Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Adultery Around the World: The Case of Sakineh Ashtiani

[Photo of Sakineh Ashtiani from guardian.co.uk]
As Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyers, we sometimes receive questions about the consequences of adultery in Georgia divorce cases.  And the consequences of cheating, if proven, can be serious in a divorce.  But  everything is relative.  Have you been following the tragic case of Iranian prisoner Sakineh Ashtiani?  This poor Iranian woman was convicted of adultery in Iran back in 2006 and, incredibly, the Iranian government has been trying to put her to death ever since!

Initially, she was sentenced by Iranian authorities to death by stoning.  Perhaps international pressure and focus on the case has prevented that unjust, inhumane outcome.  But now, this week, the Iranian Judiciary has announced that it is considering death by hanging as an alternative punishment.  This is outrageous!

Hopefully, the international spotlight will remain focused on this tragic case and will cause the Iranian Judiciary to back away from this proposed punishment for alleged adultery, too.

So, as you can see, while you should be concerned about and you should discuss the consequences of adultery with your own divorce attorney, at least, here, and in most other parts of the civilized world, no one faces the death penalty for it.  And that's the way it ought to be.  Don't you agree?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas From The Goolsby Law Firm!


From our family of lawyers, at the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC, in Augusta, Georgia, USA, we simply want to wish each of you and your families around the world:  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Celebrity Divorces and Separations: Debra Messing and Daniel Zelman

[Photo of Debra Messing from wikpedia]
According to various news reports, actress Debra Messing, star of the popular t.v. sitcom Will & Grace, separated earlier this year from her husband of ten years, Daniel Zelman.  The couple has one son.

This appears to be yet another example of a Hollywood couple which has quietly separated this year without immediately attracting media attention.

As you probably know, Ms. Messing has had a number of major acting roles and has also won an Emmy for her fine work.  I especially enjoyed her portrayal of Lisa Kramer in the Ben Stiller comedy, Along Came Polly.  You will recall that Messing's character cheated with the French scuba instructor, (played by actor Hank Azaria), while on a honeymoon with her (movie) husband, Reuben Feffer, (played by Stiller).

Hopefully, Ms. Messing (and her soon-to-be ex), will each continue to find happiness and success in their respective careers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Celebrity Break Ups and Separations

[Photo of Sam Shepard from wikipedia]
Have you heard the news?  According to various reports, actor-playwright Sam Shepard and his long-time companion, award-winning actress, Jessica Lange, had split up approximately two years ago.  The talented couple had reportedly been together as a couple for nearly three decades before the break up.  Shepard will always be one of my favorite actors for his portrayal of Chuck Yaeger in The Right Stuff. 

One thing about this news report which most surprised me is that it took Hollywood's inquiring minds two years to learn about and report it!  You should check out all the amazing work done by these two fine actors, including Ms. Lange's incredible charitable efforts. 

Here's hoping that they both have moved on and found happiness.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Divorce and Georgia's Child Support Guidelines


As Augusta, Georgia divorce attorneys, we frequently receive telephone calls at the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC, about the topic of child support.  (Our divorce lawyers--father and son--offer free initial consultations in Georgia divorce cases).  Many of the callers have good questions about how much child support they can expect to receive, following their divorce, and how the child support is calculated.  Here are a few tips about child support in Georgia:

1.  First of all, it is important to understand that Georgia no longer simply bases child support on the income of the non-custodial parent.  Instead, a few years ago, Georgia elected to go to and utilize the current child support guidelines, which take both parents' incomes into account.  If one of the parents is unemployed, sometimes, the judge will impute minimum wage to that parent in making the calculation.

2.  Second, while it is possible for anyone to figure out for themselves how to work through the child support guidelines, in many divorce cases, the guidelines can be complicated, or difficult, to follow.  As a result, we recommend that you retain your own divorce lawyer to help you with child support issues, along with all other issues in your divorce.

There--that's my practical divorce tips of the day!  Maybe, next, we can find some more interesting news about celebrity divorces, or perhaps a divorce joke!  Have a great week!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Celebrity Divorces and Separations: Lindsey Vonn and Thomas Vonn

[Photo of Olympic Skier Lindsey Vonn from wikipedia]
As Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyers, we help people get through both difficult and relatively easy divorces, including both contested and uncontested divorces.  Divorces can be a major distraction in clients' daily lives. 

But sometimes, going through a divorce will not be as big a distraction, for some people, as some people might think.  For example, various news reports indicate that America's fantastic Olympic gold medalist, Lindsey Vonn, skied one of her best downhill races ever this past weekend at a World Cup event in Alberta, Canada.

