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Divorce & Family Law

Here are the Tomlinson Law Group, PC we strive to help make your divorce or family matter as stress-free as possible.   We understand that all of these type of cases are emotionally charged.  We will fight for you and help you achieve the results you are entitled to under the law.  We hope the following information will help you understand your situation better and we are always happy to further discuss your matter with you in our offices.

 

 

TJS practices Divorce Law, Bankruptcy Law, Family Law, DUI Law, Immigration Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Law, Personal Injury Law, Accident Law. We are your Richmond Hill , Savannah Attorney's.

TJS practices Divorce Law, Bankruptcy Law, Family Law, DUI Law, Immigration Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Law, Personal Injury Law, Accident Law. We are your Richmond Hill , Savannah Attorney's.

Child Custody Modifications

After child custody has been determined, a court can modify the initial custody order upon a showing that new and material conditions exist which substantially affect the interest and welfare of the child.   In child custody modification cases in Georgia, presiding courts must apply the “best interest” of the child.

Types of Divorce Actions:

 

1) Uncontested - When you and your spouse have worked out all of the issues, such as property division, alimony, and debt allocation prior to contacting our offices then your divorce will most likely be uncontested.  Child support will be determined by the courts using the Georgia child support worksheet.

 

2) Contested - A contested divorce generally refers to a situation where you may not have spoken to your spouse about the issues in your divorce or that you have been unable to come to an agreement upon the terms of the settlement agreement.  In this type of matter, we will negotiate the terms of the settlement agreement (if possible) with your spouse or opposing attorney.  While certainly some of these type of cases ultimately lead to litigation and a trial, it is important to understand that the vast majority of these “contested” cases result in the parties ultimately resolving their differences outside of court through a negotiated agreement or during a mediation proceeding.

 

Issues to Consider in a Divorce Action:

 

1) Property Division - Under Georgia law “property” as used in a divorce action not only refers to tangible property such as the family home or furniture but also to intangible property such as pensions, 401(k) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), profit sharing plans and deferred compensation plans.  Allocation of debt has to be examined in conjunction with property division.

 

A. Marital vs. Non-marital Property - One of the most complicated areas of any divorce in Georgia is the division of marital property.  In Georgia, each spouse is entitled to an equitable share of all marital property acquired during the marriage.  Unlike community property states (California, Arizona), Georgia does not necessarily divide marital property equally between the spouses.  Under Georgia law it is divided equitably or fairly as determined by a judge, jury or by the agreement of the spouses. (O.C.G.A. 19-5-13).    

 

2) Child Custody - This can easily be the most complex and contested issue between the parents.  Recognizing the important role that both parents play in the lives of children, Georgia has adopted the public policy of ensuring that children continue to have contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the child’s best interests.  (O.C.G.A. 19-9-3(d).

 

A. Physical Custody - This deals with which parent the child will reside with primarily.

 

B. Legal Custody – This addresses which parent will have the final say so on various matters related to a child’s upbringing such as medical and school decisions.

 

C. Determining Child Custody – The determination of physical custody may be made by agreement of the parties (subject to court approval) or directly by the judge presiding over the case.  The court will consider the “best interests” of the child before any physical custody arrangement is ordered or approved by the court.  

 

• Guardian ad litems (GALs) – These are typically attorneys who are appointed by the court to do an investigation and to provide guidance to the court as to the best interest of the child.

 

• Child’s Election – Under Georgia Law if a child is 14 years of age then he/she can elect which parent he/she wishes to reside with so long as it is not contrary to the child’s best interests.

 

D. Visitation - The non-custodial parent the court with typically set up some type of visitation schedule to ensure that the child has access to both parents.

 

E.  Parenting Plans - Any case in Georgia involving child custody muse have a formal parenting plan incorporated into the final decrees. (O.C.G.A. 19-9-1)

 

F.  Alimony - Alimony may be granted in cases of divorce. (O.C.G.A. 19-6-4)

 

G. Child Support - In Georgia, it is the responsibility of both parents to provide for the maintenance, protection and education of their minor children.  Child support is a way to ensure that both parents continue to meet this responsibility upon the dissolution of a marriage or other relationship.  Child support consists of payments made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent on behalf of their children.  Although child support payments are paid to the custodial parent, child support is the right of the child and is to be used solely for the benefit of the child.  Child support may be determined by the judge in a contested case or by agreement of the parties in an uncontested case.  However, under both circumstances, the court will follow the guidelines set out by the Georgia child support worksheet.    

 

Child Support Modifications

Once a divorce case is concluded, child support may be modified by the agreement of both parties or by one party petitioning the court for a modification.  The court will look to see if there has been a substantial change in financial circumstances as defined by Georgia law or if a change of custody has occurred.  

Contempt Actions

Generally, contempt of court refers to an action or actions that disregard or disobey an order of the court or conduct that is disrespectful towards the court.  If your former spouse has failed to adhere to the court’s order regarding child support, child custody, alimony or division of property then they may be found in contempt of court. (O.C.G.A. 19-6-28)