William C. Gentry

Attorney at Law | Marietta, Georgia

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Marietta Family Law Blog

Child support is not a suggestion; it?s the legal requirement

A man was recently arrested in Virginia after being pulled over for driving on a closed shoulder. The trooper who pulled the man over took him into custody after he learned that the man was wanted for child support and other charges in Norfolk. Even though this case happened in Virginia, Georgia residents could easily find themselves in a similar position if they fail to pay their child support.

I can no longer make my child support payments. What should I do?

Child support orders are made based on a number of factors affecting the lives of a divorced couple. Both parties may not always believe that the child support order is fair, but it is ultimately up to the discretion of the court in most of these cases, and the courts tend to do what they believe is best for the child. At the same time, it’s important to remember that the order is determined based on factors at the time of divorce, meaning that the support order, much like the factors of life, is subject to change.

If changing circumstances make it so that you can no longer make your child support payments, know that your child support order can be changed to reflect these new circumstances. However, the modification will only occur if you bring the case before the courts and successfully prove that the previous payments are no longer feasible.

We fight for fathers' rights

Child custody is usually one of the most hotly contested topics in a divorce, with both parties wanting to remain as involved as possible in their children’s lives. There are those who believe that men are treated unfairly in custody cases, which could cause concern for some fathers if they are facing divorce. Fortunately, evidence shows that it is better for children to have both parents in their lives through joint custody.

Each case is unique, bringing many factors of a couple’s married life into the child custody equation. The courts take all of these factors into account when determining a custody arrangement to ensure that they do what is best for the child.

The most common divorce statistic may be a lie

Many of us have been told throughout the course of our lives that nearly half of marriages end in divorce. This divorce statistic is often spun to achieve a certain end: some use it to dissuade people from getting married, arguing that they’ll just get divorced anyway, and some claim that it reveals how little our society currently values marriage. Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, it may surprise you to learn that this statistic is not, and never was, true.

According to research conducted by a Harvard-trained woman, no evidence to corroborate the validity of the 50 percent number exists. The closest she could come to finding such evidence was a prediction early in 1970 that, as no-fault divorces became more common, the divorce rate might reach such a high number. However, this prediction has thus far proved false, as divorce rates haven’t come close to 50 percent.

Georgia man jailed for interference with child custody

Child custody orders can be difficult to deal with, especially if you feel that they are unfair to you and your circumstances. Nobody likes to be told when they can and cannot see their children, but it’s important to remember that custody orders are legally binding contracts. Disobeying custody orders is against the law and could have serious legal ramifications including fines or even jail time. This is why it’s important to take your divorce case seriously and fight for the custody you deserve.

A Georgia man was recently placed in jail on charges of interference with child custody and kidnapping. According to the report, the man was ordered to place his children in the custody of social service workers in late August, but instead he took the children and disappeared. He later turned himself in.

Is there a bias toward women in child custody cases?

Many people believe that women are more likely to be given child custody in a divorce case than men, simply because of their gender. This belief is not entirely without merit, as there has been much supporting data to prove that women have often been given sole custody in previous decades. However, contemporary legal precedent acknowledges that having both parents involved in their lives is usually better for children, and we have seen many more cases of joint custody, particularly in Georgia, where parenting time arrangements are often split completely evenly.

We’ve mentioned before that parental stability is important in custody battles, and data from the Pew Research Center seems to support this idea. The data paints a picture of fathers who are rarely involved in their children’s lives before divorce, and are thus not heavily involved after divorce.

Higher assets mean higher stakes in divorce

Almost everyone in the world wants to have more money, and with good reason. A large amount of wealth can be a blessing in terms of not wanting for material possessions, but in some instances it can also be a curse. One of those instances is divorce. The fact of the matter is that in a divorce, assets will be divided, and the more you have, the more you have to lose.

The concept of high-asset divorce is particularly relevant for professionals who earn large salaries, such as engineers or architects. Individuals with a high net worth could find themselves suffering a serious financial blow if they do not treat their divorce seriously, and the same could be said for spouses of high net worth individuals. If you were a stay-at-home mother or father, for example, for a spouse who earned a large salary, a divorce could result in a serious change in the quality of life you experience.

Your divorce agreement is not final

One of the most frightening thoughts about a divorce is how the final decision could affect the rest of your life, from how involved you are with your child’s life to how much money you can call your own. It can be a serious blow to learn that your child custody agreement only lets you see your child every other week, or that a chunk of your money will go to your former spouse. Fortunately, the court’s final decision about your divorce agreement is not actually final. It can be changed in the future if circumstances allow.

While you will not be able to change the immediate actions of the divorce settlement years after the fact (such as which spouse got the house), you may be able to alter the factors that affect you on a daily basis. These factors include visitation schedules and child custody, as well as child support and spousal support. Of course there must have been significant changes to the circumstances surrounding these issues in order to successfully have them changed. You can find information about all of this and more here.

Research: a friend's divorce could mean your own divorce

We all know that choosing our friends is important, because they affect us in many ways, but it might surprise you to learn just how far the influence can extend. It’s not unheard of for a friend to suggest a TV show or book that gets you hooked, but what would you say if a friend’s divorce influenced the state of your marriage? A study from a few years ago hinted at just that possibility, claiming that a social contagion effect may cause divorces to infect friends.

According to the findings from the 2010 study, having a divorced friend increases your likelihood of divorce by nearly 150 percent. It also found that having a co-worker who is divorced can increase your divorce likelihood by 55 percent. The study claimed that even second generation friends can feel the effects, meaning that a friend of a friend’s divorce could have impacts on your chances of divorcing.

Child support offenders could lose their license

Child support has been a source of tension for many divorced couples for years and years. It’s very rare that both parties are satisfied with child support payments, often because the payer believes they are paying too much, and the receiver believes that they are entitled to more. As a society, we could continue to talk about how the courts do their best to ensure that child support is fair to both parties, but the state of Georgia has recently decided to take more assertive action.

Thanks to cooperation between Georgia’s Department of Driver Services and the State Department of Human Services, parents who fail to make their child support payments could now lose their driver’s licenses. Many have already begun receiving notices that their licenses will be suspended as early as Aug. 20 if they don’t make their payments. The director of Georgia’s Child Support Division claims that the incentive already seems to be having an effect.

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