Just a week or so earlier, Ms. Vonn had reportedly filed for divorce from her ski coach and husband, Thomas Vonn, after a four-year marriage.  And yet, she then managed to win one of her finest races on the slopes!  While her divorce may, (or may not), still be difficult, the point is that she still somehow managed to cope and not to allow it to be a distraction on the slopes. 

Again, I guess her example illustrates the fact that each divorce is different and that divorce affects people in different ways.  Do you believe women cope better than men during a divorce?  What do you think?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Divorce and How You Can Prove Adultery


Did you hear Dr. Phil's observation about how you can tell when somebody is cheating, running around, or committing adultery?

According to Dr. Phil, you know they are up to no good "when they drop the linen and they're grinnin'!"

Dr. Phil's observation pretty well sums it up about infidelity!  Don't you agree!?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How Much Do Georgia Divorces Cost, Or Is the Cheapest Divorce Lawyer the Best?

[Photo from usstudents.org]
Look, we all like bargains, don't we?  But when you are looking for a divorce lawyer to handle your divorce, is it always best to go with the cheapest divorce attorney you can find?

Naturally, since we are Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyers, you wouldn't expect us to recommend that you always simply go with the cheapest lawyer out there, would you?  But, as a matter of fact, the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC, offers some of the most affordable rates, particularly for uncontested divorces, in our entire community.  We recommend you consider the following additional tips when you are selecting the best divorce lawyer for your divorce:

1. RECOMMENDATIONS FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS:  Before you retain a divorce lawyer, we strongly recommend that you talk with trusted family members and friends about good, affordable divorce attorneys in your community.  For instance, while one divorce attorney might be cheap, if your best friend has had a bad experience with that attorney, then you might want to consider that important information and pick someone else!

2.  MEET WITH THE DIVORCE ATTORNEY BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO RETAIN THEM:  We also generally recommend that you meet with a prospective attorney -- whether they come highly recommended, or whether you found them in the telephone book, or online -- before you make a decision about retaining them.  In other words, make an appointment, sit down with them, and ask questions about them and about your divorce case.  While some law firms charge a fee for such a meeting, we, at the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC, generally offer free initial consultations.

In short, we recommend that you shouldn't simply look for the cheapest lawyer out there to handle your divorce and all your important legal issues, ranging from child custody, to property division, to alimony.  Instead, you should investigate!  Please talk with family and friends, and meet with the prospective divorce attorney, before you make this important decision.  While cost may be a factor, it should not be the only factor.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Divorce and Depositions: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

[Photo from videomissouri.com]
As Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyers, we sometimes find it necessary to take the deposition of the opposing party in a divorce case.  But have you thought about the reasons why divorce attorneys might choose to take a deposition in a divorce case?  Of course, we are referring to contested divorces in this discussion.  If you and your worthless spouse, "Sluggo," are getting a simple, uncontested divorce, then you won't likely be discussing the idea of taking his deposition with your divorce attorney. Consider the following reasons, (among many others), as to why divorce lawyers sometimes take depositions:

1.  TO OBTAIN DEFINITIVE ANSWERS FROM "SLUGGO" ABOUT FINANCIAL MATTERS:
Sometimes, it becomes necessary to try to pin down a spouse about how and where they have spent money, or who they spent it on.  In other words, by deposing the other party, you can hopefully obtain some definitive answers, under oath, about where the money is located.  Interrogatories and other discovery tools can also be useful, but, sometimes, it helps to be able to "lock in" "Sluggo" face to face!

2.  TO OBTAIN DEFINITIVE PROOF ABOUT "SLUGGO'S" ADULTERY AND/OR OTHER FAULT GROUNDS:
In some divorce cases, it also becomes necessary to try to obtain clear evidence that the other party has committed adultery.  Even if "Sluggo" doesn't come clean about his infidelity, or his lyin' and cheating, he may still slip up and provide some leads, or make some admissions, which can be useful at a final hearing, or jury trial.

These are just a couple of reasons why divorce attorneys might take depositions. Depositions are not really helpful in every case.  Also, they can get expensive, so cost is one important factor to consider.  Of course, it is important that you discuss all the facts and issues in your own divorce case with your own divorce lawyer before you decide to "make Sluggo's day" by deposing him! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Divorce and Mediation: Formal Mediation and Informal Mediation

[Scales of Justice Image from wikipedia]
As Augusta, Georgia divorce attorneys, we often assist our divorce clients by resolving various issues in their divorce cases through mediation.  Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral party, the mediator, facilitates an open dialogue between the parties, (and their divorce lawyers), with a goal of resolving disputed issues without a trial.

Our Augusta, Georgia judges generally require mediation to be tried before they will allow the parties to proceed to a final hearing.

