Sad woman dealing with domestic abuse

The Impact of Domestic Abuse on Divorce in Georgia

If you are considering getting a divorce in Georgia, you should be aware of the effects that allegations of domestic abuse can have on the proceedings. In Georgia, domestic abuse occurs when a person exerts control and power over another person, whether emotional, physical, sexual, or psychological. Domestic abuse can occur among any of the following individuals:

  • Spouses,
  • Parents and children,
  • Foster parents and foster children, and 
  • Cohabitating persons or those who previously lived together.

Below is an overview of the ways in which domestic abuse allegations can impact divorce. For additional information, please contact a Georgia divorce attorney.

Custody and Visitation

Although domestic abuse doesn’t ordinarily affect property division or alimony, family courts in Georgia always consider domestic violence allegations before granting a parent custody and visitation rights. During a divorce, Georgia law requires parents to disclose all domestic violence-related incidents. Courts always take this information into account when making decisions regarding children, even if it doesn’t involve the child in question or didn’t occur in the current household. A judge may award visitation or custody rights to an abusive parent only if he or she believes that it is safe to do so. To ensure that a child and abused parent remain safe, a judge may take certain precautions, including: 

  • Requiring that custody exchanges occur in a public place,
  • Prohibiting the abusive parent from possessing drugs or alcohol during or before visitation,
  • Prohibiting the child from staying overnight at the abusive parent’s house, and
  • Withholding information that may put the child’s or abused parent’s safety at risk.

Supervised Visitation and the Termination of Parental Rights

In addition to the above measures, when a judge believes that a parent has committed acts of domestic violence, he or she can require all visits between the child and abusive parent be supervised. If a judge requires visits to be supervised, he or she often requires the abusive parent to pay any associated fees. In addition, in extreme cases of abuse, a judge can terminate the parental rights of the abusive parent. However, a judge may only take this action when it is in the best interests of the child and there is clear evidence of severe abuse.

Contact an Experienced Georgia Divorce Attorney Today 

If you need assistance with the divorce process in Georgia, Carter/Pilgrim is on your side. At Carter/Pilgrim, our experienced Georgia divorce attorney will guide you through the Georgia divorce process while doing everything possible to ensure that you obtain a fair result in your divorce case. Whether you need to file a divorce or need assistance with a child custody issue, such as one involving domestic abuse, experienced family law attorney Amy Carter has the knowledge and experience necessary to obtain the results you desire. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. 

Father reading to his son.

What Are My Rights as a Divorcing Father in Georgia?

If you’re a father who is going through a Georgia divorce, it’s imperative that you do everything you can to protect your relationship with your children. One way to do so is to familiarize yourself with your rights as a divorcing father. Without a solid understanding of your legal rights as a father, the likelihood of a poor outcome in your Georgia divorce is high. However, with an experienced Georgia divorce attorney in your corner, you can rest assured that you’ll be provided with the knowledge and legal representation necessary to protect your relationship with your children. Below is an overview of your rights as a divorcing father in Georgia.  

The Rights of Fathers in Georgia

Fathers in Georgia have equal child custody rights to mothers in Georgia. If you are a father in Georgia, your rights regarding child custody include:

  1. The right to retain a relationship with your child,
  2. The right to provide financial support to your child, 
  3. The right to provide a stable environment for your child, and
  4. The right to remove your child from an abusive home situation. 

Improving the Odds of Child Custody

In most Georgia divorces, both parents seek custody. In order to demonstrate your fitness as a parent to the court and increase your chances of a favorable child custody outcome, there are several steps you can take, including: 

Remain present in your child’s life. By remaining present in your child’s life prior to the divorce, you increase your odds of a favorable child custody decision. Courts look kindly on fathers who stay involved.

Maintain a relationship with your child. You should attempt to maintain a strong relationship with your child before, during, and after your divorce. Although remaining present in your child’s life, as discussed above, contributes to this, you can’t simply go through the motionsyou must make a genuine effort to connect with your child. 

