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Atlanta Metro Family Law Blog

How substance abuse can influence child custody cases

If a parent in Georgia has a substance abuse problem, it may impact how that parent is allowed to interact with a son or daughter. A court can look into complaints of substance abuse during a child custody hearing. At that time, a judge may choose to look further into the matter to determine if a parent's drug or alcohol use compromises the child's safety in any way.

Courts will also take a closer look at a parent's drug or alcohol use after a child custody order has been created. This could happen if a complaint is made to the court that issued the order or to the Department of Child Protective Services. Depending on what an investigation reveals, it may be possible for a noncustodial parent to be restricted to supervised visitation. This can last until a parent demonstrates to the court that he or she has taken steps to overcome a drug or alcohol problem.

What happens to my partner’s retirement savings in a divorce?

Your partner has been the breadwinner and major contributor towards retirement. Meanwhile, you have worked from home to raise the kids so your spouse could focus on a lucrative career. However, you have started down the road to divorce, and you might have some concerns about your access to long-term savings and assets like a pension and 401(k).

 

When to seek a child custody modification

In general, Georgia family courts prefer not to alter child custody agreements if they appear to be working for the child and both parents. However, there are some situations that may require a child custody modification.

For example, a court will consider a modification if the child is in any sort of danger. When assessing an alleged danger, a judge will take into account whether there is domestic violence taking place in a parent's home, whether the child is in imminent danger and whether the child has expressed a desire to stay away from the home in question. The court may also consider making changes if a parent is relocating. A judge will be interested in the motivation of the parent who is moving and whether the change will make the current child custody arrangement difficult to maintain. The court might ask if the parents have attempted to negotiate a new visitation schedule and how a child's daily life will be impacted by the new schedule.

Tips to help fathers gain child custody

Georgia fathers know that winning child custody can be difficult. However, there are a few things they can do to help prepare for a potential custody battle.

One of the most important things fathers seeking custody can do is consistently pay child support. If the support agreement is informal, they should create a paper trail proving the payments are being made. Meanwhile, fathers should make every effort to build a strong relationship with their child. This could include calling the child often to check up on his or her well-being. It could also include attending the child's important social events, including birthday parties, school plays and religious functions.

Prenups can provide a sense of security to married couples

Georgia residents who are planning on getting married might consider adding a prenup to their list of things to do before the wedding. While the common misconception is that prenups are for rich people only, the reality is that these documents can work for all types of couples and provide a sense of security.

Prenups, which are drafted and signed before a marriage takes place, list all the properties and assets of each prospective spouse. Furthermore, prenups indicate how these assets will be dealt with or divided if the couple is separated by divorce or widowhood. They are a tool for preventing misunderstandings and conflicts later on. For prenups to be successful, both spouses need to participate in the drafting process. Once the prenup is drafted, the prospective spouses should each show their lawyers the draft for review to make sure the prenup is legal and fair.

Divorce and college

One of the ramifications of a divorce is the negative impact it can have on one's finances. For Georgia parents who want to send their children to college, this can be a concern. However, there are certain ways they can plan effectively.

The first step to take is to look at their situation realistically. Dividing a household into two means that the income will also be divided, which can affect how much a parent can contribute to college savings. Certain expenses, including spousal support and child support, will have to be prioritized over spending for college.

Why wealthy families may want to encourage prenups

Parents in some wealthy Georgia families might want their children to draw up prenuptial agreements when they marry. However, children may not always agree with this action. Therefore, it is best if people have this conversation with their children when they are young adults and even teenagers.

Introducing the idea of a prenup long before a future spouse is in the picture makes the prenup about preserving family wealth and not about the particular person. It also gives children the opportunity to learn more about the family wealth. Disclosure is one stage of creating a prenup, and in families where the issue has not been discussed previously, this could be the first time that a child learns about the full extent of the family wealth.

5 signs your spouse is trying to hide divorce assets

Divorcing your spouse is a painful and frustrating situation that can seem to drag on for a lifetime. It is especially difficult if there are several high value assets like homes, vehicles or cash between the two of you which need to be divided. It's not uncommon for people to try to hide assets during a divorce, thereby keeping more for themselves when everything is said and done.

This is a completely illegal practice. Nonetheless, it happens frequently, and is especially common when one person handles most or all the family finance.

The benefits of establishing paternity

Some Georgia parents who are no longer together or who are not married may decide to deal with custody issues themselves. However, there are many benefits for both the child and the parents to have the father legally establish paternity.

Establishing paternity ensures that the child will have the right to child support. The custodial parent can use the monthly child support to assist with the costs of education, food, shelter and extra activities. Establishing paternity also gives the child a legal right to death benefits, which could include any inheritance, Social Security or veteran's benefits. The child will also have access to his or her family's medical history. The father benefits from establishing paternity by being able to exercise the right to visitation or the ability to seek custody.

The advantages and disadvantages of joint legal custody

Divorcing parents in Georgia and around the country usually want what is best for their children even when they agree on little else. Their discussions generally focus on negotiating physical custody and arranging visitation schedules, but parents may sometimes have joint legal custody of their children even when they spend very little time with them. Parents with joint legal custody are authorized to make important decisions about matters such as education, health care and religion, but there are disadvantages to this type of arrangement.

Joint legal custody may not be an appropriate solution for parents who had especially acrimonious relationships because cooperation and empathy are crucial if children are to fare well in these situations. Consulting with each other before making major child care decisions may also be impractical when divorced parents live in different parts of the country or have disparate work schedules. However, the biggest drawback of joint legal custody is that it gives rise to situations where one parent can seek to manipulate the other by taking a contrary position to gain leverage.

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