Of course, there are many trained mediators who are skilled at getting warring litigants to the table to discuss possible solutions to their cases.  As divorce attorneys, we often marvel at how some mediators are gifted in getting some difficult cases settled!

While this formal mediation works in some cases, this is not the only method of settlement.  Informal mediation, without a mediator, is still available.  In short, as divorce lawyers, we sometimes attempt informal mediation to resolve issues, such as alimony, and debt, or property, division.  In other words, we simply arrange a face-to-face meeting, (in some divorce cases), with the other divorce attorney and their client, (and us with our client), and simply sit down, across a conference room table, (without a go-between, or mediator), and attempt to negotiate a settlement on our own. 

Informal and formal mediation do not work in every divorce case.  If not, you may still have to go to a final hearing, or trial, and let the judge make the call.  We recommend that you discuss each of these mediation ideas or methods with your own divorce lawyer.

What is your opinion of mediation as a way to resolve divorce disputes?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Divorce "Joke of the Day"

[Illustration and George Burns Quote from pollsb.com]
As Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyers, we generally blog about good, practical divorce tips and information for you to discuss with your own divorce attorney.  Occasionally, we also enjoy discussing various issues raised by celebrity breakups and divorces.  Finally, sometimes, in our ongoing effort to try to keep this blog interesting, we even offer...............a divorce "joke of the day!"  So, here goes:

Question:  How do you feel when you learn the judge has cited and held your worthless ex, "Sluggo," in contempt for failure to pay child support?

Answer: "Ex-cited!"

Okay, okay, I understand you probably prefer we go back to a post about divorce tips next time!  Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Celebrity Separations and Divorces: The Kim Kardashian Saga Continues!

[Photo of Kim Kardashian from wikipedia]
During the past week, the news reports have kept on churning out about Kim Kardashian's decision to file for divorce, after only 72 days of marriage, from pro basketball player Kris Humphries.  For instance, there have been reports that the Kardashians have made millions off the recent t.v. marriage.  Some also claim the marriage was a sham in the first place. (The Kardashians have adamantly denied these reports and, frankly, we submit that no one in the media really knows what they are talking about). 

Also, Kim reportedly flew to Minnesota, (where Kris is reportedly from), during this past week, to seek marriage counseling with Kris, and aided by the pastor who presided over their ill-fated marriage.

In addition, the Kardashians bore the brunt of a very unflattering spoof performed by various cast members on Saturday Night Live.

Finally, today, I have read reports about an alleged "backlash" by a cynical public against the Kardashians over what has been reported by some as a sham marriage.  Again, in my opinion, while the cynics might be right about some things, no one really knows the truth here.  Is it all just a public relations disaster?  In my opinion, no one knows other than Kim and Kris, and those are really the only two people who can work to resolve this matter, one way or the other.

What do you think?
 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Celebrity Divorces and Separations: Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries

[Photo of Kim Kardashian from wikipedia]
Wow!  I am sure you have heard the various news reports, by now, indicating that model and reality star Kim Kardashian has filed for divorce from her pro basketball husband, Kris Humphries, after only 72 days of marriage.  According to reports, the divorce filing by Ms. Kardashian cites "irreconcilable differences."

Again, Ms. Kardashain has filed for divorce after only 72 days!  What is your opinion?  Isn't it possible, in some marriages, that some spouses realize, early on, that a mistake has occurred, and that it is best to end a marriage sooner, rather than later?  Are there other possible reasons?  Are there better solutions?  What do you think? 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Divorce Lawyers, Television, and Law Call

[Photo of t.v. set from vectordiary.com]
I had an interesting experience last evening.  I was invited to be the guest speaker to field questions on the local "Law Call" television show.  I'll bet you have a similar t.v. program where you live.  Folks call in and ask a lawyer about their law-related questions.

One of the interesting features about this t.v. experience was that I learned you have time for only a few questions.  And when technical problems with the telephone lines occur, I learned you must be flexible and keep going on!

One question I answered dealt with the difference between an uncontested and contested divorce.  Of course, each of you who follows this divorce blog already knows the difference!

I enjoyed this t.v. experience and appreciate my Augusta lawyer friend, Vic Hawk, for asking me to appear on the program!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How Long Does It Take For A Georgia Divorce To Become Final?


As Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyers, we are often asked, "How long will it take for my divorce to become final?"  The answer is.....it depends!

Actually, the length of a divorce proceeding may depend, in part, on whether it is an uncontested divorce or contested divorce.
 
