Attorney Tiffany Lunn of Lunn Law LLC Answers: What’s An Example of Grandparent’s Obtaining Visitation Rights In Georgia

Attorney Tiffany Lunn read Georgia Supreme Court ruling Vincent v. Vincent  (A15A1244) handed down in September of 2015 that demonstrates the different standards that should be used for ascertaining if Grandparent’s Rights should be awarded. In Vincent,  the parental grandparents petitioned the court for grandparents’ rights because their son (the biological  and legal father) was incarcerated and they wanted access and visitation time with their grandchildren.. Georgia law  on grandparent’s rights is s driven by O.C.G.A §  19-7-3.

O.C.G.A § 19-7-3 reads as follows in its respective parts: “(a) As used in this Code section, the term “grandparent” means the parent of a parent of a minor child, the parent of a minor child’s parent who has died, and the parent of a minor child’s parent whose parental rights have been terminated.

(b) (1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, any grandparent shall have the right to file an original action for visitation rights to a minor child or to intervene in and seek to obtain visitation rights in any action in which any court in this state shall have before it any question concerning the custody of a minor child, a divorce of the parents or a parent of such minor child, a termination of the parental rights of either parent of such minor child, or visitation rights concerning such minor child or whenever there has been an adoption in which the adopted child has been adopted by the child’s blood relative or by a stepparent, notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 19-8-19.

(2) This subsection shall not authorize an original action where the parents of the minor child are not separated and the child is living with both parents.

(c) (1) Upon the filing of an original action or upon intervention in an existing proceeding under subsection (b) of this Code section, the court may grant any grandparent of the child reasonable visitation rights if the court finds the health or welfare of the child would be harmed unless such visitation is granted and if the best interests of the child would be served by such visitation. In considering whether the health or welfare of the child would be harmed without such visitation, the court shall consider and may find that harm to the child is reasonably likely to result where, prior to the original action or intervention:

(A) The minor child resided with the grandparent for six months or more;

(B) The grandparent provided financial support for the basic needs of the child for at least one year;

(C) There was an established pattern of regular visitation or child care by the grandparent with the child; or

(D) Any other circumstance exists indicating that emotional or physical harm would be reasonably likely to result if such visitation is not granted.

The court shall make specific written findings of fact in support of its rulings.

(2) An original action requesting visitation rights shall not be filed by any grandparent more than once during any two-year period and shall not be filed during any year in which another custody action has been filed concerning the child. After visitation rights have been granted to any grandparent, the legal custodian, guardian of the person, or parent of the child may petition the court for revocation or amendment of such visitation rights, for good cause shown, which the court, in its discretion, may grant or deny; but such a petition shall not be filed more than once in any two-year period.

(3) While a parent’s decision regarding grandparent visitation shall be given deference by the court, the parent’s decision shall not be conclusive when failure to provide grandparent contact would result in emotional harm to the child. A court may presume that a child who is denied any contact with his or her grandparent or who is not provided some minimal opportunity for contact with his or her grandparent may suffer emotional injury that is harmful to such child’s health. Such presumption shall be a rebuttable presumption.

(4) In no case shall the granting of visitation rights to a grandparent interfere with a child’s school or regularly scheduled extracurricular activities. Visitation time awarded to a grandparent shall not be less than 24 hours in any one-month period.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section, if one of the parents of a minor child dies, is incapacitated, or is incarcerated, the court may award the parent of the deceased, incapacitated, or incarcerated parent of such minor child reasonable visitation to such child during his or her minority if the court in its discretion finds that such visitation would be in the best interests of the child. The custodial parent’s judgment as to the best interests of the child regarding visitation shall be given deference by the court but shall not be conclusive.

In Vincent, the Georgia Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Georgia found that the trial court had rendered its decision in error by relying solely on subsection (c) of O.C.G.A § 19-7-3 that grants visitation only upon the showing that the health or welfare of the child would be harmed unless visitation is granted and if the best interest of the child would be served by visitation. The higher courts found this was the wrong standard to be used based on the facts and circumstances of this particular case.

The trial court should have relied on subsection (d) of  O.C.G.A § 19-7-3 because the petitioners’ son was incarcerated.  In this case, the court may award reasonable visitation to the grandparents if the court finds that such visitation is in the best interest of the child. You can read the complete opinion here.




Fayette County Office Location

Fayetteville Office


Lunn Law LLC and Attorney Tiffany Lunn have opened a satellite office location at 110 Habersham Drive Fayetteville Ga 30214.  Lunn Law LLC’s Fayette County location was opened to better assist those south of the main office in Jonesboro, GA. Lunn Law LLC will still maintain its central pub office in Jonesboro, GA (Clayton County) and Attorney Tiffany Lunn will be serving the Fayetteville,GA location as well.  If you would like to contact Lunn Law LLC, you should call 770-492-2974.

The main website for Lunn Law LLC and Attorney Tiffany Lunn can be found at

Published in: on February 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm  Comments Off on Fayette County Office Location  
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New Divorce Law Could Be Coming To Georgia

Georgia is one of the United States’ leading divorce states.  Couples in Georgia is steadily divorcing. The Georgia House of Representatives is seeking to make obtaining a divorce in Georgia a bit lengthier, in an attempt to discourage divorce.  Georgia legislatures seem to be following other states around the nation, such as North Carolina, in making a legislative attempt to discourage divorce.  For example, North Carolina has a one year waiting period for divorcing couples that may be extended to two years in the coming years.  The proposed new law in Georgia would be a big change from how Georgia divorces are granted today and from years passed.  Attorney Tiffany R. Lunn suggests that you read more about the proposed changes in the article:  Is  the Way We Divorce In America About To Change? Citizens should be encouraged to weigh in with their state representatives with their views on the issue.

Published in: on May 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Georgia ranks 10th in Domestic Violence Homicides for 2012

Domestic Violence is sometimes linked to family law cases including but not exclusive to divorce, legitimation, and child custody. The Georgia Commission of Family Violence and the Coalition Against Domestic Violence released its 2012 domestic violence homicide report.  Attorney Tiffany Lunn believes the report is an effort to address the problem of domestic violence homicide and to analyze ways to decrease such homicides in the future. The report is a call to action so that the public recognizes the domestic violence is a huge issue in Georgia and in this country. You can find out more information here and on the Fatality Review website.

Published in: on April 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Lunn Law LLC: Relative Adoption

Lunn Law LLC has been handling Step-Parent Adoption for some time.   Step-Parent Adoption is when the spouse of a parent wishes to adopt the child of his or her spouse. Lunn Law LLC have recently decided to start handling relative adoption as well.  Relative Adoption includes grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins etc. as long as all of the other statutory requirements are met.

Lunn Law LLC is excited about expanding its practice in regards to adoption. Lunn Law LLC has found that representing those that want to adopt can be a rewarding area of law because it can change the course of a child’s life. Relative Adoption is becoming much more common in the United States and therefore the need to provide legal counsel is also increasing.  With adoption being a very emotional process, the requirement for all the legal formalities to be followed is crucial.

Read more about Relative Adoption here:

Relative Adoption

Adoption Process and Questions

Relatives Raising Children

Published in: on March 26, 2013 at 7:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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 on Life After Divorce  
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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 on Required Divorcing Parent’s Seminar in Metro-Atlanta  
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Contempt In Family Law Cases

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

Phone: 770-492-2974

Published in: on September 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm  Comments Off on Contempt In Family Law Cases  
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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 on Georgia Child Custody and Habeas Corpus  
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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 on Actions NOT To Take During Your Divorce  
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