Ensure your child is comfortable in your new home. Since you’ll most likely be living separately from your spouse once your divorce is finalized, you should make sure your child is comfortable in your new home. Courts take this into consideration when making custody determinations. 

Be respectful towards your spouse. Your ability to treat your spouse with courtesy and respect demonstrates to the court that you’re a mature adult who is willing to act in a manner that is in the best interests of your child.  

Contact an Experienced Georgia Divorce Attorney Today 

If you are ready to begin the divorce process in Georgia, you need an experienced Georgia divorce attorney on your side. At Carter/Pilgrim, our experienced Georgia divorce attorney will guide you through the divorce process and do everything possible to ensure that you achieve a successful result in your Georgia divorce. Regardless of your needs, experienced family law attorney Amy Carter will utilize her deep knowledge of the Georgia divorce process to ensure that you are well prepared for your Georgia divorce. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.  

Divorcing couple, separated and dealing with adultery.

Can Adultery Affect a Georgia Divorce?

When a married person discovers that his or her significant other has been cheating, the next step is often divorce court. In Georgia, adultery can affect the outcome of a divorce. To put it simply, a cheating spouse is often at a disadvantage during the Georgia divorce process. However, as is discussed below, there are several exceptions to this rule. In other words, allegations of adultery during the Georgia divorce process can be complicated. Therefore, if your Georgia divorce involves allegations of adultery, you should seek the assistance of an experienced Georgia divorce attorney as soon as possible. Below is an overview of the ways in which adultery can affect divorce in Georgia. 

Proving Adultery

In Georgia, an individual has the option of either filing for a no-fault divorce or filing for divorce under one of several statutory grounds. One of these grounds is adultery. In order to prove adultery in a divorce proceeding, an individual must present substantial and corroborating evidence of adultery to the court. Even if the other spouse admits that he or she committed adultery, corroborating evidence must still be presented to the court. Thus, a finding of adultery always requires two separate types of evidence. 

The Effect of Adultery on Divorce

If the court finds that one spouse’s adulterous behavior is the cause of a divorce, it will deny that spouse alimony. However, the court will only deny alimony if the accusing spouse can demonstrate that adultery was the actual cause of the divorce. In other words, even if an individual can prove that his or her spouse committed adultery, he or she must also demonstrate that this adulterous behavior is the reason for the failure of the marriage. 

When Adultery Doesn’t Affect Divorce

There are some circumstances in which courts in Georgia won’t grant a divorce due to adultery, including:

  • The spouse who filed for divorce on grounds of adultery consented to the other spouse’s behavior, 
  • The spouses agreed that one spouse would commit adultery in order to obtain a divorce,
  • Both of the spouses committed adultery while they were married, and
  • The spouse who filed for divorce on grounds of adultery previously forgave or condoned the other spouse’s behavior.

Contact an Experienced Georgia Divorce Attorney Today 

If you are ready to begin the divorce process in Georgia, you need an experienced Georgia divorce attorney on your side. At Carter/Pilgrim, our experienced Georgia divorce lawyer will guide you through the Georgia divorce process while doing everything possible to ensure that you obtain a just and fair result in your Georgia divorce. Regardless of whether you’re seeking a contested or uncontested divorce in Georgia, experienced family law attorney Amy Carter has the knowledge and experience necessary to obtain the results you desire in your Georgia divorce case. Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation. 

Son with his father at the beach.