1. SIMPLE, UNCONTESTED DIVORCES:
A simple, uncontested divorce in Georgia will generally take only a couple of months, after filing, in order to become final.  In other words, under Georgia law, generally, the divorce documents must remain in the clerk's office for a month before the file can be sent by the clerk to the judge's office, where it might take up to another month, or so, before a final divorce decree is signed.  Of course, if there are any problems, such as one of the parties is late in getting the mandated children of divorce seminar completed, then the divorce could take longer before it is approved by the court.

2. CONTESTED DIVORCES:
Contested divorces are a different ballgame! It is much more difficult, as a Georgia divorce attorney, to predict how long a contested divorce might take.  More simply put, we generally will not even attempt to guess!  In part, the length of time it takes will depend upon the reasonableness of both parties.  In other words, if both parties can cooperate and quickly negotiate a fair settlement, then a contested divorce can be resolved relatively quickly.  However, if the parties are fighting each other, tooth and nail, on complex issues ranging from child custody, to property division, to alimony, to adultery, to who gets the family cat, then it might take a number of months, or even a year, or more, of hearings and mediation, before the final decree is signed!  In short, every divorce is different, so it is impossible to guess precisely how long the entire process will take.

Of course, these are all matters which you should discuss with your own divorce lawyer!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Common Search Terms Leading to Divorce Lawyer in Augusta, Georgia


As you may know, we are the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC, a father and son law firm which handles divorces, criminal cases, and other types of legal matters in Augusta, Georgia.  I also blog about Georgia divorce law, (in this blog), and about criminal law in my other blog, (http://www.whitecollarcrimeingeorgia.blogspot.com/). 

If you also blog, you probably sometimes wonder, like me, about how people find your blogs/posts.  As for this blog, while it is not scientific, I have noticed a pattern of common google (and yahoo) search terms which have generally led people to this site.  They often include:

1. Divorce Lawyers (or Divorce Attorneys) in Augusta Georgia:  I guess that should come as no surprise to anyone.  (See blog title above!)

2. Celebrity Separations and Divorces:  These key terms are probably no surprise, either, because I frequently post about various celebrity divorces.  Perhaps the most common search in this category which leads to this blog involves people who are curious about actress Michelle Pfeiffer.  (Of course, in this blog, I have cited her marriage to producer David E. Kelley as an example of a Hollywood success story).

3. Adultery:  Since this is a blog by a Georgia divorce lawyer, it should also come as no surprise that many people come here by searching for information about adultery, or infidelity.  But it might surprise you to learn that we get a lot of hits from people wanting to know if you can go to jail, or to Hell, for committing adultery!

What common key words lead folks to your blog? 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Divorce, Child Custody Battles, and the Seal Beach, California Shooting Incident


At the time of this posting, while the reported details are still sketchy, it appears, based upon various news reports, that the tragic shooting and killing of eight people by a lone gunman at a Seal Beach, California beauty salon, Salon Meritage, may have been related to a child custody battle.  In short, based upon initial reports, it appears that a 42 year-old man, Scott DeKraai, who was arrested by police less than a mile away from the salon, had reportedly been engaged in a bitter child custody battle with a salon employee over their son.

Look, no one know if the initial news reports are true.  And naturally, no one should contest the fact that Mr. DeKraai is entitled to his fair day in court.  But it is also true, as this tragic incident may illustrate, and as every divorce lawyer knows, child custody battles can sometimes get ugly -- really ugly.  And sometimes, sadly, child custody disputes lead to violence.

Are there any solutions?  Perhaps we can consider that topic on another day.  But today, our thoughts and prayers go out to each of the victims of this tragedy and to each of their families.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How to Determine the Duration of Alimony and New Trends


THE DURATION OF ALIMONY AND THE NEW TREND:
As Augusta, Georgia divorce attorneys, we are often asked by folks about how Georgia judges (or juries) determine the amount of alimony in a divorce case and how long such alimony must be paid.  Today, let's focus only on the latter question -- about the length or duration of alimony.  Simply put, generally, in Georgia, while there are guidelines, a judge has complete discretion to determine how long he or she believes alimony should be paid.  Put another way, while a judge will consider the length of the marriage, and the parties' needs and ability to pay, (among other factors), in determining the amount of alimony, the judge generally also has  a lot of discretion in determining the length of time or duration in which it must be paid. 

But judges have common sense.  For example, in theory, it is possible that a party in a short-term marriage of two or three years could get permanent alimony.  But that is not likely to happen.  However, the point is that, in Georgia, generally, judges retain complete discretion to decide the duration of alimony. But that's in Georgia.  What about other states?  Are there any new trends or new approaches in states' alimony statutes?

FLORIDA'S NEW ALIMONY STATUTE:
In Florida, in 2010, their state legislature reportedly enacted a new alimony statute which essentially divides marriages into three categories, based upon duration.  Short-term marriages are defined as marriages less than 7 years; moderate, 7-17 years; and long-term marriages are defined as longer than 17 years.  These three categories, in turn, help determine the duration of alimony payments.

