If you are scheduled to have a child custody hearing, Georgia government sites recommend that your first step in protecting your rights prior to attending a child custody hearing should be (we’re not making this up) – – hire a Georgia attorney.
Here are the basics of what you can expect to happen.
First, the hearing usually benefits from those who are able to agree in advance on some of the basic tenets of the child’s custody. For example, it helps if you already know which parent will be the custodial parent – – or if the custody will be shared. Who will be responsible for transporting or exchanging the child to the other parent for a visit, where and how often does that happen? What are the arrangements for holidays or non-school days?
And if you can’t agree? The judge may ask each parent to submit a plan for proposed parenting. After review of the proposals, the judge will then decide the details of the custody terms. Topics the judge will consider include but are not limited to: love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child as well as the child’s bond with siblings; the parent’s ability to provide basic care, safety, and involvement in the child’s life, the stability of the home environment as well as the parent’s stability, and mental or physical limitations of a parent. We will assist you in developing your presentation of information.
If one parent receives full custody, the other parent no longer has any legal voice on behalf of the child. A non-custodial parent might receive visitation rights from the court and may have responsibility for financial involvement, but has no presumed priority in the religious or medical or educational aspects of the child’s life.
With joint custody, both parents might be entitled to not only legal custody but physical custody as well. Both parents might have input into decisions about the child’s education or religious training. Both parents might be involved in medical decisions and provide financially to whatever degree they’ve agreed in court. And with joint custody there is usually a presumption of the right to visitation time (excepting limiting factors) with the child regardless of which parent might be the primary care giver.
Expect the judge in a Georgia child custody hearing to look after the interests of the child(ren) foremost. They will determine details such as how a non-custodial parent will contact the child when the child is in the other parent’s physical custody. The wellbeing of the child is even a greater priority than the wellbeing of either parent in this matter. Only material changes in the family structure are possible reasons to change the initial custody granted by the court, so it’s important to get it right the first time. An attorney is experienced in diffusing possible differences in parental priorities to arrive at a satisfactory agreement while protecting your rights.
A temporary protective restraining order may be sought from our Georgia courts by a party who is afraid for their own safety. The terms of the protective order will stipulate when, how, or if one party may have any contact with the other party.
That may sound clear cut, but it’s not always that way. Often the parties have had some kind of ongoing relationship. Thus someone who’s in a relationship with you is a more common source for the need for protection than other situations (such as the unknown stalkers which you may see in the media).
But what happens if you’re the party who has been prohibited from contacting the other side…. and instead the protected party reaches out to initiate contact with you? Who will get in trouble for that?
You might be surprised that the protected party may not be in trouble in Georgia for contacting the other side. There’s no specific law against it at this time.
However, if the party who has been ordered to refrain from contact should happen to reciprocate or accept the contact initiated by the protected party, they can face serious consequences. Judges eye an excuse of “hey, he/she contacted me first” with the same disdain that they view a defense such as “but I was too drunk to know what I was doing”. It just won’t work.
Instead, if the contact from the protected party is reciprocated by the person with the order against contact, the person who reciprocates is subject to facing felony charges of stalking or worse if the judge is contacted.
We all know that relationships and situations can change. Sometimes the original protective order doesn’t fit the current set of circumstances. That’s another time when you benefit from our attorney advice and action. Perhaps we can work with the courts to amend the original order to meet the current needs. There are legal solutions and we have the answers to protecting your legal rights. Let us help.continue reading
Divorce is an area of family law where legal knowledge and experience, as well as emotional maturity, can make an enormous difference in the outcome of your case.
Clients should demand an attorney who is discreet, professional, and sensitive to their emotional needs, but also who is willing to be frank with the client about the strengths and weaknesses of their case. You want a sympathetic attorney, but not a “yes” man. Attorney compassion may not be what reminds you of lawyer jokes, but compassion is a major ingredient in performing our legal duties with excellence.
The emotions related to a divorce eventually fade, but the consequences remain for years, if not decades. It is expected that the client is going to be emotionally upset during a divorce, but it is my job as your Georgia attorney, to calm and channel those emotions in a constructive way.
Working with you during this process, both in the courtroom and at the settlement table, I provide you with the benefit of my experience and knowledge so that together we can fight for your rights.
Of all the questions we get, likely the most common question for a Georgia attorney – – regardless of the situation, is: “What are my rights?”
It’s a great question, and the answer is something that you might not be able to find without consulting legal help. Most of us lead fairly complicated lives, and it’s important to consider all of the ramifications of each legal step so that you are protected not only now, but in the future too.
Your rights are our job. You hire a lawyer to be on your side and we take that commitment very seriously, to assure that you have every advantage afforded by the law. Please see individual topics for rights pertaining to issues such as divorce, bankruptcy, adoption, DFCS representation, and others.continue reading