Parental Alienation in Georgia Divorce Cases

Divorce can be extremely tough on families. It can be particularly difficult for children. However, when both parents approach divorce in a cooperative, positive way, much of the pain associated with divorce can be alleviated. Unfortunately, though, parents sometimes behave in ways that are unproductive and harmful. One example is a process called parental alienation. Parental alienation is common, and it can cause tremendous harm to children. Below is an overview of what parental alienation is and how it affects children. For additional help, please contact a Georgia divorce attorney

What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation is a form of abuse in which one parent manipulates his or her child into having negative feelings about the other parent. Parental alienation can cause a child to fear, hate, and resent the parent who is the target of the practice. Georgia doesn’t have any laws that specifically address parental alienation. However, evidence of parental alienation by a parent can be used by the other parent to support a claim for custody, parenting time, or supervised visitations. There are a number of behaviors that can be categorized as forms of parental alienation, and a parent will often use several of them in combination in order to inflict the maximum damage possible on the relationship between the child and other parent. Parental alienation can take the form of any of the following behaviors: 

  •  Convincing the child that the other parent doesn’t love him or her
  •  Speaking poorly about the other parent in the child’s presence
  •  Reducing the frequency of contact between the child and the other parent
  •  Forcing the child to choose one parent over the other
  •  Going to extremes to win the child’s love
  •  Forcing the child to speak poorly about the other parent 

How Parental Alienation Harms Children 

Parental alienation is a form of psychological abuse. Unfortunately, however, parents who take actions that constitute parental alienation rarely consider the effect that this behavior can have on their children. And although people who witness this type of behavior often understand that it is harmful, most fail to recognize it as a form of abuse that can result in serious psychological damage. In fact, parental alienation can result in low self-esteem, mood disorders, self-loathing,  and even substance abuse when a child gets older. 

Contact a Georgia Family Law Attorney 

If you believe your ex is alienating you from your children, you need an experienced Georgia family law attorney on your side. Whether you want a divorce or need assistance with another family law issue, Carter/Pilgrim is here for you. At Carter/Pilgrim, our experienced family law attorney will guide you through the legal process and work diligently to ensure that your legal goals are achieved. Attorney Amy Carter has the knowledge and experience necessary to obtain the results you desire in your Georgia family law case. Please contact us today for a consultation. 

Mother holding child's hand, explaining divorce.

What Is a Parenting Plan?

Divorce is tough on children. In order to alleviate some of this difficulty, Georgia courts try to ensure that the children of divorce maintain strong relationships with both of their parents. One way courts in Georgia do this is through parenting plans. Below is an overview of parenting plans in Georgia. For additional assistance, please contact a Georgia family law attorney

The Parts of a Parenting Plan

Custody details – Parenting plans in Georgia contain information about the parents’ custody arrangement, including who has primary physical custody of the child. When a parent has primary physical custody, the child lives with that parent. Parenting plans also assign legal custody to one of the parents, which allows one parent to make certain decisions concerning the child, including decisions about education, medical care, and extracurricular activities. 

Visitation – Visitation, also called parenting time, is the time that a parent without primary physical custody spends with his or her child. Visitation usually follows a predetermined schedule that is created based on the needs of the family. Visitation schedules are determined based on considerations like:

  • School schedules
  • Work schedules
  • Extracurricular activities

Parenting Plan Tips 

Parenting plans should be designed with children’s best interests in mind. Therefore, both parents should always keep the needs of their children in mind when following a parenting plan. Below are some tips for making a parenting plan a success.

Keep the focus on the children – Parents should always keep the needs of their children at the forefront when following a parenting plan. One way to do this is to avoid arguing in front of the children about the parenting plan. 

Communicate – Since parenting plans are intended to benefit children, both parents should maintain an open and honest line of communication with one another regarding the plan. Maintaining a spirit of cooperation can help ensure that a parenting plan is effective.

Maintain consistency – Finally, children need consistency and stability in their lives, especially after their parents have divorced. Therefore, both parents should adhere to the parenting plan and not attempt to make frequent changes to the children’s schedules. In addition, both parents should establish similar rules in their households for the children to follow. 

Contact a Georgia Family Law Attorney 

If you need assistance with a family law issue in Georgia, you need an experienced Georgia family law attorney on your side. Whether you need assistance with a parenting plan or would like to initiate the divorce process, Carter/Pilgrim is here for you. At Carter/Pilgrim, our experienced family law attorney will guide you through the Georgia family law system and work diligently to ensure that your legal goals are achieved. Attorney Amy Carter has the knowledge and experience necessary to obtain the results you desire in your Georgia family law case. Please contact us today for a consultation.