MASSACHUSETTS' NEW ALIMONY STATUTE:
Also, in Massachusetts, just last week, their state legislature passed a new law which similarly limits the duration of alimony payments based upon the length, or duration, of the marriage.  For instance, now, in Massachusetts, for long-term marriages, (i.e. defined as being more than 20 years), alimony will end at retirement age.  And now -- get this -- under their new law, if you have been married for 5 years, or less, the duration of alimony will now reportedly be automatically capped at 50% of the number of months you were married. 

In other words, there appears to be a trend toward "fixing" alimony statutes by limiting a judges' discretion as to the duration of alimony.  Of course, you should consult with a divorce lawyer in your own state about your own state's laws about divorce and alimony!

What is your opinion of this trend and these statutory changes in some states which limit the duration of alimony based upon the duration of the marriage?  Should their be statutory limitations, or should judges retain the discretion to decide how long alimony should be paid?

SLUGGO'S "TREND:"
Of course, if you were married to a worthless spouse, like "Sluggo," you would be happy if he would get off his lazy "trend" and make even one alimony payment!  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Celebrity Divorces and Separations: James Marsden and Lisa Linde

[Photo of James Marsden from wikipedia]
Well, it appears that another Hollywood marriage has bitten the dust.  According to various news reports, Lisa Linde, the spouse of actor James Marsden since 2000, filed for divorce last week from the popular actor and star of Straw  Dogs and the X-Men films.  The couple have two children.  Ms. Linde is the daughter of famous country music singer Dennis Linde.

According to a representative for the couple, while the marriage may be broken, the couple will remain "good friends."  That statement sounds good, doesn't it?  But is it really true? 

Hopefully, they will, in fact, remain "good friends."  Don't you agree that it is possible for a divorcing couple, at a minimum, to at least mildly tolerate each other, for the sake of their children?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Celebrity Separations and Divorces: Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher

[Photo from Wikipedia]
I am sorry I have been away from the blogging world for the past week!  As an Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyer, (who also handles personal injury, criminal defense, and countless other legal matters), I have really been busy! I feel like I have been jumpin' and steppin' on alligators all week -- with both feet!  But it's nice to be back to blogging!

Have you heard the news reports about an alleged potential split between Hollywood actors Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore?  You will have to read elsewhere about all the sordid allegations -- including allegations of adultery.  In fairness, probably no one in the entertainment media really knows the truth about such allegations.  But smut --whether true or not -- sells rags, doesn't it?  However, in any event, such smutty allegations are not the point of this post, anyway. 

The point of this post is that, as the Moore-Kutcher marriage has clearly demonstrated, (at least, until now), marriages between older women and younger men can, and do, work.  As you may know, Ms. Moore is 48; Ashton Kutcher, the new star of Two and a Half Men, is only 33.  They have been married for 6 years.  So, no matter what happens between them now, don't you agree that this case shows that such marriages can work?  Put another way, does age really matter?  Do May-December romances really work?  What is your opinion?

Okay, now I must put back on my divorce attorney hat and commence steppin' on alligator heads again!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Reasons Why People Divorce: The Mysterious Case of the "Lovey-Dovey Divorce"

[Photo from freephotos.co.uk]
As Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyers, we never know what to expect when divorcing couples walk in the door to sign their uncontested divorce documents.  What will be their reactions, or emotional state?  In some divorces, the parties are understandably upset.  In other divorce cases, one party, or the other, may be angry.  And sometimes, they simply remain silent, or stoic.  But then, there is that one case, as a divorce attorney, which I will never forget.  It was the case which I call the "lovey-dovey divorce."

It was a bright, sunny day--just a couple of years ago.  The two parties had arrived at our law offices separately.  Looking out my office window, I could see them, husband and wife, as they paused and warmly embraced, before they entered.  Then, they walked into our offices, hand-in-hand, together.

While going over the divorce documents, it appeared that they could not keep their hands off each other.  He laughed at her witty quips.  They also freely smiled at each other.  In short, they looked more like excited, new lovers than a couple going through a divorce!  But in spite of all their smiles and touches, and their furtive, flirting glances, they each dutifully signed the divorce documents and left!

After they left, I couldn't resist my own furtive glance out the window.  There, I witnessed another warm embrace.  Finally, they each got into their own automobiles and drove away, separately.

Why were they so happy and so warm to each other?  Why were they getting a divorce?  What do you think?  We will never know!  But this was the case of the "lovey-dovey divorce!"  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reverend Pat Robertson, Divorce, and Alzheimer's Disease: Is It Okay to Divorce a Sick or Dying Spouse?

