Evans Georgia Legal Blog

Child support, custody could be a problem for some fathers

Some divorced or unmarried fathers in Georgia may not be able to pay the child support they have been assigned. In some cases, the mother may have filed a protective order against the father that prevents him from seeing their children. In other cases, a father might need to establish paternity.

Fathers should try to pay some portion of child support even if they cannot pay the full amount. This may keep the court from imposing the most severe penalties, such as jail time. Fathers might also want to consult an attorney about getting a child support modification. Courts may grant one if the father has lost his job or if there has been another major change in circumstances. While this modification will not reduce any child support debt, future payments may be less.

Avoid car crashes in excessive sunlight

Drivers in Georgia may face an unexpected danger on their morning and afternoon commutes: the loss of visibility created by excessively bright sunlight. While few drivers link sunny days to a dangerous driving situation, the risk of a serious car accident is 16 percent greater in bright sunlight than in average weather conditions. The glare that comes from a rising or setting sun can make drivers uncomfortable; they may squint or even close their eyes to avoid the bright light, leading to risky situations. By keeping the following tips in mind, drivers can help to stay safe in bright sun.

While it may seem obvious, sunglasses can help. While they won't eliminate the light, they can lessen its brightness considerably while protecting a driver's eyes from harmful UV rays. By storing a pair of sunglasses in the car, drivers can always be prepared for a poor visibility situation. In addition, the built-in sun visors in a car or truck can help mitigate extreme sun glare. They can help to block the worst of the light coming in, and because they are standard equipment, they won't block a driver's view of the road.

Why temporary custody can make sense

Parents in Georgia or anywhere else in the United States may be able to give custody of their children to another party on a temporary basis. For instance, parents who have unusual work hours may hand their child over to a grandparent or a trusted friend. Parents who may not have the money to take care of a child may also decide to temporarily relinquish custody.

While almost anyone can have custody of a child, it is important that this person be capable of caring for a child consistently. This is why most temporary custodians are the child's grandparents, godparents or other close friends or relatives. Regardless of who gets custody, the arrangement must be in the child's best interest to be approved by a court. A custody order should spell out how long the arrangement is to last for.

What parents can do if denied visitation rights

A noncustodial parent in Georgia may be denied visitation rights by a court or the other parent. The former situation is rare although it may happen if a judge believes that a parent puts a child in danger. Courts might also order supervised visitation in which someone else must be present with the parent and child. If either of these situations occurs, the parent should comply with any court orders, such as getting treatment for substance abuse. The parent may also want to get an attorney.

Courts will generally not deny visitation to a parent who has fallen behind on child support, and although a custodial parent may attempt to do so, this will usually not be supported by the legal system. Other reasons a custodial parent might deny visitation include problems with transportation, inconvenience or worries about a child's well-being.

Cohabitation can cause some marriages to crumble

Couples in Georgia may feel the impact of the premarital cohabitation effect if they live together before marriage. While scientists had doubted that this effect still existed, research says that it still applies over long periods of time. However, researchers did acknowledge that there is a greater risk of divorce in the short-term for those who didn't live together prior to getting married. This is because they may have a greater adjustment to make as it relates to sharing a living space.

The study outlining these findings was published in the September issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family. Among couples who lived together before marriage, the risk of getting a divorce was reduced only during their first year together. Afterward, the chances of the marriage ending went up. According to The Institute for Family Studies, the evidence goes against the popular belief that living with a partner before getting married would be a good thing for the relationship.

Stay conscious of your safety while a pedestrian

Walking is a convenient and free way to get exercise. You may even like to walk to get to a nearby destination. No matter why, where or how long you are walking, staying safe is of the utmost importance.

If you are walking on or near a road, you face the considerable risk of suffering harm from passing vehicles. Even a quick trip across the street to visit a neighbor could turn serious if a speeding or distracted driver does not see you or cannot stop in time. So, you certainly want to do your part to stay safe while on foot.

Cohabitation may make divorce more likely

According to the results of a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, couples who move in together prior to marrying are at a higher risk of divorce later. Georgia couples might want to be aware of the premarital cohabitation effect, which suggests that couples who live together before marriage have lower odds of divorce during the first year but increased odds of divorce every year after that.

The authors of the study used data from the National Surveys of Family Growth, examining 216,455 couple years to make predictions about dissolution of marriage. Some studies and scholarly papers suggested that the premarital cohabitation effect had disappeared in recent years. According to other researchers who work with the Institute for Family Studies, those who have argued the effect disappeared were biased against long-term effects in favor of the short term.

Drug crime defense

Any person who has been accused of a crime should present the best defense that they possibly can in order to avoid the harsh penalties that come with a conviction. These can include fines, community service and imprisonment. The defense for a drug crime is generally developed with an attorney and is based on the facts of the case.

The prosecution has the burden of proof in a criminal case. The prosecutor will look at the facts of the case and come up with a story or narrative about how they believe the events really happened. The defense may be able to come up with a very different narrative based on the same facts. For example, in a drug case where the defendant was riding in someone else's vehicle, the prosecutor will look for facts to show that the defendant knew the illegal substance was present while the defense will look for facts to dispute that.

AAA study finds drivers overestimate car safety features

Georgia residents who own vehicles with advanced safety features like blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking should be aware of their key limitations. Many do not, as the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found out in a recent study, and they are relying too heavily on such features as a result.

For example, nearly 29 percent of drivers with adaptive cruise control say they feel comfortable doing other things behind the wheel when it is engaged: in other words, driving distracted. About 80 percent of drivers are overconfident in the ability of blind-spot monitoring to detect approaching vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. According to reports, 25 percent never check for oncoming vehicles when changing lanes.

Trucking industry slow to adopt crash avoidance technology

Studies have shown that crash avoidance technology can reduce traffic accidents in Georgia and across the U.S. However, it is not required on tractor-trailers and other large commercial trucks. This is troubling because truck-related fatal accidents are on the rise.

According to federal statistics, over 4,300 people were killed in truck crashes in 2016, which is 28 percent more than were killed in 2009. To help reduce the number of accidents involving trucks, the National Transportation Safety Board has repeatedly asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require the installation of crash avoidance technology on tractor-trailers. The agency is particularly pushing for the installation of automatic emergency braking systems, which can significantly reduce the number of rear-end collisions.