Woman taking off her wedding ring as she is going through a divorce.

Common Divorce Mistakes

Divorce can be difficult for all parties involved. This difficulty can lead both spouses to experience a wide range of emotions, including sadness, guilt, confusion, anger, loneliness, and fear. These emotions are to be expected, as they are all part of the coping process. Unfortunately, however, this bevy of emotions can lead both spouses to make mistakes during the divorce process, and these mistakes can have long-term consequences for both parties. Therefore, if you are planning a divorce in Georgia, you should review the following common divorce mistakes. For additional help with your Georgia divorce, please contact a Georgia divorce attorney to get started. 

Failing to Communicate 

During your Georgia divorce, you must keep the lines of communication open with your spouse. This can be difficult if your divorce is contentious. However, you must keep in mind that refusing to communicate and cooperate with your spouse can only harm you in the end. On the other hand, when you maintain an open line of communication during the divorce process, you stand a good chance of avoiding a long, costly court battle. 

Ignoring Your Estate Plan

Many people fail to consider the effect of divorce on their estate plans when going through the Georgia divorce process. When you begin the divorce process in Georgia, you should strongly consider reviewing and updating your estate plan. Certain estate planning documents, such as wills and trusts, usually require updates following a Georgia divorce. When you update your estate plan during your Georgia divorce, you ensure that your assets are protected from your ex. 

Accepting an Unfair Settlement Agreement  

A mistake that people often make during the divorce process is accepting an unfair settlement agreement. This mistake is often due to a lack of familiarity with the divorce process. If you’ve never been divorced before, you’re unlikely to know what constitutes a fair settlement agreement. It’s always best to run a proposed settlement agreement by a divorce attorney before agreeing to its terms.

Making Unofficial Agreements with Your Spouse 

Couples sometimes feel like it’s easier to make informal agreements between themselves rather than going through the court system. This is a huge mistake. For a number of reasons, all decisions regarding the divorce must be made through the court. If you reach an informal agreement with your spouse, you will have no legal recourse if he or she fails to honor it.  

Failing to Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Finally, the biggest divorce mistake you can make is failing to hire an attorney to guide you through the process. Therefore, if you are ready to begin the divorce process, you need an experienced Georgia divorce attorney on your side. At Carter/Pilgrim, our experienced Georgia lawyer will guide you through the divorce process while doing everything possible to ensure that the result in your Georgia divorce case is just and fair. Whether you are seeking a contested or uncontested divorce, experienced family law attorney Amy Carter has the knowledge and experience necessary to obtain the results you desire in your Georgia divorce case. Please contact us as soon as possible for a consultation. 

Arguing, married couple, considering a divorce.

How to Initiate a Divorce in Georgia

If you need a divorce in Georgia, it’s important that you understand how to initiate the process. In addition, given the complexity of the family law system, anyone considering a divorce in Georgia should enlist the services of an experienced Georgia divorce attorney. An experienced Georgia divorce attorney will work hard to protect your rights during your Georgia divorce. Below is an overview of how to initiate a divorce in Georgia.  

Be certain you’re ready for divorce 

Although divorce is often the right choice in most broken relationships, you should carefully consider whether divorce is right for you before initiating the process. Remember, divorce is forever. Once your Georgia divorce is final, you and your spouse will no longer be a legal entity. Therefore, although this may seem obvious, you should be sure that divorce is truly your only option before you file for divorce in Georgia. 

Hire an experienced Georgia divorce lawyer

After carefully considering whether divorce is right for you, you should contact an experienced Georgia divorce attorney. Most attorneys offer free consultations, so you should speak to several and determine who you feel is the best fit for you. In addition to choosing an attorney based on his or her experience and credentials, you should pick someone you like. After all, you’ll be working closely with this person for several months at a minimum. Therefore, be sure to choose a Georgia divorce attorney with whom you have a good rapport. 