[Photo from wikipedia]
Whether you love him or hate him, you must admit that the Reverend Pat Robertson has an uncanny affinity for making controversial statements which attract attention.  What do you think of Robertson's latest statement about divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's disease? 

According to various reports, this past week, Rev. Robertson essentially told viewers of "The 700 Club" television program that it is okay to divorce your spouse, if he or she has Alzheimer's disease, because the condition is a "kind of death."  In fairness, he added that you should first make sure that your sick spouse is taken care of.  But what do you think of his controversial views about divorce from a dying spouse? 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Celebrity Separations and Divorces: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston

[Photo from wikipedia]
Why do some celebrities have to open their mouths and bash their exes?  If you believe actor Brad Pitt, he opened his mouth this week, during an interview for this Sunday's Parade magazine, but he didn't intend to bash his ex, actress Jennifer Aniston. 

Of course, Pitt and Aniston were married from 2000 until 2005, when he met his new (and current) girl friend, Angelina Jolie, on the movie set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  (It is also important to point out that Pitt and Jolie have denied they committed adultery before Pitt and Aniston were divorced).

But you read the interview and decide for yourself about Pitt's comments and whether or not they were directed, in any way, at Aniston.  According to various news reports, during the interview, among other things, Pitt described his life, while he was married to Aniston, as dull and "pathetic."

Since the interview, Pitt has tried to make amends, by complimenting Aniston, and by emphasizing that he was only talking about his own life and career, and not about his marriage or about Aniston.

Who knows?  Maybe, Pitt's explanation is correct.  Maybe he wasn't bashing Aniston.  But maybe this incident also illustrates that celebrities, just like regular folks, should simply not open their mouths and say anything which could ever be construed as negative about their exes!  And this rule is especially true if the party was once married to, and then divorced, "America's Sweetheart!"

Don't you agree?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Celebrity Separations and Divorces: Eva Longoria and Tony Parker

[Photo from wikipedia]
Sometimes, celebrities must try to answer some really dumb questions from the media!  If you were asked, like actress Eva Longoria, following a recent divorce, whether you would ever marry again, what would be your answer?

According to various news reports, Ms. Longoria gave a pretty good response to this question, in my opinion.  She basically said that she has not given it a lot of thought and that no woman, after recently getting a divorce, could really give a truthful answer!

Don't you agree that this is a fair response?  After all, Ms. Longoria's divorce from basketball star Tony Parker was just finalized earlier this year.  And while we all can probably safely predict that the Desperate Housewives star will not be desperate to re-marry any time soon, it is equally true that no one, including her, (or you, if you have recently gone through a dvorce), knows what the future may hold.

So, that is why, in my opinion, as an Augusta, Georgia divorce attorney, Ms. Longoria gave a truthful response to a dumb question!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Divorce, Child Support, and Advice to Deadbeat Dads

[Photo from childfun.net]
As you can imagine, because we are Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyers who offer free initial consultations, every day, we receive numerous telephone and email inquiries about Georgia divorces.  In response, we earnestly attempt to give good, sound information about Georgia divorce law.  Also, we always encourage each caller or writer to discuss their divorce questions with their own divorce attorney.  Finally, we also always try to be polite to callers and writers to the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC!

Sometimes, we get questions about divorce which stump us.  In other words, divorce attorneys are not legal encyclopedias.  We simply do not always have the answers without doing legal research.

And sometimes, we get questions for which there are no good responses, or, at least, there isn't a response which the caller or writer wants to hear.  One example of this type of question involves inquiries from so-called "deadbeat dads."  I really don't like to use this term, because, as I have explained before, it unfairly casts a shadow over all dads and ignores the fact that most fathers DO, in fact, support their children.

But a fairly common question we receive from some so-called "deadbeat dads" is:  "How can I surrender my parental rights?"  The answer we generally give is: "You can't!"  In other words, generally, no Georgia judge would (nor should) allow a father to avoid paying child support and simply walk away from their parental responsibilities.  If your spouse won't allow you child visitation, then, generally, your best remedy is to take 'em back to court, in a contempt action, rather than to try to avoid paying child support!

Sometimes, I also want to add that I believe the caller or writer should stop procreating and should consider getting a vasectomy!  But I generally keep such advice to myself!  Like I said, we always try to be polite to callers and writers to the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Divorce, Anger Management, and Driving Cars Through Courthouses

Have you ever gotten so angry that you have completely lost control of your temper and every shred of your common sense?  Divorce can apparently do that to some people. 

