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.
The judge has signed the Final Judgement and Decree of Divorce and it has been entered into the court’s records. Now the parties have to decide what their next steps will be. There are a number of things to consider after a divorce and parties should have a plan in place on how they want to approach this new phase in their lives.
Firstly, the parties should make sure they obtain at least one certified copy of the Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce. A certified copy is often needed for any official business where proof of divorce is required so it isn’t not uncommon where more than one copy will be needed. The court oftentimes will provide the parties with one certified copy, but addition copies beyond the first are often a per page fee.
Secondly, read your Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce again so that you are sure to keep up with your obligations and be sure to read any post-divorce document that your attorney may provide to you as a resource. It is important that you keep up with obligations so that you are not facing legal action for contempt, placing your judgment as a parental figure in question or worsening your financial status.
Thirdly, if a child or children are involved, you should make sure that all the necessary child support documents have been received by the appropriate agencies and/or employers, if applicable. Additionally, divorced parents must find a way to co-parent in their newly defined roles as unmarried parents and attempt to make the relationship cordial enough that they can function in a healthy way as pertains to the child (ren) involved.
Fourthly, divorce persons may also want to re-evaluate their circle of friends and acquaintances and determine which ones are healthy and positive and which ones they may need to move away from. Oftentimes, divorced persons have a difficult time with how to correspond with mutual friends of their now ex-spouse.
Fifthly, divorced persons will attempt to make sure that they transfer all assets as dictated in the Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce as soon as possible. When transfers still need to take place it is better to try to get them completed right away so that there is complete finality in regards to joint financial obligations. Doing so will cause less complications.
Lastly, action should be taken to make sure that all important documents are updated. Such documents include Last Will and Testament, insurance policies, power of attorneys, banking accounts, credit accounts and emergency contact information on file with your employer or other agencies/businesses. See our article pertaining to Last Will and Testaments here.
Lunn Law LLC and Tiffany R. Lunn, Esq want you to be aware of the steps you should take after divorce. You should make every attempt to follow your Decree of Divorce strictly and speak to an experienced divorce and/or contempt attorney about the particulars of your circumstances if for some reason you are not able to fulfill your obligations.
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.
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.
In Georgia, fathers that are not married to the mother of their child when the child is born must legitimate the child to have any parental rights, unless the parties subsequently marry. Often when children are born, the parents still have a cooperative relationship that may later weaken or become hostile over sometime. Therefore, it is important that parents should give great consideration to administrative legitimation when the child is born.
If the parents do not subsequently marry, administrative legitimation is the only way to legitimate a child without court action. It must be completed before the child reaches the age of one (1) and is available at the hospital when the child is born. If you and the other parent are sure of the paternal relationship enough to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity and the father is parentally fit then consider Administrative Legitimation as well. It could save both parties time any money.
Lunn Law LLC and Attorney Tiffany R. Lunn, Esq want you to be aware of your legitimation rights and all possible choices you may have in proceeding with legitimation, child custody and/or visitation. You should speak to an experienced attorney about the particular of your case. Parents should make sure they fully know and understand what is being signed about the rights to their children. If there are any questions, you should consult the advice of an experienced paternity and legitimation attorney.
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
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:
Post written by: Attorney Tiffany R. Lunn
When a court order has been entered commanding certain actions by the parties, it is vital that each party follow such an Order. If one or both of the parties fails to follow the court’s order, he or she can be found in civil contempt. There is no distinction made based on whether the violation is of a jury’s verdict, judge’s decree or agreement of the parties incorporated into a final decree and judgment.
Civil contempt requires a finding of a “willful” refusal to comply with a court’s order. Civil contempt is commenced for an alleged violator to be compelled to obey a court’s order. A contempt action is not a new civil action and merely requires reasonable notice of hearing.
Civil contempt in family law cases have been found in numerous circumstances. A few instances where civil contempt has been alleged are:
1) Failure to pay child support and/or alimony;
2) Failure to sign documents necessary to facilitate the transfer of property;
3) Failure to continue to provide a child with healthcare benefits;
4) Failure to pay attorney fees;
5) Failure to surrender property or allow access to property;
6) Failure to follow child custody and/or visitation orders.
If a party is found in contempt, the judge will decide how the violator can “purge” or relieve him/herself of sanction for violating the court’s order. Sanctions can include, but are not exclusive to, payment of all monies due, unconditional fine and/or imprisonment for a definite period of time.
If a party faces a Motion For Contempt, he/she should discuss their matter with a family law attorney. Particular facts and circumstances may render an alleged violator with a defense.
Post written by: Tiffany R. Lunn Esq
Habeas Corpus, as it relates to child custody, is when one person (usually a parent) claims custody rights of a child and is seeking to claim physical custody of such child that is being allegedly detained illegally by another person (usually the other parent or a person desiring a change of custody rights).
In Georgia, the person bringing a habeas corpus action before the Court must have had their custody rights violated, but such an action is not exclusive to a parent of the child. If detention of the child is not in violation of the person’s rights bringing such an action, then habeas corpus in not the appropriate remedy.
There is usually more than one option available to a person considering a writ of habeas corpus. Speaking with a Georgia attorney that handles child custody matters about the specific facts would greatly assist in determining the best course of action.
Post written by: Attorney Tiffany Lunn
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.