Life After Divorce

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.

Published in: on November 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm  Comments Off  
Tags: , , , , ,

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  
Tags: , , , , ,

Georgia Child Custody and Habeas Corpus

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

Phone: 770-492-2974

Published in: on July 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm  Comments Off  
Tags: , , , ,

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  
Tags: , , , ,

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  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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  
Tags: , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 83 other followers