According to news reports, a South Georgia bailiff, reportedly angry about a recent divorce, got so angry that he attempted to drive his Mercedes through a courthouse entrance.  Fortunately, a brick planter stopped his futile effort.  But unfortunately, the poor man now reportedly faces criminal charges, in addition to whatever problems got him so upset about his divorce.

As Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyers, we see it all.  We often see folks who maintain an incredible calmness, even while their angry, worthless spouses harass and bedevil them.  But we also sometimes see people get as mad as wet hens when they are wronged by their spouses, or exes.  And we also sometimes see people held in contempt of court because of their anger management issues.  The point is that you should get control, and get help, but not get even.

Another related point is that, if you are going through a divorce, you should never let your temper get you into trouble.  Then, you still have your original problems, plus, like this poor South Georgia man, you also have your new problems, too!  And that may include having to get your Mercedes fixed, too!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Celebrity Separations and Child Custody and Visitation Issues: Halle Berry

[Photo from wikipedia]
An interesting issue involving child visitation was illustrated in a news story reported by TMZ this week.  According to TMZ and other news sources, Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry was back in court this week with her lawyers to settle a child visitation issue with model Gabriel Aubry, her former lover and the father of their three year old child.  The issue reportedly involved how much visitation Mr. Aubry can have with their child while Ms. Berry is away filming movies. 

Although you may not be a movie star, a similar issue can arise following your separation or divorce, too.  For instance, if you have primary physical custody, but you have a job which sometimes takes you out of town, your ex may seek additional visitation rights.  In other words, your ex may seek, in a divorce modification action, additional child visitation rights, (or may even seek a change as to child custody).  Generally, your ex's argument will be that having the child stay with a parent, (while you are away), is preferable to the child staying with other relatives or in daycare.

Of course, every family law case is different.  In short, if this issue arises in your case, you should consult with your divorce lawyer as soon as possible.  According to TMZ, Ms. Berry reportedly came out of this hearing pretty good, and you may come out okay, too!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rumors of Celebrity Separations and Divorce: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

[Photo from wikipedia]
I am a big fan of actor Will Smith.  While I wasn't crazy about his television series, Fresh Prince of Belair, I have really enjoyed several of his fantastic movies, including Men in Black and I Am Legend.  So, I really hated to hear and read the reported Hollywood gossip about alleged problems in his 13 year marriage to fine actress Jada Pinkett Smith.  I also hate it that, whether or not any of the rumors are true, the Hollywood press probably won't leave the couple alone.

We have discussed in this divorce blog before about all the stressors placed by Hollywood and by acting careers on celebrity marriages.  Look, celebrity couples can have marital problems just like everyone else.  And it may be true that many celebrity marriages do end in separation and divorce.  But not all celebrity marriages end in separation or divorce.  And it is equally true that it is a shame that Hollywood couples generally find it much more difficult than most other couples to address any potential issues in private.

Here's hoping that this fine acting couple will find some peace and happiness!  What do you think?  Don't you agree that, generally, the media spotlight could exacerbate any potential marital problems?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Filing For Divorce First: Does It Really Matter?

[Photo from hope-church.tv]
In this blog about divorce in Georgia, we enjoy discussing issues which arise in celebrity divorces.  We also include posts about movies dealing with divorce and even a few divorce jokes of the day!  But we also enjoy including some practical divorce tips and information for you to discuss with your own divorce attorney.  Today, we address the question of whether or not it matters who files for divorce first.

So, you have finally decided to divorce your worthless spouse, "Sluggo!" Now, you wonder -- does it really matter who files for divorce first?  In other words, should you be concerned about racing Sluggo to the courthouse?

As an Augusta, Georgia divorce attorney, I can tell you that, generally, it does not matter who files for a divorce first.  In other words, even if Sluggo files a divorce complaint and gets your served first, you and your divorce lawyer will still be able to file an answer and counterclaim, and set forth all your facts and legal arguments.

That being said, as a divorce attorney, I have also seen some circumstances in which filing first may provide some advantage.  For instance, if you are concerned about your spouse moving away, then you should discuss with your divorce lawyer the importance of getting him or her served before they leave the area.

Also, in some cases, I have seen some psychological advantage in the idea of "going first" and getting Sluggo served first.  In other words, in some cases, if Sluggo is a control freak and believes that he can control how and when you get a divorce, then there might be some advantage in taking away the control and having a deputy put divorce documents in his hands!

So, in the final analysis, in most divorce cases, it may not matter who gets to the courthouse first.  However, in some divorce cases, there might be some advantage in filing first for a divorce and "making Sluggo's day!" Of course, every divorce is different and we recommend that you discuss all your rights and options with your own divorce attorney!   

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Is It Really "Your Thing?" Or Can You Really Cheat Or "Do What You Wanna Do" Before Your Divorce Is Final?


