Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Divorce and Counterclaims

Did you know that, in Georgia, if your spouse, "Sluggo," sues you for divorce, you can "slap" him back with a counterclaim for divorce? You might wonder why would you ask your divorce lawyer to do this!

There are several reasons to file a counterclaim for divorce. For instance, if Sluggo elects to dismiss his divorce lawsuit, but you still want to get the divorce, then, if your divorce attorney has already filed a counterclaim, you may be able to go forward and get it done without starting all over again!

Also, while Sluggo may simply contend the marriage is "irretrievably broken," your divorce lawyer may need to counterclaim to raise different grounds for the divorce. At trial, you may be entitled to get a divorce in your favor on your own alleged grounds.

So, you now can see that if Sluggo "slaps" you, (in the legal sense!), with a divorce complaint, it may likely be to your advantage to have your own divorce lawyer "slap" him back with a counterclaim! But please don't also use hockey sticks, as in the Paul Newman movie!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Divorce and Permanent Alimony

Why is there a photograph of a boat in a blog about divorce? I'll explain below! First, let's talk a little bit more about money, or permanent alimony in Georgia, to be more specific! Did you know that, under Georgia law, (O.C.G.A. 19-6-4), permanent alimony may be granted:

(1) In cases of divorce;

(2) In cases of voluntary separation; or

(3) Where one spouse, against the will of that spouse, is abandoned or driven off by the other spouse.

You also need to discuss with your Georgia divorce lawyer the fact that an award of permanent alimony may be enforced either by a contempt action, or by writ of fieri facias. This writ is a fancy latin term, more commonly known as a "fi fa," which means that you may be authorized to ask the sheriff to seize and sell some of the personal property of your worthless spouse "Sluggo" to satisfy your award of alimony, if he refuses to pay.

So, this is where the photo of the boat comes into play! You may, in some circumstances, be able to ask your divorce attorney to get the sheriff to seize Sluggo's boat to collect on your alimony!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Divorce and Temporary Alimony

Let's talk about money today! More specifically, let's discuss temporary alimony. Most people think of alimony as spousal support which begins following the divorce. But did you know that, at least under Georgia law, (O.C.G.A. 19-6-3), either party to a divorce may also apply for temporary alimony while the divorce action is pending. If you seek temporary alimony from "Sluggo," the judge will consider the "peculiar necessities" of each party and whether the petitioner has sufficient independent funds to get by. In other words, if you are as wealthy as Oprah or Martha Stewart, you are less likely to get temporary alimony!

At the hearing on the application for temporary alimony, a Georgia judge will not get into the merits of the divorce case, but he or she may inquire into the cause and circumstances of the separation rendering alimony necessary. So, if you ran off to gamble and lost your shirt in Las Vegas, you would probably have a weak argument for temporary alimony.

You should also know that, generally speaking, Georgia law gives a trial judge a lot of discretion in deciding whether or not to grant temporary alimony, (and how much). So, if you are like most people, you probably need it, and you should therefore be sure to discuss it with your divorce attorney.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Divorce "Joke of the Day!"

Okay, since we have had several "serious" posts in a row, I think it's time for.....[drum roll].....another Divorce "Joke of the Day!" (Look, as a divorce lawyer in Augusta, Georgia, I fully realize that divorce is not a joking matter. But please understand that, while we are attempting here, as a public service, to provide some helpful information and ideas about Georgia divorce for you to consider and discuss with your divorce attorney, I also want to try to make this dry topic a little bit more interesting and keep you coming back!) So, here goes.........

"Sluggo's" wife noticed that "Sluggo" kept staring at their marriage license and finally she asked him why.

"Sluggo" replied, "I'm just looking for the expiration date!"

Okay, okay, maybe you'd prefer going back to the serious posts about divorce law!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Divorce: Getting "Sluggo" to Pay for College

One question which we, (as Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyers), often get asked is: "Can I get the judge to make my spouse, "Sluggo," pay for the kids' college expenses?
The simple, unfortunate answer we generally must give is, "No." In other words, in Georgia, after the children turn eighteen, the non-custodial spouse is generally off the hook for court-ordered child support. But there still may be hope!
In other words, even though a judge may not order "Sluggo" to pay for the kids' college expenses, it is important for you to remember that this is a matter which you can raise with your divorce attorney and, with your divorce attorney's help, it can be negotiated and potentially included as part of a settlement agreement. So, don't give up on the idea. Instead, please just raise and discuss the idea with your divorce lawyer.
And please also don't forget that you should also discuss with your divorce attorney the idea of negotiating for spousal support, too, so that you, too, can afford to join your child at the University of Georgia!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Divorce and How To prove Adultery

In the last post, we discussed, (or at least I discussed and hopefully you listened!), how NOT to prove adultery. In other words, the last post dealt with problems to avoid, (such as illegally wiretapping "Sluggo's" telephone, or hacking into his computer), while trying to prove his infidelity. One of the primary points made was that you should always consult with a divorce lawyer in your area BEFORE you attempt to prove adultery.

