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Augusta GA Family Law Blog

Adoption in Georgia just got easier

Adopting a child can be the beginning of a wonderful new life for the child and his or her new family. The Georgia legislature just passed a bill that should make adopting a child in Georgia easier. Until now, there were so many barriers to adoption that many couples went out of state to adopt. With the simplification of the law, that may no longer be an issue.

There are many changes and improvements in the new law. The wait times have been reduced, and expecting mothers in private adoptions can be reimbursed for their expenses. Furthermore, middlemen who profited in the past from arranging adoptions have been banned. In the event that a couple does want to adopt out of state, that process has been simplified.

Divorce, alimony and the new tax law in Georgia

Divorce is not easy and is seldom entered into lightly. There are many issues that must be considered, including property division, child custody if there are children involved and financial matters. Under the new tax law, the financial issues in Georgia divorce proceedings may become more complex, in particular where alimony is concerned.

Under current divorce law, those paying alimony to an ex-spouse can typically deduct the amount of the alimony payments on their tax returns. The recipient of the alimony must report the payments as income for tax purposes. This has the effect of sometimes promoting financial settlements in some divorces, as those paying the alimony will see their tax liability reduced.

Child custody - what's best for the child?

Divorce is never easy. It is especially difficult when children are involved. The younger the children, the more complicated it can be. Even in a friendly divorce in Georgia, working out child custody arrangements can be a major challenge and an increased stressor where none is needed.

In Georgia, a judge will most likely determine the final child custody agreement. It is wise to know the factors on which the judge will base his decision. Judges will generally focus on the best interest of the child (or children) when considering their decision.

Restraining orders can help keep domestic abuse victims safe

It is never easy when a marriage ends. Each party thinks he or she has found the person they want to spend the rest of their life with, and then life takes an unexpected turn that the marriage cannot survive. The stress of this situation can sometimes lead to physical abuse, causing the victim to resort to civil legal options available here in Georgia, such as restraining orders, for protection.

Restraining orders are called "Family Violence Protection Orders" here in Georgia. They offer a variety of protections based on the situation. Since most protection orders arise out of divorce filings, they not only order an alleged abuser to stay away from the victim, but may include other orders as well. An FVPO can force an alleged abuser to move out of the marital home. It may also prevent harassing or threatening contact via all forms of electronic and telephonic means.

Adoption help is available

Do you want to be a parent but do not want to or can't have children of your own? Are you a step-parent who wants to make your steps kids officially yours? In either case, the adoption process is the way to go, but it can be rather frustrating to get through and achieve a successful result. A Georgia family law attorney with experience handling all sorts of adoption cases may be able to help through it all.

The adoption process itself is supposed to be straightforward. The individual seeking adoption needs to fill out the appropriate forms, go through the necessary background checks and complete home studies. Sounds easy enough, but a number of issues may arise that can cause an adoption to be delayed or denied.

Failure to pay child support could have criminal consequences

A man in another state has recently learned that failing to financially support his child has criminal consequences. Parents in Georgia who also neglect to pay child support may face the same fate as this gentleman. Thankfully, it is possible to avoid such consequences by taking the appropriate actions early on.

According to a recent news report, a 45-year-old male was arrested in May of 2017 for failure to pay his child support obligation. He is said to have made infrequent support payments between 2005 and early 2011. The payments eventually stopped completely later in 2011. It is unclear as to why this man failed to keep his child support obligation over the years.

How can splitting a business affect alimony?

Many Georgia residents are proud business owners. When their marriages fail, their companies are often considered their most valuable marital assets. How their companies -- or at least the value of their companies -- are split can affect other areas of their divorces, such as alimony payments.

Divorce law is written in a way to help each spouse walk away from a marriage with a fairly equal share of assets. In some cases, one spouse may find that he or she requires financial support in post-divorce life. These individuals may find alimony difficult to achieve, though, if they are insistent upon receiving a share of their spouse's business.

Georgia man may lose child custody after abuse allegations

When one is accused of abusing his or her own child, authorities and child protection agencies won't take it lightly. Allegations of abuse and/or neglect of a child in Georgia may lead to the loss of child custody for the accused parent. The removal of a child from one's home may be temporary while investigations are underway, but this can become permanent if the investigation is followed by charges and convictions. One local man recently found himself in such a situation.

The man was arrested on charges of aggravated battery and cruelty to a child -- the child being his own son. Reports allege that the man had branded his son's body with a heat gun, leaving him disfigured. It is believed that the incident occurred sometime between June and Nov. 2017. The child is presently in the custody of the local Division of Family and Children's Services.

Woman who broke child custody agreement may be in Georgia

When child custody arrangements are ordered by a court, it is expected that all parties involved will abide by the court's decision and follow the rules. A judge's orders -- in cases where the court's interference is necessary -- is always going to be based on the best interest of the children. However, this does not mean that parents and family members will always agree with the outcome. When one does not stick to a child custody plan in Georgia, there may be consequences to face.

In July 2017, a woman in another state picked up her 10-year-old daughter to begin a fun-filled July Fourth weekend camping trip. The girl was living with her father at the time, as mandated by the court. The mother did not have custody of the girl but apparently had visitation rights.

Mom could lose child custody due to placing children in danger

In Georgia and across the country, most parents can't imagine having to worry about the state removing their children from their care. For the typical parent, having control of the lives and decisions involving one's children is something likely taken for granted. One mother's child custody was taken from her after her landlord entered her home and noticed allegedly unsafe circumstances for the children present. The mother was not in the home at the time.

Reports indicate that the landlord had come to the home to determine if any pipes had frozen, as the temperatures that week had dropped below 10 degrees. It was at this time the landlord discovered the mother's three children -- ranging in age from 1 to 8 -- were home alone. Apparently, the only item heating the home was an open oven set to 400 degrees. It was noted that flammable items were underneath and hanging from the open oven. It was also reported that the children had gone most of the day without eating.

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