Cooperate with your Georgia divorce attorney 

Finally, once you’ve hired an experienced Georgia divorce attorney to represent you in your Georgia divorce, you need to cooperate with her in order to give yourself the best chance at success. Divorce can be a trying time, and there will probably be periods during the process when your emotions run high. This is normal. However, you must not lose sight of the fact that your divorce attorney is on your side and has your best interests in mind. Remember, your attorney has a deep understanding of the family law system, so any recommendations she makes are based on years of negotiation and litigation experience. If you make a concerted effort to work with, rather than against, your Georgia divorce lawyer, you give yourself the greatest chance at a successful outcome in your Georgia divorce. 

Contact us to begin the Georgia divorce process

If you would like to begin the Georgia divorce process, you need an experienced Georgia divorce attorney on your side. At Carter/Pilgrim, our experienced family law attorney will guide you through the divorce process and work diligently to achieve a successful outcome in your Georgia divorce case. Whether you are seeking a contested or uncontested divorce, attorney Amy Carter has the knowledge and experience necessary to obtain the results you desire in your Georgia divorce case. Please contact us today for a consultation. 

Wedding rings in top of courtroom soundblock.

How to Choose a Georgia Divorce Lawyer

In Georgia, you don’t have to hire an attorney to file for divorce. However, filing without an attorney is a big mistake. The Georgia divorce process is extremely complicated, and your chance at a successful outcome improves greatly when you hire an experienced Georgia divorce lawyer to handle your Georgia divorce case. Therefore, if you want a divorce in Georgia, it’s in your best interest to obtain the services of an experienced Georgia divorce attorney. Below is some information to help you begin your Georgia divorce attorney search. 

Talk to Friends and Family

The divorce rate in the United States is higher than ever. Therefore, it’s likely that you know someone who has had a divorce. In order to start your Georgia divorce attorney search, ask people you know who have been divorced for lawyer recommendations. In addition, the following resources are available to aid you in your search:

  • The State Bar of Georgia’s website
  • The Internet
  • Attorneys who practice other types of law 

Choose an Attorney Who Practices Family Law

Although this may seem obvious, make sure you choose an attorney who practices family law. People who are unfamiliar with the law sometimes believe that every lawyer is a “jack of all trades.” This is not the case. Each legal practice area requires specialized knowledge that can only be gained by years of experience. Therefore, when choosing a divorce attorney, you must only speak with lawyers who devote significant portions of their time to family law. 

Schedule Consultations

Once you’ve identified a few potential attorneys, you should schedule consultations. Most lawyers offer free initial consultations. When you meet with each attorney on your list for the first time, be prepared to discuss the details of your Georgia divorce case. A good way to do this is to bring any documentation that you feel may be relevant to your case. In addition, come prepared with a list of questions for each prospective attorney you meet with. 

Beware of Big Promises

The old adage “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” is especially relevant in the legal world. Therefore, you should steer clear of any lawyer who guarantees that he will obtain a particular result in your case. While the attorney you choose should be enthusiastic and positive, he should never guarantee results. 

Trust Your Instincts 

Finally, once you’ve spoken with a few attorneys and obtained information about their experience, past results, fees, etc., you should ultimately choose someone you feel good about. In other words, once you’ve found a few good candidates, trust your instincts. 

Contact a Georgia divorce lawyer 

If you are ready to begin the divorce process, you need an experienced Georgia divorce attorney on your side. At Carter/Pilgrim, our experienced family law attorney will guide you through the divorce process while doing everything possible to ensure a successful outcome in your Georgia divorce case. Whether you are seeking a contested or uncontested divorce, attorney Amy Carter has the knowledge and experience necessary to obtain the results you desire in your Georgia divorce case. Please contact us today for a consultation.