Jump to Navigation

Augusta Family Law Blog

Domestic abuse goes beyond physical altercations

In Georgia and other states, domestic violence can be broadly defined as any conflict that goes beyond typical relationship issues. It may take the form of emotional abuse, such as verbal threats, physical abuse, such as hitting or causing other bodily harm, or sexual abuse, such as unwanted touching or intercourse. Often, abusers will use a mixture of these types of abuse.

Signs of domestic violence or abuse typically manifest themselves after a relationship begins. Generally, an abuser comes across as charming or personable in public. However, this person may be abusive in private and take steps to isolate their partner from their friends and family.

What is the difference between a closed or an open adoption?

There are many ways to have a family in our modern world. One way is through adoption, which can be a way to offer a child in need with a loving home. There are two types of adoption -- closed and open. Georgia families that are considering adopting may have questions about both types and just what the advantages and disadvantages of both types can be.

Closed adoptions were, at one time, the prevalent form used in this country. They are still utilized at times and are typical for international adoptions. The adoptive parents may or may not know the biological parents of their child, and related documentation is sealed, physically. The two parties have no contact once the adoption is finalized, and, in some cases, the child is not told he or she is adopted. Contrast that with open adoption, where biological parents are often active in selecting adoptive parents, meet them beforehand and frequently stay in contact after the adoption is finalized.

Paternity rights for Georgia fathers involves legitimation

When parents in Georgia are not married and a custody case hangs in the balance, women are often given preference for raising children over the fathers. There are also cases where a man is uncertain as to whether he is the father of a particular child. In either situation, the determination of paternity will have an impact on a child custody case. Legitimation is the way for fathers to legally declare their parental rights to their children.

A man who has fathered a child with a woman he isn’t in a relationship with may wish to have custody of his child for many reasons. In the state of Georgia, legitimation offers fathers the chance to raise their children, either by granting them visitation or custody. Being listed as the father on the baby’s birth certificate isn’t enough -- legitimation must be completed. Here at Debra Bryan LLC, our team has helped numerous people through this process, and our experience can make the process as efficient as possible.

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.