If you’ve decided it’s time to dissolve your marriage, you need an attorney who can provide sound advice and strong representation. At Skinner Family Law, I work personally with you to develop a strategy for your divorce that can achieve your goals without excessive costs and unnecessary emotional strain. For more than 30 years, I’ve shared my insights with clients and offered straightforward counsel. Because I understand you must have questions about divorce in Georgia, I’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions here.
If you are going through a divorce, there’s no need to travel all the way to Atlanta for an attorney. It is best to retain an attorney in your local area. You can find trustworthy representation here in the heart of Georgia. There is no need to pay between $5,000 and $8,000 down for competent representation. Attorneys who charge those fees have a few employees working for them and large expensive office space. Margrett Skinner has 30 years of experience and has downsized her firm so that she does not have huge overhead and can charge more reasonable prices for the same work and personally perform all areas of the work. The most important thing to look for in an attorney is the number of years of experience and reputation. Call Skinner Family Law at 478-845-1058 or contact my Macon office online to schedule a consultation.
Georgia is an equitable distribution state, which means you can keep your separate property, and the court divides property and debt that belongs to your marital estate in a manner that is fair, but not necessarily equal.
Georgia does not recognize common-law marriage, but the state does recognize such marriages that occur in other states. So, if the couple was in a common-law marriage in a state such as Pennsylvania or Colorado that recognized it and then moved to Georgia, the couple would have to go through a formal divorce in Georgia to dissolve the relationship.
Nonparents do not have custody rights in Georgia. However, if the parents are deceased or found to be unfit and the state takes possession of their child, a court could give grandparents or siblings who have reached the age of majority priority in a custody determination.
Under certain circumstances, a grandparent has an enforceable right to visitation with a grandchild. Courts decide the question on the basis of whether denying visitation would harm the child’s health or welfare, and visitation is in the best interest of the child. A grandparent who has a prior relationship with the child and has provided a home and support for the child for at least six months has a strong case for visitation.
A court can rescind visitation rights at any time evidence is presented showing that visitation is not in the child’s best interest.
Under Georgia law, it is assumed that a parent’s frequent contact with his child is in the child’s best interest. A father has the right to file for custody or visitation, but also has the responsibility to provide support.
Parental alienation is a systematic campaign of one parent, usually the custodial parent, to undermine the child’s relationship with the other parent. A typical campaign of alienation provides the child with subtle or overt rewards for exhibiting negative behavior toward the other parent and punishes the child for expressions of approval. The psychological consequences for the child are controversial: although some mental health professionals claim the existence of a “parental alienation syndrome,” psychological literature has not recognized such a condition. Courts, however, do sanction parents for parental alienation, and some judges will rewrite custody orders as a means of dealing with the problem.