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Augusta Family Law Blog

Accusations of domestic violence: how to recognize violence

When someone is in an abusive relationship, he or she may not even realize it. Similarly, families whose loved ones are being hurt by a partner may not know precisely how domestic violence is defined. Accusations of domestic violence here in Georgia are serious and need to be handled with care and regard for everyone involved, particularly the person who is subject to the abuse or children who may witness it. Knowing what it is and how to recognize it may be the first step to getting someone the help he or she needs.

Domestic violence involves abusive or violent behavior on the part of one family member or person in a home directed at another. It can include child abuse and involves any type of partnership, such as a married couple, cohabiting partners or even people who are only defined as dating. The abuse can be physical, psychological, sexual, emotional or even economic, if one partner is manipulating finances to make the other person reliant on them.

Support modifications may help Georgia parents keep license

When parents who do not live together have to make choices on how they will care for their children, it often involves child support payments. Typically, the primary caregiver receives payment from the noncustodial parent. Most of these parents want nothing but the best care for their children, but some of them may struggle to make their payments and might require support modifications that make it easier for them to do the right thing for their kids. Some parents deliberately do not make timely, court-ordered support payments, and until recently, the main recourse was incarceration, typically preventing the parent from having any ability to pay and negatively affecting the care the child may need. Now, those parents may risk losing their driver's licenses.

The State Department of Human Services has partnered with the Georgia Department of Driver Services in an effort to get people to pay their overdue child support. The two organizations now have the technology to connect their databases and can determine who is behind on their payments. They have the potential to suspend the driver's licenses of those parents who are not up to date on their child support.

Understanding divorce and family law

Family law is often thought to only include issues that Augusta, Georgia, residents would face in divorce proceedings. Individuals seeking help with adoption or surrogacy agreements, for example, may find that the matters that concern them the most are just some of the areas covered under family law. However, the most common matter involving family law surrounds divorce, which can include anything from property division to child custody.

The process of obtaining a divorce is likely to be different for each couple. There are two types of divorces that couples face when they decide to end their union. An uncontested divorce will reportedly take less time to finalize than a contested divorce because couples seeking an uncontested divorce have come to an agreement on their issues. Contested divorces take longer because the parties may have unresolved issues such as child custody disputes or property division conflicts. Between the two types, uncontested divorces are reportedly less expensive than contested divorces.

Support modifications may help unemployed Georgia parents

When one Georgia parent is making child support payments to the other, they generally know that it is for the benefit of the child. If they fall behind on these payments, not only do they jeopardize the care that is given to that child, but they could wind up in jail. It is possible that a court could order support modifications before it gets that far. One state has recently created a program to help parents find employment when they are struggling to make their child support payments. The hope is that doing so will ultimately help the child in the long run and keep the parent active in the child’s life.

A judge designed the program after she saw that many of the parents who were unable to make payments did so not because they didn’t care for their children, but because they were unemployed and lacked the means to change their situation. The program is undergoing a trial period where 15 noncustodial parents will have the opportunity to receive job training and education that might be helpful in their job search. One woman who is part of the new program has tried to no avail to find employment and is optimistic about her job prospects once she completes the training.

Georgia football player facing accusations of domestic violence

Those who are in an abusive relationship may feel as though there is no way out of their situation. The abuse can cause them to feel very isolated and they might even feel they did something to deserve the bad treatment. However, this is not the case as there are many organizations that can help victims of domestic violence and there are steps that can be taken to get a person out of such a situation. Accusations of domestic violence are taken very seriously, as many people here are seeing in the recent case of a University of Georgia football player who has been accused of abusing his girlfriend.

The player was arrested recently after a person outside of the relationship told local police that the player had assaulted his girlfriend. Officers spoke to the victim and the person who made the initial report and was told that the couple had a disagreement that became violent. Police arrested the football player on charges of aggravated assault and domestic violence.

Family fights to bring home their son after his adoption

Families here in Georgia come in many varieties, but they share a commonality in the care and love they have for one another. Many of these families are created through the gift of adoption. Though it is a positive event, it is not always an easy process to complete. The story of one out-of-state family highlights just how difficult the process can be, though they remain hopeful that their happy ending is just around the corner.

The story began when a couple who already had two biological children made the decision to adopt a child from overseas. Last year, the boy legally became their child, and he was placed in a foster home until it was time for him to come to the United States with his new family. The family has taken financial responsibility for him and filed all necessary paperwork and paid the required fees, but the boy’s home country stopped adoptions by refusing to issue exit visas for children adopted by families in our country.

Parents negotiating child custody need to think of their children

Families undergoing a divorce have many hurdles that they must figure out how to overcome. The process of determining child custody can certainly benefit from the input of children who are old enough to give their opinion. However, there are certain times when involving children in the divorce process is less than ideal. Georgia families may want to keep the following tips in mind when dealing with divorce and their children.

Though it can be tempting, if one spouse needs to communicate with the other, they should not do so through the children. Similarly, expecting a child to "choose" one parent over another or telling the child negative information about the other parent will only be hurtful to the child and cause resentment. Whenever possible, both parents should be able to be involved in the lives of their children without interference from the other parent and with both parents attempting to get along. This is assuming that one parent was not abusive or dealing with a substance abuse problem.

Navigating child custody agreements for Georgia families

Georgia parents may not live in the same household for many reasons besides divorce. Those parents may need a legally binding child custody agreement between the two of them to ensure that the children are properly cared for. The agreement reached is based on many different factors, and it is important for parents to understand the exact provisions.

Assuming that one parent is not absent for reasons such as abuse or a surrender of his or her full rights, a family court takes under consideration what exactly is in the child's best interests to determine custody. They will examine the current life of the children, including whom they are living with at the time the case is filed. Physical custody relates to which parent -- one or both -- has the children living with them. If it is solely one parent or primarily one parent, that person is called the "custodial parent." Legal custody refers to which parent -- again, one or both -- can make decisions regarding the future of the children.

Soccer star Hope Solo faces accusations of domestic violence

When incidents of domestic violence are reported in the media, the image that often comes to mind for many Georgia residents is that of an abusive husband or father. However, this portrait is not always accurate. Domestic violence can happen in any variation of a family dynamic and involve people of either gender. Hope Solo, a goalkeeper for the Olympic U.S soccer team, has recently had accusations of domestic violence leveled against her, demonstrating that these kinds of incidents can involve anyone.

The situation is said to have occurred recently when police allege that Solo attacked her sister and nephew. Officers say they responded to a 911 call and arrived at the residence, where they found Solo's sister and nephew injured. Upon investigation, police decided that Solo had instigated the alleged violence. They also claim that she seemed intoxicated, but there were no reports of any sobriety tests being conducted.

Navy father may lose his daughter in military child custody case

Military service members are often asked to make sacrifices in the name of their duty to the country. This often means leaving family members behind for months at a time while they do their jobs. One father in this situation is in jeopardy of losing custody of his daughter because he cannot attend a custody hearing, due to being stationed overseas. Military child custody can be difficult to manage, and Georgia military families may find themselves with a similar dilemma.

The couple at the center of this case were married several years ago and have a daughter. After their divorce, though the mother had custody of the girl initially, the father -- a Navy soldier -- was granted full custody after the mother and her boyfriend were accused of child abuse and neglect. Last year, the mother filed for custody in her home state, resulting in a judge requesting that the father be present in court during the time in which he is stationed overseas. The hearing went on with him unable to be present, and the judge’s decision is still pending.