Name Change Via Marriage License: Georgia DMV Says “No” to Same-Sex Couples

Same sex couples are running into problems in states such as Georgia that do not recognize same-sex marriage.  Couples are finding that they can’t even get their name change with their marriage license from another state through Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles. Same-sex advocates are finding this occurring throughout the southern part of the country. Advocates say that the federal government is attempting to makes the transition for same-sex couple smooth but that the state government is not.

Name changes can take place through the court system but will cost hundreds of dollars to finalize.  Many same-sex couples refuse to pay this amount for something that hetrosexual couples get for free. Advocates are attempting to get states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage to make what they consider a small step in the right direction without same-sex marriage being legal in the state. Advocates of same-sex marriage believe that state agencies have the power to interpret its policies to allow a name change in a state where same-sex marriage is not legal.  

Attorney Tiffany Lunn believes that Georgia should expect increased litigation on the issue in months and years to come. Advocates are determined to obtain certain rights and the courts will likely have to rule one way or the other.  Advocates do not think it’s as clear as same-sex marriage is not legal under Georgia law.  Stay tuned to see how these matters develop. You can read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/17/same-sex-couple-name-change_n_4111173.html.  If you need assistance with Domestic Partnership Agreements or other documents that can assist same-sex couples in Georgia, feel free to contact Attorney Tiffany Lunn for legal assistance.

Published in: on October 20, 2013 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Congress urges Supreme Court to overturn DOMA

The United States Supreme Court is to consider whether to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, this legally forbids the federal recognition of same-sex marriage.  Under DOMA, gay and lesbian couples would not receive the same benefits of heterosexual couples such as tax and Social Security benefits. Of those congressmen and senators urging the Supreme Court to overturn DOMA, there are only two representatives from the state of Georgia. President Bill Clinton, who signed DOMA into law, has requested that the United States Supreme Court overturn it.

Arguments will be heard by the United States Supreme Court on March 27, 2013. A decision is not likely until June 2013. The outcome will affect domestic relations law throughout the country and the lives of many Americans.  Read the articles below to find out more about this important issue.

DOMA Challenges

Congress Urges Overturn of DOMA

Post written by Tiffany Lunn, Esq

Phone: 770-492-2974

Published in: on March 13, 2013 at 9:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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Divorcing After Fifty: On the Rise Nationally

More people over the age of fifty (50) are divorcing for a number of reasons.  These reasons vary from couple to couple. One reason seems to be that people are living longer thereby giving them more time to decide to chart another course for their lives.  A second reason seems to be because the stigma of divorce has greatly diminished in recent years.  Because the stigma has diminished, it was caused fewer people to be intimidated into remaining in a bad or unsatisfied marriage. A third reason people over the age of fifty (50) are divorcing is that in general, the financial reasons for remaining married becomes less important as people grow older.  In general, those over the age of fifty (50) are in a better position to move forward financially without a partner than younger individuals.  Tiffany R. Lunn Esq has found in her own practice that she is encountering more people above the age of fifty that are divorcing or interested in divorcing. You can find out more about divorcing over the age of 50 by reading this article in the Chicago Tribune:

Chicago Tribune: Divorcing Over 50

Published in: on March 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Do I Need A Lawyer To Get A Divorce In Georgia

Lunn Law LLC and Attorney Tiffany Lunn frequently gets this question: Do I need a lawyer to get a divorce?  The audio listed below from Georgia Legal Aid best answers that question.

Audio

Published in: on February 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm  Comments Off  
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Required Divorcing Parent’s Seminar in Metro-Atlanta

We encounter prospective clients on a regular basis that are not aware of the mandatory Divorcing Parent’s Seminar in Georgia. The mandatory seminar does not include all Metro-Atlanta counties, however, it does involve most.  Divorcing parents should be aware of  this requirement, but we have found that many pro-se litigants are not.  Divorcing parents that are not aware of this requirement have their case delayed until the seminar is completed. The registration fee for the seminar averages approximately $30.00 per person, usually payable by cash, cashier’s check or money order. A parent qualifying as indigent may have their fee waived.

