Child Abuse and Neglect in Georgia

Child abuse and neglect can lead to the termination of parental rights, change of custody and/or criminal charges.  If you have knowledge of the abuse or neglect of a minor child, you should report this behavior immediately.

You can contact DFCS directly at:

Child Protective Services
404-651-9361 (phone)
404-657-4483 (fax)
General information: 404-657-3400

Post written by: Attorney Tiffany Lunn

Child Custody: Parent vs. Non-parent/Third Party

Georgia law designates non-parents/third parties into two (2) groups:  Specified party and Non-specified party.  A specified party includes: a grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, uncle, great-aunt, great-uncle, sibling or adoptive parent. A non-specified party includes all others.  The importance of these designations in Georgia Child Custody law is based on the difference in legal burden that the court requires by the non-parent via evidence to obtain custody of a minor child when opposed by the child’s parent.

A specified party, listed above, is required to show the court by clear and  convincing evidence that 1) parental custody would harm the child (in order to rebut the presumption in favor of the parent), and 2) the award to the specified party will best promote the child’s best interests.

In contrast, the legal burden of a non-specified party is based upon whether the child custody hearing is an initial determination of custody or a modification.  In an initial custody determination, between a parent and non-specified party, the parent is entitled to custody  unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that 1) such parent is unfit or 2) has lost the right to custody under provisions provided by Georgia law.

In a modification action, where a non-parent has been awarded custody in a subsequent modification proceeding, the parent must show 1) a change of condition affecting the welfare of the child and 2) that awarding the parent custody would be in the child’s best interest.

Post written by: Tiffany Lunn Esq

Phone: 770-492-2974

Published in: on January 14, 2011 at 2:40 pm  Comments Off  
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Post-Judgment Relief From Unfavorable Ruling

When a default judgment has been obtained or there has been a court ruling that has been unfavorable to a litigant, time is of the essence.  A litigant should begin right away to seek to attack the judgment or appeal to a higher court.  These actions should not be contemplated for months, because at that point a litigant’s options are likely to be narrowed or more limited.

Many times a litigant can attempt to challenge a previous ruling upon good grounds, but has allowed significant time to pass before taking any action.  When this is the case,  the litigant may have to live with the current ruling or file a new case, when applicable.  Attacking a ruling can be complicated and require a good grasp on the law and also post-judgment procedures.  Litigants should attempt to seek legal assistance right away to increase the likelihood that any attack or appeal will be successful.

Post written by: Attorney Tiffany Lunn

Phone: 770-492-2974

Published in: on January 7, 2011 at 11:30 am  Comments Off  
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