Friday, November 27, 2009

Military Divorce

Because we are located near Fort Gordon, a military base located near Augusta, Georgia, the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC handles a fairly large number of military divorce cases. Although the Georgia residency requirements may vary a bit for military members, and while there are some other differences, by and large, handling a military divorce case is very similar to handling any other (civilian) divorce case. In other words, military people, (and their spouses), grapple with the same divorce issues as anyone else, including issues involving child custody, child visitation, child support, alimony, adultery, cruel treatment, and everything else under the sun.
This week, the Pentagon has released information reflecting that the divorce rate for members of the United States military has gone up, from 3.4 per cent last year to 3.6 per cent this year. That translates to approximately 27,312 divorces per year out of approximately 765,000 members of the military.
So, like everyone else, many military members, (and their spouses), are getting divorced, too. And it is clear that they face the same stressors on their marriages as everyone else. But, in addition, they also must often deal with separation from their loved ones which can add stress and other problems, too.
The bottom line is that people in the military have helped protect us and they deserve to be protected and helped by divorce lawyers when they face divorce and other problems, too!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

From our family, (at The Goolsby Law Firm, LLC), to your family: Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Divorce: Do I Have To Go To Court?

As Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyers, we are often asked by prospective divorce clients, "Do I have to go to court?" The answer is: It depends! (Don't you like crisp, clear "lawyerly" answers like this?!) More specifically, it will likely depend upon whether you are getting an uncontested or contested divorce.
1. UNCONTESTED DIVORCE: If you and your spouse are getting an uncontested divorce, then you probably won't be required to physically go to court. In other words, as part of the uncontested divorce documents, your divorce attorney will prepare a document whereby the other party will essentially sign and agree that your Georgia divorce case can be disposed of without your having to go to a court hearing. Of course, it is always possible that the court may have some questions about your case and require a hearing, even with an uncontested divorce. And naturally, you will need to discuss each of these issues with your own divorce attorney.
2. CONTESTED DIVORCE: However, if it is a contested divorce, then both parties WILL be required to go to court, several times, including, at a minimum, the temporary hearing, (or thirty day conference), and a final hearing. Again, you need to discuss with your own divorce lawyer what will occur at each of these hearings and how you will need to be prepared for court.
The bottom line is: If you are getting an uncontested divorce, you may not have to go to court, (in Georgia), but, if it is contested, you almost definitely will be required to go to court, unless you quickly settle your case.
So, see ya in court, (or not)!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Celebrity Divorces: Tina Turner

How many of you are old enough to remember the much publicized divorce between legendary singer and entertainer, Tina Turner, and husband, Ike Turner, back in 1977? You might recall that, back then, Ms. Turner came forward and accused Mr. Turner of spousal abuse. You can read all about the divorce in her book. But the point here is that the divorce and abuse didn't slow down Tina Turner! (Nor should it slow you down!) And her career is still going strong. Perhaps it is fitting to include a post about her, and celebrate her accomplishments, including her many successes after her divorce, as she approaches her 70th birthday, this week, on November 26th.
Please feel free to visit her fan sites and, if you wish, listen to her music on her birthday. And here's hoping that the "big wheel" will "keep on turning" and that "proud Mary" will "keep on burning!"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Divorce Parties

Have you heard about the latest divorce fad? It's divorce parties! Believe it or not, divorce parties are reportedly one of the fastest growing types of "theme parties!" Also, naturally, Las Vegas is quickly becoming known as the "divorce party capital of the world!" And one company actually even sells "divorce coffins" in which you can symbolically place a ring and then bury it.
Every situation is different. I would imagine that, in most cases, if you have just gone through an adversarial, bruising divorce over child custody, equitable property division, or other tough divorce issues, then you probably don't feel like having a party. And most folks simply cannot afford a lavish party, after a divorce, even if they felt like it. So, let's be honest: in most cases, for most people, divorce is no laughing matter and no time to party.
But isn't it interesting to see how different people react to life's hard blows? And it is interesting, in my opinion, to see that at least some people are heading to Las Vegas and other locations to party and celebrate their new beginnings. How about you? Do you know anyone who has had a "divorce party?" What do you think about it?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Divorce "Tip of the Day:" Who Gets To Claim the Children as Dependents?

Did you realize that there are other issues involving children, in a divorce, besides child custody, child visitation, and child support, which you need to discuss with your divorce attorney?

The tip for today involves who gets to claim the kids as dependents. In other words, while you are planning your divorce from your worthless spouse, "Sluggo," you might want to consider who should get to claim your children as dependents on your income tax returns. Now, this is not a tax advice blog and you should, of course, consult with your attorney and/or accountant before doing anything. Also, generally, the party who has primary physical custody and provides most of the support for the children will likely be entitled to claim the kids. But here are at least a few ideas for you to consider when negotiating a settlement agreement with Sluggo over who gets to claim the kids on their tax returns. In other words, this is often a negotiable matter.

As divorce lawyers, we have seen some clients elect, in the settlement agreement, to take all the kids as their own dependents. Others, when there are two or more children, may negotiate to let each party take at least one child as a dependent. (It would be to your advantage to take the youngest child as your dependent, so you will get to take the deduction/exemption longer).

Finally, one other idea for you to consider, in cases in which one party makes significantly more money than the other party, is for the party making the most money to get all the dependants, but provided you both agree in the settlement agreement to split the amount realized.