But in this post, let's look at the issue another way: How can you prove adultery? Again, let me re-emphasize that you must talk with your divorce attorney BEFORE you "try this at home!" But here goes:

1. Get his cell phone records: If you cannot get them legitimately yourself, then your divorce lawyer should be able to subpoena them. If "Sluggo" has been talking with his new lover, "Brunhilda," then his cell phone records should give them away!

2. Get his emails: This may be difficult to accomplish, if you do not have legitimate access, but, if you do, then naturally it would be a great source of information!

3. Talk with "Sluggo's" friends or co-workers: Of course, if they are "Sluggo's" loyal friends, then they aren't likely to tell you much. But you never know until you ask.

4. Check his Facebook or other social internet networking sites: In this blog, we have warned you before about the risks that married people face by visiting popular social websites, such as Facebook or E-Harmony, before the ink is dry on their final divorce decree! But since "Sluggo" may not be so bright, then you might want to check and see if he is already "looking for love in all the wrong places!"

5. Hire a Private Investigator: Just as with each of these other ideas, you will need to carefully discuss this option with your divorce attorney. In my opinion, you and your lawyer should generally consider this option only if you have specific leads or information about "Sluggo" meeting with another lover. If you have no leads, then you may be wasting a couple of thousand dollars, or more, by paying an investigator to simply watch a house. But talk it over with your lawyer! If this idea works, then you may have just the proof you need that "Sluggo" has been "up to no good!"

Friday, October 9, 2009

Divorce and How NOT to Prove Adultery

This blog gets a lot of hits on the internet from folks looking for information about how to prove adultery. Sometimes, I wonder if adultery is like an epidemic, spreading faster than Georgia cudzu, or the swine flu, (oops, sorry, I meant the H1N1 flu!). We have touched on this topic, (that is, adultery, not cudzu or H1N1 flu!), a little bit before, and, no doubt, we will do so again. But I thought it might also be helpful to talk with you some about how NOT to try to prove adultery! Here are some ideas:

1. Thou shalt NOT hack into "Sluggo's" computer: Hacking into someone else's computer would most probably not only be illegal, but also the information you obtain would likely not be admissible in your divorce case. So, even if find pictures of your worthless spouse, "Sluggo," in the arms of "Brunhilda," the "other woman," it won't do you any good, if you break the law. On the other hand, if it is a family computer to which you have equal access, then you should discuss with your divorce lawyer about the advisability of legitimately getting the pictures of "Sluggo" snuggling with "Brunhilda."

2. Thou shalt NOT record "Sluggo's" telephone calls with others: This could also very well constitute a crime and the results of the telephone calls would not be admissible in your divorce case either! So, simply put, don't do it! Now, in some jurisdictions, including Georgia, it may be legal and permissible for you to record your OWN telephone conversations with another person. But it is critically important for you to discuss these "neat ideas" with a divorce lawyer in your state before you attempt to do any of them!

The bottom line is that, in your haste to prove "Sluggo's" infidelity, if you fail to first obtain your divorce attorney's advice, you could be getting into serious trouble and jeopardizing any hope of success in your divorce!

So, to all of you "out there" searching the internet for the truth about how (NOT) to prove adultery, I hope this post helps!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Divorce "Joke of the Day!"

As a public service, we want to give you all some practical tips and information about divorce law in Georgia. But we also try to make this dry subject a little bit entertaining, too!

So, after several "serious" posts about divorce lawyers, I am sure that you are all just waiting and hoping for a funny divorce "joke of the day," aren't you?! Well, here you go:

What do you call the divorce, or split-up, of two "not so bright" people?..............A "duh-vorce!"

I know, I know, some of you are probably saying, "We were ready and we are still waiting for a funny divorce "joke of the day!"

And the rest of you are saying: "If you want to be a stand-up comic, don't give up your day job as a divorce lawyer!"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Divorce "Tip of the Day:" Ways Your Divorce Lawyer Can Help Make Your Appointments More Productive

In the last post, we discussed how YOU, the client, can help make your appointments with your divorce attorney more productive. And yes, I promised in that post to write another one addressing how WE, the divorce lawyers, can help you, too! So, here goes:

1. Lawyers Can Be Prompt, Too: Don't you always hate it when you make an appointment with a professional person and then have to wait forever to see them?! We, at The Goolsby Law Firm, realize that YOUR time is valuable, too. As a result, we endeavor to promptly meet with you at, or very near, your appointment time!

2. Be Prepared: Just as the divorce client must do their homework and be prepared when they meet with their divorce attorney, it is equally important that the attorney be prepared, too! For instance, the divorce attorney should have all your divorce documents ready for your review when you walk in the door!

