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Atlanta Metro Family Law Blog

Accommodations are an important aspect of custody decisions

Although there are many factors that go into deciding child custody rights in Georgia divorce cases, living accommodations are often considered to be some of the most important. Whether a parent receives sole custody, joint custody or no custody at all can hinge upon the ability to provide a nurturing environment where a child will have access to vital resources, including health care.

Many parents worry about income considerations as a determining factor in custody decisions, but the provision of a safe environment is more important. A parent who lives in a neighborhood with a high crime rate may have a harder time proving a safe environment to a judge as opposed to a parent living in an area with low crime.

Post-divorce co-parenting during the holidays

Separated or divorced parents in Georgia tend to have more to deal with than most families do during the holidays. For one thing, there's more potential for conflicts and confrontations due to increased back-and-forth travel between homes. School breaks can also be a source of contention if adjustments will need to be made with existing arrangements. One solution recommended for easing holiday stress for both parents and children is to get everyone on the same page with seasonal plans.

Adults living separately but still sharing parenting responsibilities are typically urged to keep the focus on the parent-child relationship during the holidays by putting aside personal feelings. This might require a need to seek emotional support from friends or a counselor. Taking this step sometimes helps parents make decisions about holiday plans that aren't influenced by personal animosity. While certain family traditions are likely to change, the transition process may be easier if children are kept in the loop by knowing where they'll be spending their time.

Claiming head of household after divorce

After parents in Georgia get a divorce, one may be able to claim head of household and claim a tax credit for their child. However, determining how this is done can be confusing.

First, the divorce must be finalized by the end of the calendar year in order to claim this status for the year. Next, the child must spend the majority of the time with the parent who files as head of household. The parent must also pay most of the expenses. A custodial parent can transfer the right to claim the child as head of household to the noncustodial parent.

Tips for parents helping children find stability after divorce

Georgia parents who are getting a divorce can help their children adjust by disrupting their routine as little as possible. If the kids are going back and forth between households, parents can agree on a set of rules and consequences. A child should be allowed to stay in the same school if possible. Relationships with family members, such as cousins, can sometimes be a casualty in divorce, and parents should help children maintain those connections. They also shouldn't argue in front of their children.

Some parents are using an arrangement known as "nesting" or "birdnesting" to help their children adjust. This means parents take turns staying in the family home while the children remain there. When a parent is not in the home, he or she stays elsewhere, usually at a shared apartment. For nesting to work, people need to be able to afford the arrangement and have an amicable relationship.

Deciding what to do with the family home after a divorce

The family home is usually the most valuable asset that a divorcing couple owns. Therefore, deciding whether or not it should be sold is often a contentious issue during property division negotiations. Spouses in Georgia may choose to give up their rights to ownership of the family residence by signing a quitclaim deed, but doing so sometimes leads to even more acrimonious legal battles in the future.

Lenders are not swayed by the provisions of divorce agreements when mortgages fall into arrears. This means that divorced spouses may find themselves responsible for bringing delinquent home loans up to date months or even years after signing quitclaim deeds. These delinquent payments can also be ruinous to credit scores and make future borrowing extremely difficult. Spouses who wish to avoid such situations should ensure that all joint loans secured by property are satisfied before ceding their ownership rights to those properties.

First 3 steps in dividing the family business through divorce

Separating a shared house, children, bank accounts and pets is challenging enough. If you’ve got your own business, a divorce can take a huge piece of it.

Here are the first three steps that determine how a small business will be handled in a divorce.

Divorce and dividing assets

Addressing the division of assets in a divorce can be a contentious issue. However, before Georgia couples agree to any terms regarding how their assets are to be split, it is important that they first consider the tax ramifications of their decisions.

Wanting to maintain ownership of the family home after the divorce is not an unusual occurrence. In fact, spouses may agree to not pursue their portion of other types of assets, such as their share of the ex-spouse's retirement funds, in order to have ownership of the home. But thanks to changes in the tax laws, owning the home may be more expensive than they thought.

How custody is awarded in an immigration case

Roughly 20 percent of children are being raised by an extended family member who is an immigrant, according to a new report. In many cases, aunts, uncles and grandparents are raising children in Georgia because their parents were deported. Therefore, they may face the challenge of raising a minor who is emotionally scarred. They may also face the challenge of raising a child with inadequate financial and other resources.

Some state governments have taken steps to help parents retain custody of their children or otherwise provide for them if the parents are deported. A Maryland law allows parents to name a guardian for their children if they are deported. However, they would still retain control of the children. Furthermore, parents still have control over their children until an event such as a deportation occurs.

Alimony, retirement accounts major issues in gray divorce

Retirement accounts are often an important issue for Georgia couples who divorce later in life after the age of 50. The end of 2018 marks a time of significant change regarding how divorced couples will handle their taxes. Among the biggest differences is that after January 1, 2019, tax regulations will no longer allow deductions for alimony payments, and payments will no longer count as income for the person receiving them. Some observers had predicted that the change would lead to a rush of divorce settlements during 2018.

That rush has not occurred, though, according to a divorce attorney who practices in New York. He said it seems like people are ready to live with the new rules. It may be that determining the dollar value and timing of alimony payments is simpler than deciding where the money will come from and how the parties will prepare for tax consequences. In most cases, even in high-asset divorces, the two most valuable assets tend to be the retirement accounts and the house.

Friends may be the spark a person needs to get divorced

A Georgia resident who is on the fence about getting divorced may be silently encouraged to separate by their friends. If friends have already gone through divorce, one might see that separation can be a way to move forward as opposed to a bad way to end a relationship. Individuals may look even more favorably on divorce if a friend's split was amicable or relatively free of drama.

The chances that a person gets divorced after seeing a friend or family member do so depends on many factors. For instance, a person is 147 percent more likely to divorce if multiple people in their social circles have done so. If a sibling gets divorced, an individual is 22 percent more likely to follow suit. It is important to note that these people who are influenced to divorce are likely in unhappy marriages to begin with.

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