So, you see, this is another topic involving children, which you might not have thought of, and which you need to discuss with your divorce attorney!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Longest Lasting Marriages

This blog focuses on Georgia divorce law, but I thought it might be fun to give you a few interesting facts about long-lasting marriages, too!
According to Wikipedia, the current, living, record-holding couple for the longest lasting marriage lives in India. Incredibly, this couple, the Thomases, have lived together for more than 86 years! But a number of other couples around the world are not far behind. Wikipedia lists 37 couples who have been married for at least 80 years! Even though we are divorce lawyers, here's hoping that these marriages will last!
Do you know of any marriages which have lasted a long time? What were the secrets to their success?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Divorce Rates Around the World

How does the divorce rate in your country compare with the divorce rate in other parts of the world? It should come as no surprise that the United States is among the divorce "leaders" with approximately 40% of all marriages ending in divorce, according to Wikipedia.

But Wikipedia has some other interesting facts, too. For example, in Europe, the divorce rates vary widely, from Belgium, which has a divorce rate of 2.9 per 1000, to Italy, with a rate of only 0.7 per 1000. This raises the question: Have folks in Italy discovered how to keep the romance alive, or are they just staying in bad marriages? What do you think?

But then you need to consider the divorce rates in India and Sri Lanka where, incredibly, according to Wikipedia, only one to one and a half per 1000 marriages end in divorce! What do you think are the reasons for these wide disparities in divorce rates from country to country?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Divorce and Condonation of Adultery

As the old saying, (attributed to Pope), goes, "To err is human; to forgive divine." Well, folks, this ain't always so!

In most contexts, "condonation," which means pardon or forgiveness, is a good thing. But depending on which side you are on, it's not necessarily a good thing in a Georgia divorce!

For example, let's assume that your divorce lawyer has alleged that your worthless spouse, "Sluggo," has been cheating on you. But let's also assume the evidence shows that, after learning about the adultery, you essentially forgave Sluggo and continued to cohabit with him for a while, before deciding to give him the boot. While every situation is different, (and while you must consult with your own divorce attorney about this issue), Georgia law may provide that, due to your condonation, you have waived or given up the possibility of using the adultery against Sluggo.

So, the bottom line is that, in my opinion, you should consult with a divorce attorney and discuss the legal consequences before you condone an adultery. To forgive Sluggo's adultery prematurely may not be so divine after all!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Divorce and A Fair to Remember in Paris!

Did you read the title to this post incorrectly? Did you initially think it read "Divorce and Affairs to Remember in Paris?!" Well, I hate to disappoint you, but this post deals with the reported divorce fairs, (not "affairs!"), now being held in Paris, France!
It appears that the French, who, like us, have seen their own divorce rates sky rocket, from about 50,000 divorces three decades ago, to 130,000 divorces in 2007, have decided to capitalize on the situation by conducting a "divorce fair." At the fair, over sixty booths feature counselors, lawyers, self esteem coaches, and others, even tarot card readers--all focused on helping people deal with divorce-related issues.
So, fairs aren't just about ferris wheels and cotton candy any more! Also, "a fair" has a far different meaning from "affair!" Maybe you should all visit Paris and have your cards read, too, while you are there! Who knows what else might happen in Paris! And please don't forget to visit us, too, at The Goolsby Law Firm Georgia divorce lawyers' booth, located near the Eiffel Tower!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Celebrity Divorces: Zsa Zsa Gabor

No blog about divorce law would be complete without at least one post dedicated to celebrity divorcee and actress, Zsa Zsa Gabor.

According to Wikipedia, Ms. Gabor, who is presently 92 years old, has been married nine times and divorced seven times, (with one marriage being annulled).

I have always enjoyed the popular, funny quote attributed by many to Ms. Gabor:
"I'm a marvelous housekeeper. Whenever I get divorced, I keep the house!"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Celebrity Divorces: Jim Nantz

So, do you think your divorce went badly? Were you "taken to the cleaners?" I guess everything is relative.

For instance, consider the reported divorce case of great American sportscaster Jim Nantz. According to published news reports, a Connecticutt divorce judge has ordered Nantz, among other things, to pay his wife of 26 years a whopping $916,000.00 per year in alimony and child support. Fortunately for Nantz, who is 50, the judge also reportedly ruled that the Nantz divorce was not caused by his alleged dating a 29 year old woman before the divorce was final. This divorce order may sound excessive. But again, everything is relative. According to Wikipedia, the well-to-do Nantz makes in excess of $4 million per year!

So, even if you believe Nantz was "taken to the cleaners," you should still recognize that he can still afford to buy a few dry cleaners, too!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Divorce and Name Changes

Here's some happy news for those of you considering a divorce! Do you like freebies? Well, here's one for you to consider! Did you know that, when you get a divorce in Georgia, your divorce attorney can ask the judge, in the divorce pleadings, to restore either your maiden name, or another prior name, at no additional cost to you? Isn't that great?! This divorce "freebie" is in addition to the free "extra divorce" you are getting from your mother-in-law!

Of course, if you have children, you may decide not to go back to your maiden name. In other words, you may choose to keep the same last name as your kids. Also, you may not want the hassle of having to go to Social Security or the Department of Motor Vehicles to change your last name. But the point is: it is up to you to decide this!

So, after your divorce is final, you will no longer have to see your mother-in-law and you no longer have to be called "Mrs. Sluggo!" Life doesn't get much better than this, does it?!