Family Law Attorney Explains: Adoption (4 Most Common Types)

woman with her hands on her head crying with curtains in the background

How to handle grief and divorce in 3 steps

Hopefully, you’ve read our previous guides on how to make your divorce process smoother and less stressful. We’ve recently written about how to manage social media and the divorce process. We’ve also written on some of the divorce laws of Georgia, including the asset/property division aspect of divorce. We’ve focused on how the law works and how to best manage your relationship with your ex-spouse. 

 

One thing we haven’t written as much about is YOU

 

Divorce can be hard and emotional. It can be a rollercoaster! We know this but you might actually be going through it. People compare divorce to death sometimes. The death of a loved one, family, or friend. And that’s true in many ways. You fall in love with a person and then you find yourself at the end of the relationship. You ask yourself how it got to this point or how things have changed. It can be traumatic and full of grief. 

You might be feeling hopeless, maybe like your dreams have been smashed. You might be worried sick about what your family will go through. It’s tough to say exactly what your emotions might be because no one experiences divorce in the same way. What we do know is that many people find a certain hope, comfort, and excitement even in finding themselves after divorce. That’s what we want to talk about today: Moving from grief to your future self. 

The End of a Marriage and Grief

It may take a long time for a person to fully accept the end of their marriage. In good marriages, bad ones, good and bad divorces, the full process of really accepting that phase of your life is over can take time. That’s okay. Everyone moves at their own pace.

Let yourself be vulnerable

Some people might say “Be strong” or “Moving on means forgetting.” Well, we don’t necessarily agree. Going through the process of ending a union is tough and it shows strength on its own.

The fact is, that feeling sad, scared, or lonely is totally understandable and acceptable during and after. You should define your own strength and let yourself handle and heal this emotional situation.

Adjust and Reinvest 

Grief causes physical and mental stress on the body. Adjusting from the stress and negative emotions takes time. Living on your own or in a new situation, managing co-parenting or single parenting, and maybe even getting back out there and finding a new romantic connection. These things matter but no one can tell you how long it’ll be until you find your ‘new normal.’ 

Atlanta Divorce Lawyers

If you’re thinking about divorce and are ready to take the next step we can help you get started. We have helped clients throughout the State of Georgia including in Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb, and Fayette Counties. No matter where in the Atlanta Metro area or Georgia you live we’ll be there for you. Give us a call at (770) 723-7211.

two rings intertwined in dark background

The 8 Factors of Alimony/Spousal Support in Georgia

The Marital Standard of Living & Length of marriage

Alimony and Spousal Support are considered to be the same thing, and often the terms are used interchangeably.

The Marital Standard of Living & Length of marriage are the first two factors listen in O.C.G.A. 19-6-5 that the Court considers when deciding on an award of alimony. Typically speaking, the longer the marriage, the more weight the court will give to any considerations of alimony. However, there is no legally specified minimum amount of a time a marriage has to last for alimony to be considered. 

The ‘marital standard of living’ is the level of comfort you enjoyed while married. This comfort is of course not emotional, it is instead material and financial. Having a high standard of living while married does not entitle either spouse to alimony. Alimony is meant as aid to keep a basic standard of living and ensure all needs are covered. Presenting in front of a judge what you consider to be reasonable needs in order to keep a similar lifestyle is where a strong divorce lawyer comes in. 

 

Age, Physical, and Emotional State

Age is an important factor when arguing in favor of alimony. As we mentioned above, alimony is about one financially disadvantaged party in a marriage having sufficient funds to sustain themselves independently. Age comes into play because a person’s employability is often directly tied to their age. 

Health and mental state plays part of this same logic. If one of the spouses in a divorce suffers from a chronic illness or some form of mental health issue then their considerations for alimony could be stronger. 

 

Financial State of both Parties

This factor plays a huge role in whether or not alimony (and how much) is awarded. Needs (and ability) is what determine whether one party pays the other party alimony. The more resources one spouse has, the higher the likelihood they will pay alimony to the spouse with less resources. Resources include income, property, assets, retirement accounts, and more. 

 

Employment After Divorce

Employability is also one of the things a judge looks for when making an alimony decision. Say for example you married young and became a homemaker or were financially supported by your ex-spouse. Being out of the workforce for a long time might hamper your chances at employability. This is where temporary alimony might come into play. A judge might award this until one party is able to become employed or complete training or education with the goal of becoming employed. 