Beware that pre-registration a certain number of days before attending the seminar is usually strictly enforced. The seminar is generally 4 hours in duration and an applicable schedule is available for each county. Scheduling should be confirmed with the Seminar’s Director’s office to make sure no changes have been made to the seminar schedule.  If the location of the seminar is a concern, attendance at other equivalent seminars in other states or counties may be allowed at the discretion of the judge.

We handle cases in Clayton, Henry, Fayette, Cobb, Gwinnett, Fulton, Dekalb, Spalding and Griffin. You can find the required information for Clayton, Cobb, Gwinnett, Fulton, and Dekalb below. Henry, Fayette,  Spalding and Griffin counties do not have a seminar requirement.

Clayton County Seminar

Cobb County Seminar

Gwinnett County Seminar

Fulton County Seminar

Dekalb County Seminar

Tiffany R. Lunn, Esq and Lunn Law LLC assist with family law matters in the Metro-Atlanta area. Make sure you are completing all of your obligations to finalize your divorce.  If you are not sure what all your obligations are to divorce, speak with an experienced divorce attorney to obtain the correct information.

Published in: on November 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm  Comments Off  
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The Importance of Journaling

Whether we are referring to divorce, child custody, contempt or another type of dispute that may end up in court, the importance of journaling important events as they happen can not be understated.  If you have not been journaling important events as they have taken place in your marriage,while co-parenting, or of other contentious situations then you should do so immediately.  It can help you in court and also assist your attorney with preparing the strongest possible case for you.

Post written by: Attorney Tiffany R. Lunn

Phone: 770-492-2974

Published in: on April 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm  Comments Off  
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Divorce: Equitable Doesn’t Mean Equal

Some divorcing spouses believe that because Georgia is an “equitable division” state for divorce that each spouse will split martial assets 50/50%.  However, that is not case.  Equitable means “fair” and the court in Georgia divorce cases will decide what is fair by the facts and circumstances of each particular case.  Georgia differs from such states as California, which takes a “community property” view.  Such stars as Kobe Bryant and Katy Perry are currently going through divorce in California.

Read these articles to see the difference and consider whether having a pre-nup is a good idea regardless of what state you’re residing in:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/01/russell-brand-might-get-20-million-in-divorce-from-katy-perry/

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/12/kobe-bryant-divorce-prenup-could-have-saved-half-his-fortune-expert-says.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31749_162-57328593-10391698/demi-moore-to-fight-for-ashton-kutchers-fortune-in-divorce/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_divorces

Post written by: Attorney Tiffany R. Lunn

Phone: 770-492-2974

Published in: on January 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm  Comments Off  
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Actions NOT To Take During Your Divorce

As most know, divorcing can be a very stressful and cumbersome experience.  However, there are actions and steps that can and should be taken to make the process easier (See our blog post: Divorce Tips) and there are actions that should be avoided so as to not make a stressful situation worse.

Actions that should be avoided by any divorcing person are:

1) Being Dishonest In Court:  You should tell the truth.  When testifying, credibility is of the utmost importance.  If your credibility is thrown into question, your case can go downhill fast. Let your attorney know of any issues or events that you are “hoping” won’t come up.

2) Being Dishonest or Evasive With Your Attorney: Your attorney can not assist you with something that he or she is not aware of.  You should be honest with any issue or event that could have an impact on your divorce.  It could be very determinative of how your cases is analyzed. All relevant facts are important.  Your attorney is not taking your case to judge you.  Your attorney is seeking to assist you in obtaining the best possible outcome for you and/or your children.

3)Making Bad Financial Decisions Based On Emotion: Poor decisions can be based on love, hostility, regret, sympathy, impatience, grief, fear and/or a number of other emotions.  However, decisions should be weighed carefully and you should talk over any concerns with your attorney. You should prepare and insist on being fully engaged in your divorce, even when you don’t feel like being.

4)Not Producing Documents or Answering Interrogatories (Questions) As Required: Your attorney can tell you if there are any exceptions that apply to your case, but generally you should produce financial documents and answer interrogatories, as requested.  It will make the process of divorce smoother and help you avoid additional fees and court costs that may be sought against you by the opposing party, if you do not comply.