3. Be Patient: A good divorce lawyer will also be patient and carefully listen to all your questions about your divorce. This is a stressful time in your life. Also, this may be your first divorce experience. So, even though your divorce lawyer may be busy and not want to have other clients waiting, (see Number 1 above!), he or she must also realize that you deserve their full time and attention, too!

4. Be Sensitive: In the final analysis, don't you agree that the bottom line is that divorce lawyers need to be more sensitive to their clients' needs? As a divorce lawyer, I can tell you that it can be difficult, at times, not to get desensitized to all the problems inherent in handling contested divorces, especially difficult divorce cases involving child custody. But it is critical, in my opinion, that divorce attorneys must remember that you are going through a hard time and that you do not need, or deserve, a cold, uncaring advocate!

What do you think? Do you have any gripes about lawyers? Go ahead and voice your opinion here!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Divorce "Tip of the Day:" Ways You Can Help Your Divorce Lawyer

In this blog about divorce in Georgia, we always try to give you some practical tips or helpful ideas to consider in your divorce. Here are a few tips on how to make your appointments with your divorce attorney run more efficiently and productive:

1. First of all, keep your appointments! In other words, if you have a scheduled appointment, then keep it, and, if you must cancel, please call early to cancel it. As a divorce lawyer, I never cease to be amazed at how many people simply stand us up! So, please keep your appointments, or please call and cancel whenever possible!

2. Be prompt! Just as people sometimes are "no shows," you would also be amazed at how many people are often late for appointments! Naturally, sometimes there are good reasons for being late. But please always try to be on time, or early, whenever possible!

3. Be organized. Please plan beforehand exactly what documents you are supposed to bring to your appointment and do your "homework" ahead of time!

4. Write down your questions in advance (and bring them with you). This will also help make your meeting with your divorce lawyer run more efficiently.

5. Maintain your timeline or journal. Here, at The Goolsby Law Firm, we generally ask all our clients to keep and maintain a journal of all contacts with their worthless spouse, "Sluggo." This will not only help your meetings with your divorce attorney run more smoothly, but also it will help you and your attorney be better prepared when you go to court!

I hope these tips help someone "out there!" And I know some of you may be thinking: "Goolsby has all these great ideas for how clients can help their lawyers, but has he considered how lawyers can better help their clients?"

Do you have any ideas? I promise that, in a future post, I will address how lawyers can be more helpful to their clients!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Child Custody: Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody

Did you know that, under Georgia law, when you are considering the issue of child custody during a divorce, it is important for you to know the difference between legal custody and physical custody?
Legal custody refers to who gets to decide your child's "legal" issues: e.g. which doctor your kid sees, where your child goes to school, and which church your child attends. On the other hand, physical custody generally involves with which parent will the child primarily "physically" live. In many divorces, a party may have more bargaining flexibility as to legal custody than physical custody. In other words, even though you may want to fight for physical custody, you may be willing to allow your worthless spouse, "Sluggo," to have joint legal custody, (provided you are the final decision maker). Let me explain what this means.
While every situation is different, for many couples going through a divorce, you may choose to allow your spouse, "Sluggo," to have joint legal custody, provided you get to be the final decision maker, in the event of any disagreements about medical, education, or religious issues. In other words, provided you are the final decision maker, you aren't really giving much up, are you? By agreeing to joint legal custody, you are essentially just allowing "Sluggo" to feel better because he gets to have some input and access to school or health information, but, provided you are final decision maker, you would still generally get to make all the important (final) decisions concerning legal issues affecting your child's life. That is why you may be willing to bargain and possibly allow "Sluggo" to have joint legal custody, (with you as final decision maker).
However, you may still choose to draw the line by insisting on being designated the primary physical custodian, in the settlement agreement. Again, the spouse who has primary physical custody is the one with whom the child generally lives, and the one who most likely will get child support.
Again, every situation and every divorce is different. So, it is important for you to discuss your situation, and child custody issues, with your divorce lawyer. But I hope you now see some of the important distinctions between legal custody and primary physical custody! Now, let's just hope "Sluggo" doesn't read this blog, too!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Divorce "Tip of the Day:" Where to Find Answers to Your Questions About Divorce Law

Have you searched everywhere, unsuccessfully, for answers to your questions about divorce law? Well, here is an idea! Assuming you cannot find your answer in this blog about divorce law in Georgia, or from any other source, you might consider going online to findlaw, Avvo, or attorney There, you will be prompted to enter your city and state, and the type of legal problem or case. Now, you are almost home! This search should yield a number of divorce lawyers in your city and state who can help you with your specific type of legal question!

But here is one more good idea for you to consider: Scan this online list of attorneys and consider calling the law firms which offer, (as we do at The Goolsby Law Firm), a "free initial consultation."

There, I hope this idea helps and that you all get answers to your questions! But no matter where you go, no one will ever be able to answer the burning question of our time: Why is "Sluggo," your worthless spouse, so worthless?!