 

Conditions, Contributions, and other relevant factors

This factor takes into account both monetary and non-monetary contributions both spouses made to the marriage. The court may look at these contributions when considering the needs of either spouse once the divorce is complete. Non-monetary contributions might be for example child-raising and homemaking. They go much further than that though. Making these choices during a marriage can lead to a diminished capacity for employment if the marriage comes to an end. This will raise the question of alimony in court.

The court will also examine the condition of both parties and any other relevant factors towards determining alimony. Your divorce attorney can determine which other relevant factors to present before the court. They can also help demonstrate the condition of both parties.

mother with adopted child looking at pink sunset

DIY Second Parent Adoption? What to know before getting started

What is Second Parent Adoption?

Second parent adoption is the process many unmarried same-sex couples utilize to adopt their partner’s child. Picture this example; Jennifer and Kate are two women in a serious long-term relationship. Jennifer and Kate have decided that they do not want to get married, however, they have decided that they want to have children together. The couple decides that Jennifer will carry the child. For both parties to be the child’s legal parents, the non-biological parent, Kate, must petition for custodial rights and the biological parent, Jennifer, must consent. 

Sharing joint rights over the child goes much further than gaining some legal recognition, to many parents it’s a greatly symbolic act. Now, while the process might be called ‘second parent’ adoption, we know that you are more than just a second. You’re thinking of this process because the bond you and your family share goes further than a categorization of what comes first or second.

We’re here to help your adoption process run smoothly. Although an adoption lawyer is not a legal requirement, we can’t say it will be straightforward, easy, or simple for you or your partner to do this on your own.

Does Georgia Allow Second Parent Adoption?

Some Courts in Georgia allow second-parent adoptions. Why might some couples consider second-parent adoption? Let’s look at another example. Georgia does not allow unmarried couples to have both their names on a child’s birth certificate. This applies to opposite-sex and same-sex parents. So, in Georgia, only the married parents of a child, or the biological parent(s) of a child appear on the certificate. Second-parent adoption can thus help a couple be legally recognized as equal legal guardians and parents over their child. 

There’s a reason our attorneys have been trusted by so many people in Georgia when it comes to family law matters. The legal system is complex to say the least. The adoption process, including second-parent adoption, can be long and it requires tons of paperwork. All of the following might be a part of the process: Physicals, home studies, interviews, court appearances, background checks, financial evaluations, and more. An adoption lawyer offers more than just a legal understanding, they can, and should, offer you peace of mind. 

 

Adoption help for LGBTQ+ Parents – The Edwards Law Group

Going through this whole process might seem like too much of a hassle, after all, you know better than anyone that in your eyes, your partner’s eyes, and your child’s eyes you are the parent. Your bond, your love, and your memories cannot be determined by some court decision. Yet, with all of this in mind, isn’t the hassle worth it? It’s a prudent and safe thing to do. God forbid a situation arises that puts your or your family in a tough spot. Maybe there’s a medical decision, life decision, or parenting decision you need to weigh in on, but that lack of ‘legal recognition’ holds you back. These are the things parents consider when they come to us for legal help. You can reach us at 770.723.7211 or by filling out a contact form

 

Roe v. Wade – What could this mean for your family?

Recently there were news reports that the Supreme Court of the United States was possibly going to overturn Roe v. Wade. In early May, a news organization leaked what seemed to be a draft opinion of a case decision that indicated Roe v. Wade would be overturned.

The possibility that this long-standing case will be overturned has made many uneasy. The original 1973 decision was a big moment for many people. The original decision provided women the opportunity to have control over their bodies and if they wanted to bring a child into the world. But more than that, this decision was one in a line of progressions that gave protections to many people who had social insecurity about themselves and their families.

Being at this crucial moment now, when it seems that SCOTUS will overturn the federal guarantee to abortion access, is what makes people so scared. Some families are set to be possibly affected now, and in the future, in a way that some people don’t fully understand.

The Edwards Law Group is here for you

We understand how stressful and scary this situation can be for you or your family. We are here for you in all matters related to family law. If you have any questions contact us at 770-723-7211 or by clicking here.

Don’t lose your custody case!

