When parents divorce or separate, it's necessary to make custody and visitation arrangements for the children. Although parents are allowed to make such determinations outside of the courtroom - provided the arrangement is in the best interests of the children - some may find amicable negotiations impossible or extremely challenging without guidance from a lawyer or the courts, oftentimes meaning a judge is needed to make the final decision regarding custody.
If you have decided to file for divorce, you have probably found yourself facing the overwhelming task of finding a Cobb County family law attorney to guide you through the divorce process. Although your decision in this regard will depend largely on personal preferences such as gender, age and experience level, and other logistical factors such as cost and office location, there are a few things that you should remember when you are meeting with attorneys.
Way back in August, we wrote a blog post about the dangers of posting sensitive information on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter when you are in the midst of a divorce or other family law case. In short, we gave this advice: don't post anything online that you wouldn't want read out loud in court in front of the judge deciding your family law case.
Alimony, or spousal support, seems like it should be very cut and dried. If one spouse is financially worse off after a marriage due to years spent out of the workforce raising children, for example, he should be granted alimony until he can support himself. However, spousal support is not usually so simple under Georgia family law.
Earlier this week, we began a discussion of the court cases against parents for their failure to pay child support. Because these are civil matters, there is no constitutional requirement that defendants be provided an attorney for their hearings, as there is for criminal cases. However, the hearings often result in a jail sentence or other negative consequences for indigent defendants who are unable to make their child support payments, which advocates claim is unfair and possibly even unconstitutional.
Under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, no person may be "deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law." Traditionally, this has been interpreted to require that anyone who is accused of a crime be given a fair trial. Because one factor of a fair trial is the provision of an attorney, the public defender program provides defendants with a defense attorney if they cannot afford to retain one. As many defendants have little experience with the law and the legal system, this attorney can make the difference between freedom and jail time.
A child custody dispute in a divorce proceeding can range from the relatively benign to the hotly contested. It can be relatively simple and straightforward, or it can involve differing stories, harsh allegations, guardians ad litem, expert witnesses and other professionals, and intense media scrutiny.
Child support - often a central component in a divorce settlement - can sometimes take a surreal twist in the aftermath of a separation, especially when the media gets hold of a story like the following, which is admittedly a bit sensational.