5)Be Uncooperative with a Guardian Ad Litem or Other Court Expert (During Contested Divorce and Child Custody Cases): The expert is involved in your case to assist the Court in reaching a determination.  It is not in your best interest to appear uncooperative and make the expert’s duties more difficult to fulfill.

6)Failing to Analyze Your Case Before Settlement: It is often not wise to reach an agreement prior to fully analyzing all the facts and circumstances. That’s why settlement is at its best once each party has disclosed their financial circumstances and an analysis of the case can be  completed.  By not doing so, there is a greater degree of uncertainty, a higher chance that one of the parties will be seeking post-judgment relief quickly thereafter, and an increased chance of regretting one’s decision.

7 )Picking Your Attorney Solely Based On His/Her Fees: You should pick your attorney based on his/her experience, knowledge, your comfort level and ability to communicate with him/her , their relative attorney fees charged,  and their interest in your case.  Attorney fees charged should be merely one of many factors to be considered.

8 ) Taking Legal Advice From Friends and/or Family:  You must remember that just because someone gives you advice, especially legal advice, that does not mean it is correct.  The law varies based on the facts of each individual case and is not to be generalized to apply across the board.  You should listen to your attorney and ask questions as they arise.  If you would like to obtain independent legal advice (from another attorney) about a particular topic, you should do so.  However, it is wise to not talk about the specifics of your case with friends and family for a number of reasons.

9) Concealing and Transferring Property: Concealing or transferring property to avoid equitable division in a divorce is not a good idea.  The “unknowing” spouse may be awarded any property subject to such concealment and transfer.  The Court, your attorney, and spouse will all likely doubt your credibility.

10) Putting Kids In the Middle of The Divorce: Try to keep your children’s lives as normal as possible.  Do not speak negatively about the other parent to your children. Children are not meant to be therapists or counselors.  Let them be children and take their time adjusting to the change.

Post written by Tiffany R. Lunn Esq.

Phone: 770-492-2974

Published in: on July 12, 2011 at 7:27 pm  Comments Off  
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Georgia Guardian Ad Litems: Their Role In Contested Child Custody and Divorce Cases

A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is an attorney appointed by the Court to represent the best interests of the child/children in a contested child custody or divorce case.  A Guardian Ad Litem is not necessary in every such case.  An appointment usually occurs when one party makes serious allegations about the ability of the party to care for the child/children or when there is a disagreement on who will be the primary custodian.

It is the Guardian Ad Litem’s duty to conduct an investigation into the life of the child/children and provide a report and recommendation to the Court based on that investigation.  If a Guardian Ad Litem is appointed to your case, you should expect some or many of the following to occur: consultations independent of your attorney, home visits, consultations with your attorney, interviews with childcare providers, character witnesses, teachers, and his/her review of various records such as medical, school and/or visitation.

Sometimes, the parties may agree on a particular Guardian Ad Litem, but other times the parties do not get a choice in who the Court appoints. Regardless, you should be cooperative with the Guardian Ad Litem and treat him or her with professional courtesy.  The Guardian Ad Litem is there solely to make a determination of what is in the best interest of your child/children and once that is done, your case is one step closer to being concluded.

Post written by: Tiffany Lunn Esq.

Phone: 770-492-2974

Published in: on May 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm  Comments Off  
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Pre-Divorce and Divorce Tips

There are a number of tips that could and should be offered to those considering divorce.  This post is not intended to include all tips, but the following are useful to keep in mind as any divorcing person proceeds in the process to divorce.

1) Gather financial documentation;

2) Get a support system in place (if needed);

3) Have clear objectives in mind for your divorce outcome;

4) Understand that you can not share confidential matters about your divorce with others;

5) If you have children, do not share negative feelings or thoughts about the other parent with your children;

6) Prepare to be active in the divorce process;

7) Open your own bank account(s).  Joint accounts are often problematic;

8 ) If you have children, attempt to create the most stable environment possible;

9) Consider making changes to your Will, Heath Care Directive and/or other estate planning documents; and

10) Get legal representation.  There are various legal considerations and complexities to divorce and every case is different. A legal professional can assist you in this various serious matter for you and/or your children.

Post written by: Tiffany Lunn Esq.

Phone: 770-492-2974

Published in: on April 2, 2011 at 10:01 am  Comments Off  
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