Follow These Social Media Tips

The wrong activity online can have big effects on your divorce and custody case. We’ve recently told you about how to navigate your divorce on social media. There’s a related, but separate, process which occurs during the divorce process and after. That’s Child Custody and Child Support. The wrong type of post, picture, or status can negatively affect your child custody case. Think twice about what you post or are tagged in! Follow this guide to learn more and get in the right headspace. 

The Edwards Law Group is a results-driven and top-rated family law firm based in Atlanta. We specialize in all things family law including Divorce, Child Custody and Support, Legitimation, Establishing Paternity, and much more. To find out more about how we can help you give us a call at 770-723-7211. 

3 Things To Consider During Your Child Custody Case:

1. Stay Humble Online

Custody hearings and negotiations don’t have to turn into custody battles! The last thing you want is for a post, tweet, or status to be shown in court. A social media post might be relatively tame but it can be spun and put into the wrong context in court. One bad post and the judge in your case might be looking at you in a completely different light. Staying humble online, not showing off fancy jewelry, expensive outfits, or a big night out, might save you a lot of headaches down the road. 

2. Don’t Start Dating

Meeting someone new and dating is not something that exclusively happens online but we recommend waiting to get out there again until after a divorce and child custody case is completed. Online dating profiles can be misrepresented in court.

3. Don’t Badmouth

Venting or badmouthing your ex, their friends, or their family is definitely something you want to avoid. The other side might present this in court as an example of bad parenting or instability. Even if you block or delete your Ex from your online profiles your posts can still be found. It’s tempting to tell the world the reasons you had to end your marriage but we suggest putting that off while the process is ongoing. Heck! Even after it’s finished, you should STILL not post your reasons for the world to see.

Atlanta Based Child Custody Experts

Child Custody cases are tough and can often become emotional. We pride ourselves in delivering our clients the results they’re looking for. Family law is not easy but our experience and knowledge is almost unmatched in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. The Edwards Law Group has over 15 years of experience in all areas of family law. We’ve handled almost every type of case out there and we’re ready to help you get the representation you deserve. Give us a call at 770-723-7211 or click here to get in contact

Make Divorce Work – 3 Tips about Social Media

Divorce does not carry the same taboo it did in previous years. Two people go into a marriage expecting it to work. Due to a variety of reasons – money, trust, commitment – the marriage comes to an end. Women especially faced strong pressure to make a failing marriage work. Divorce was stigmatized and could lead to gossip and scandal from family and friends. 

Although nowadays the same stigma does not arise as often, there is something else to be mindful of now – your online presence. Social media has caused many of our everyday interactions to be seen online, meaning a larger group of people get to read, view, and hear your posts. Taking your dog on a walk, cooking dinner, celebrating birthdays and weddings. No matter how big or small the event we’ve found ways to post about it online. Unfortunately, divorce is not excluded. 

Something we forget about is how a post, picture, tweet, or status update might affect us down the road. We recommend being extra careful about this when you’re going through any stage of the divorce process. Keep reading this guide to find out how to manage your social media use and keep your divorce as drama-free.

What not to do online while going through divorce

Let’s start with what you should avoid online while going through divorce. Some of these might sound obvious but it’s good to go over them either way. What you want to avoid is tricky situations with your ex both in real life, in court, and online. The best way to avoid any drama in any of these areas is to stay level-headed and think ahead. And remember, whatever you say online can (and probably will) be used against you in court! 

1. Ignore Your Ex

So you’ve decided to file for divorce. This might have been coming for a long time but that doesn’t mean there’s not tension in the air. What’s the best way to deal with this from an online perspective? Well, by ignoring your ex! Constantly seeing pictures or posts of your ex online might cause jealousy, anger, discontentment, or worse… cause a fight. It’s best to mute, block, unfollow, whatever accounts you have of them. Extra tip: don’t forget to change your passwords. You don’t want them snooping in on you without you knowing. 

2. DON’T post the wrong things

Divorce brings stress. This is not news to anyone. Divorce can also be a big change for someone. Again, not news. But, mix stress and change and you get the potential for CRAZY behavior. 

You might not regularly party or put raunchy pictures up the ‘gram but you’ve been dealing with a lot and your ex might be acting up due to the divorce. You decide “Hey, let’s show them what they’re missing!” You put up a picture of you at a club or with friends on a night out. Now, while these pictures might not really be that bad you don’t want to test the judge. A fun night out relieving stress might look way different depending on the context it’s framed. So, best things best, just avoid posting or getting tagged in inappropriate pictures for the time being. 

