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How property is divided in a Georgia divorce

When a Georgia couple gets a divorce, one of the decisions that must be made is how property will be divided. The first step is deciding what is marital property and what is separate property that belongs to individuals. Marital property will tend to be assets that are acquired during the marriage such as income, real estate, some insurance policies, stocks and bonds, and vehicles. Separate property may include assets that each person brought into the marriage, inheritances, gifts and any items that the two people divorcing agree count as separate property.

A Georgia court has the discretion to distribute property as it sees fit. However, it will also take several factors into consideration. Among these are whether either spouse wasted assets, how each spouse behaves during the process, the anticipated future needs of each person, the financial status of each person, and who has what kind of separate property.

Dealing with custody disputes and substance abuse

When one Georgia parent is dealing with drug or alcohol abuse, the other parent may be worried about their children's safety when they are around that parent. Child custody can get tricky in these situations as the court may get involved very quickly if a parent complains about the other parent's substance abuse.

Courts are usually quick to respond if a parent alleges that the other parent has a substance abuse problem, especially when it directly impacts the children. The parent can complain directly to the court that finalized the custody order or to the local child protective services agency. However, the court may only take action if it is believed that the parent's substance abuse is having a negative impact on their ability to care for the children or if the children's well-being in in danger.

When business owners divorce

The divorce process may be complex for a Georgia couple if they own a business. If they had a prenuptial agreement, this might be covered. A family business might also be protected by a trust that keeps assets separate. However, if neither of these is the case, then the couple may have to look at options for dividing the business.

One solution is for the couple to continue to run the business together after the divorce. However, this is generally only possible if the two are able to get along. They should also create a shareholder agreement that makes it possible for one to buy the other although this may present more obstacles. Before one person can buy the other out, it is necessary to get the business valued, and then the purchaser must raise the money to buy it.

Planning ahead for vacations

The summertime can cause headaches for Georgia parents who are divorced and who want to take their children on vacations. There are several things that they can do to reduce the likelihood of custody disputes arising because of their vacation plans.

When parents want to take their children on vacations, they should plan far in advance of their trips. They should notify the other parent several months in advance if possible. This can allow them to have plenty of time to work out any disputes ahead of time without interfering with their vacation plans.

If you want custody in a divorce, comply with child support

One of the most frustrating parts of getting divorced is losing out on the time you used to spend with your children. When you combine that with arguments with your former spouse and the sudden demand for child support out of each paycheck, it's a perfect storm for bad decisions. Especially if your former spouse is withholding or severely limiting your visitation, you may feel strongly about child support requirements. However, failing to pay your child support in full and on time can have a real, adverse impact on your ability to obtain full or partial custody as your divorce proceeds.

When you're going through a contentious divorce, one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself is to retain the services of an experienced Georgia family law and divorce attorney. Your attorney can help you document any improper behavior by your former spouse, such as failing to respect visitation orders. Your attorney can also help you prepare for the process of fighting in court for shared or sole custody of your children. Custody battles are often prolonged and difficult, and you shouldn't try to handle the whole process on your own. The right attorney makes a major difference.

Reasons to ask for child custody changes

Some Georgia parents who are subject to an existing child custody order may want to ask for a modification. This may be done in the event that they think that the child may be in danger. If a child is in immediate danger, a judge may order a modification right away. A modification may also be made if children say that they don't want to live with the custodial parent.

If a parent chooses to relocate, this may be grounds for modifying an existing order. Whether or not a modification is granted depends on the reason why a parent is relocating and whether or not doing so makes it impossible to stick to the original custody schedule. When a parent ignores the custody schedule, it may be possible to ask that it be changed to reflect the lack of interest.

What to do in a child custody case that goes to court

Georgia parents who are getting a divorce might want to try to compromise with each other regarding child custody. However, if either parent insists on seeking sole custody or if the two cannot come to an agreement, a court battle might be the outcome.

Heading into a custody battle, parents should familiarize themselves with state custody law. Dressing appropriately for court may make a positive impression on the judge. They should also be polite and respectful in the courtroom. If they have documentation to support their custody bid, they can bring it to the custody hearing.

Getting visitation rights

There are a variety of reasons why Georgia parents may be denied visitation with their children. Depending on the circumstances and reason, people may be able to get assistance with being able to see their kids. Additionally, custodial parents aren't always able to prevent the other parent from visiting their children if they don't have valid reasons for doing so.

While some parents may be restricted in their ability to spend time with their children, it is not common for courts to completely deny access. The reasons that courts will deny or severely limit a parent's ability to visit their kids is usually when the children are believed to be in physical or emotional danger.

How emancipation affects child support

When a child in Georgia is emancipated, if one parent makes child support payments, they may no longer be obligated to continue those payments. Emancipation most often occurs when a child turns 18. However, child support payments might continue after this point. A child might also be emancipated for other reasons. For example, economic independence, military service, marriage and abandoning the parental home are all reasons that a person might be considered emancipated.

In some cases, even after a child is emancipated, a parent might still be obligated to make child support payments. If the child was married, divorces and is still a minor, they might be eligible for child support. A parent may also be obligated to continue child support payments for a child with special needs.

How disability might affect child support

If Georgia noncustodial parents who are under a court order to pay child support become disabled, the custodial parents might wonder whether they will continue to receive those payments. If the disability means that the noncustodial parents will no longer be able to pay the same amount of child support that they paid previously, they will need to go to court to ask for a modification in support. The parent will continue to be obligated to pay the same amount in child support until this modification is approved.

If the parent is temporarily disabled, the modification may be temporary. However, even if the parent is on disability benefits or receives Supplemental Security Income, the parent might still be required to pay child support from either of these.

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At Hecht Family Law we understand that this is not only a very trying time for you, but that you want to get what you feel you deserve during the divorce process. We will always keep your end goal in mind.

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