanding of your financial goals.
  5. Growth – do you want children? When? How many? What if a natural pregnancy isn’t an option? Adoption? In vitro fertilization? Foster-parents? What are your plans (and back-up plans) for expanding your family past the two of you? The time to make these decisions is now, before you tie the knot.

After you’ve decided to marry your friend, sit down together to work through these issues and, as this article in Forbes explains, write down your goals (plans) to commit to, you can expect an easier time making important life decisions together because you will have already done it before.