3. Watch Your Language

Say you’ve followed this guide; you’ve disconnected from your ex online and you’ve avoided posting the wrong things.  Don’t ruin your chances at resolving your case by venting about your ex online. It’s easy to get carried away and end up sharing too many details. If you have to vent, and we all do sometimes, make sure to vent to a friend or family member, and away from social media. And hey, if you don’t have a trusted friend or family member, you can vent to us as your attorneys!

Atlanta Divorce Lawyers – The Edwards Law Group

It’s always good to think twice before posting something online. If you have questions about the divorce process contact us today. Few other firms in Atlanta or throughout Georgia match our experience or knowledge. We can walk you through everything you need to know about the process and how best to approach it. Call today to set up a consultation.

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How to Adopt in Georgia – Atlanta Family Law

Helping folks expand their family through adoption has been part of The Edward Law Group’s mission since our start. Legalizing the relationship between children and adoptive parents is one of the most rewarding aspects of family law. We can take care of the legal process so you can focus on being the parent!be well-prepared for a new member of your family. 

We understand the complexities of adoption and its process. We love seeing families be filled with happiness when they welcome a new sibling to their home, but we also know how complicated, frustrating, and expensive adoption can be. Setting yourself up with an adoption lawyer, experienced in family law, is one of the best guarantees you can have so your family’s adoption process runs smoothly. 

 

Types of Adoption in Georgia

Here at The Edwards Law Group, we’ve helped clients with many different types of adoptions, Including:

  • Independent adoptions
  • Relative adoptions
  • Stepparent adoptions
  • Second Parent adoptions
  • Grandparent adoptions
  • Adult adoptions
  • State agency adoption
  • Private agency adoption

 

Georgia Adoption Law

Georgia courts and the Family and Child Services agency put the safety and care of the child first. To do this they have come up with a process that all adoptive parents must follow. In order to adopt a child in Georgia, you must be at least 10 years older than the child. You must be at least 25 years old, financially and mentally stable. If you are married then you must file jointly. 

Most of the time there will also need to be a home inspection and background check performed in order to adopt. Legally, the child’s biological parents’ rights need to be terminated as well. If it is a step-parent adoption then the biological parent/spouse must consent to the new legal parent. And, if the child is over 14 years old then they must also give consent to being adopted. 

One of the reasons it’s advised to contact an adoption lawyer is because of the possibility of the law having been changed. As with any legal process or any set of laws, there’s always the chance that something has changed. You don’t want to be months into preparing and suddenly find out what you’ve been doing is wrong. That’s what we’re here for. We handle the ‘legalese’ and paperwork so you don’t have to. 

 

Atlanta Adoption Lawyers – Family Law Professionals

Our firm’s mission is to provide families with top-notch legal services. We love seeing the joy on parents’ faces when their adoption process is complete. We know it’s not a quick process but we will be with you at every step. Our firm has gained a reputation for efficiency, transparency, and outstanding service. Give us a call today and see why so many others have placed their trust in us.

Georgia Alimony Laws

How Long Does Alimony Last?

Alimony is spousal support that one spouse has to pay after a divorce. This court-ordered spousal support varies widely from state to state. Generally speaking, some principles are universal. These principles include determining alimony based on the income of each spouse and on the length of the marriage. 

Alimony is not always granted to a spouse. This is because there has to be proof that financial dependence was established during the course of the marriage. Even in cases where a spouse became financially dependent on the other spouse during a marriage, alimony is not 100% guaranteed. 

Family court determines the necessity of spousal support based on several factors. If the income of one spouse is significantly less than the other’s, then this might be considered in favor of alimony. Likewise, if the estate of one spouse is significantly smaller it’s also a point toward establishing payments.

The standard of living, employability, and ages of the spouses all play a role in determining spousal support. All these factors considered, the spousal support agreement can be one of the most difficult agreements to reach during divorce proceedings. A divorce attorney, like those at the Edwards Law Group, can help navigate you through this complex process. 

Several variables come into play when considering support. One such variable is whether or not the divorce is ‘fault-based.’ If the divorce was initiated based on a fault made by a spouse then alimony can be affected. Georgia has 12 grounds for fault-based divorce

Conversely, child custody is not a factor that judges can consider when awarding alimony. Meaning, if a spouse receives physical custody they can’t use that determination to benefit their alimony agreement. 

There are three types of alimony in Georgia. These three types of support depend on the specific circumstances of the divorce. The three types are permanent, temporary, or rehabilitative. 

Permanent alimony is not really permanent. There are scenarios under which it can be ceased. Theoretically permanent spousal support ends if a spouse dies or if they remarry. It can also be changed through a spousal support modification. It can also be agreed upon that these payments are for a set amount of time. Or, that they are paid out until the dependent spouse gains sufficient income. 

Is there a way to calculate Alimony in Georgia?

Courts determine alimony first and foremost on ability and need. What does this mean? If one spouse has the ability to pay alimony and another spouse requests spousal support then a judge can determine the need

As we wrote earlier in this article, there are a set of legally defined factors that determine an alimony award. We’ll go over these 8 alimony determining factors here. Before we do that you should know that no standard formula or calculator exists for determining spousal support in Georgia. 

The 8 factors are Standard of Living, Duration of Marriage, Age/Physical/Emotional Condition of both parties, Financial Resources, the time needed to train or learn in order to find employment, contribution to the marriage, condition of the parties, and all other relevant factors. 

Atlanta Divorce Lawyers – The Edwards Law Group

How should you pick which divorce lawyer is best for you? There’s no simple answer to this question. There are things you can ask and consider. Experience in family law and divorce cases is paramount. Meeting in person and asking about their strategy is recommended. 

Our firm can offer you 15 years of family law experience and stellar reviews. We’re a driven family law practice that prides itself in compassionate and professional legal service. Give us a call or contact us today to set up your consultation.

Divorce and Property Division – Atlanta, GA

Is there a Property Division Calculator?

Not all divorces are drawn out highly emotional battles. But, even amicable splits benefit tremendously from experienced legal counsel. When you file for divorce there are many things to consider. The legal counsel that the Edwards Law Group offers, can go a long way. 

Georgia is not a Community Property State. In these states, any assets or property acquired during the marriage are owned equally by both spouses. Georgia is an equitable distribution state. This means that any assets, properties, and debts, are divided equitably in the event of a divorce. 

Expectations play a huge role during a marriage. Likewise, they’re important during a divorce too. You should understand the basics of what the state has defined as equitable.

Equity and equality are not the same. Equitable means fair, not equal. There are many times that a 50/50 division of assets is accomplished but all cases are unique. The 50/50 division of property is not a rule in Georgia family court.

Community Property states often employ certain accounting tactics and calculations to divide property. Since Georgia is not a community property state there is no such calculator. There is no formula or calculator to see what property division might look like. Judges rely on certain factors in the individual case to make what they deem as ‘fair divisions.’ 

A divorce can be one of the most consequential moments in anyone’s life. The Edwards Law Group understands this. We have over 15 years of experience helping our clients through this emotional and often difficult process.

You need an attorney by your side. They can explain the legal process and long-term effects of a divorce agreement. If you’re thinking about initiating a divorce in Atlanta or in the Atlanta Metro area, contact us today.

 

Georgia Divorce Laws: Property Division

During a divorce, a full evaluation of your family’s estate needs to be conducted. Tangible assets, real estate, fixed assets, financial statements, and more all need to be studied carefully.

Georgia generally separates property into two categories. These are separate property and marital property. Separate property includes all property that was acquired prior to the marriage. Marital property is property acquired during a marriage (even if it is titled under one spouse’s name).

There are many factors that go into determining property division in Georgia. This might be the length of the marriage, the contributions to both the family unit and marital property each spouse gave, and the reason for divorcing.

Things that might be considered marital property and thus be in the discussion for division include real estate, stocks, trusts, debt, and settlements. Each type of asset/property has a long legal background which determines if it is divisible or not. A divorce attorney is highly recommended. Especially if there are multiple sources of income or assets.

 

What can a Georgia Divorce Lawyer do for you?

Making sure that property is divided fairly during a divorce in Georgia is not an easy thing to do. Arguing in front of a judge, especially with inadequate legal counsel, is best left to professionals. Our firm can help you protect your interests.

Our experience and history of success is what drives our firm and it’s the reason you can trust us to defend you. Contact us today by clicking here.