[Photo from users.rowan.edu]
Do you remember the classic 1960's song, "It's Your Thing," by the Isley Brothers?  If so, then you will recall that the song's lyrics essentially suggest that, because it's "your thing," then you can "do what you wanna do" and "sock it" to whomever you want and, presumably, whenever you want!

But is this song really true in all situations?  More particularly, is it really "your thing," during a divorce, and can you "sock it" to whomever you want, and whenever you want, even before your divorce is final?  In other words, is it okay to cheat, or commit adultery, even before the ink on your divorce decree is dry?

As divorce lawyers in Augusta, Georgia, in our opinion, our plain, simple answer to this important question is "NO!"  It is NOT okay!  In other words, generally speaking, (and from a legal standpoint), in a Georgia divorce, it is NOT okay to cheat, or date, or commit adultery, or run around, or do "your thing" until after your divorce is final!  There are too many potential ramifications and too many potential adverse consequences, of cheating, to discuss here.  Be sure to consult with your own divorce attorney.  But a couple of examples should suffice.  

For instance, proof of cheating, even long after the separation, might tend to support your spouse's claim that adultery also occurred before the separation.  In addition, if you are out partying and "running around" while the divorce is pending, it could potentially have an impact on the issue of which party would make the best custodial parent in a child custody battle.  Again, talk with your own divorce lawyer about this issue!

Look, as divorce attorneys, we realize that you are, in reality, going to "do what you wanna do."  But our job, as divorce lawyers, is not to slap you on the back and approve everything you "wanna do."  Our role is to provide information and sound advice, even if it is not what you want to hear.

Can you imagine my surprise when I recently read another divorce lawyer's blog in which that divorce attorney essentially suggested that it is okay to cheat during a divorce?!  Actually, the lawyer basically suggested that it is okay to cheat before your divorce is final, but just don't get caught! 

Well, you won't hear that same advice, or opinion, at the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC!  As you know, we are divorce lawyers in Augusta, Georgia -- in the heart of the Bible Belt.  Maybe things are handled differently in divorce cases in other places.  And maybe it is okay to do "your thing" in other jurisdictions. 

But in Georgia, if you are going through a divorce, again, you should discuss the potential impact of adultery on your divorce with your own divorce lawyer.  And, if you ask us, from a legal standpoint, while it may be "your thing," you shouldn't "do what you wanna do," until after the divorce is final. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Divorce, Divorce Costs, and the "Good Old Days!"

[Photo from geenvillecountyva.gov]
Let's face it.  Not everything was good about the "good old days!"  But some things about getting a divorce were arguably better "way back when" than they are today.  Frankly, in my opinion, as an Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyer, we all should take a few lessons from our grandparents about how lawsuits were handled "back in the day!"  

Here are just a couple of examples of how we could improve divorce procedures. I got some of these ideas from a conversation I recently had with a kind, elderly gentleman who got a divorce over 65 years ago!

1. REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF DIVORCE PAPERWORK: 
The increase in the amount and number of court documents and paperwork was one of the things I discussed with this elderly gentleman.  Ideally, in my opinion, we should reduce the amount of paperwork in Georgia divorces.  For example, this kind, elderly gentleman told me that, when he got a divorce back in the 1940's, the judge signed a divorce decree which consisted of only one page!  Isn't that remarkable?  As a Georgia divorce attorney, I fully recognize that we cannot (and should not) eliminate all divorce documents which are part of a typical modern divorce, including parenting plans, child support worksheets, and the child support addenda.  Some change is good.  But it would also be nice if some of the tangential divorce documents and forms could be streamlined, or eliminated.

2.  REDUCE THE COSTS OF A GEORGIA DIVORCE:
Additionally, it would be nice if the costs of a Georgia divorce could be reduced.  The elderly gentleman told me that, when he got a divorce 65 years ago, it cost only $35.00!  Isn't that incredible?  Now, we all know that $35.00 was still a substantial amount back then, but the costs of going to court have easily out-stripped inflation.  One way to reduce the costs of a divorce would be for the Georgia General Assembly to reduce the amount of the court filing fee.  Last year, (as I have complained about before in this blog), our legislature increased the filing fee for all civil lawsuits, including divorces, from $80.00 to a whopping $205.00!  In my opinion, this filing fee increase was outrageous and unfair to Georgians who can no longer afford justice in this state.

What do you think?  Were the "good old days" really all that good?  What changes would you recommend?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Divorce Lawyer's Take on "Do It Yourself Divorce" Kits

[Photo from apartmenttherapy.com]
Everybody is into DIY (do-it-yourself) projects these days!  I love to refinish antique furniture!  But please let me explain why I believe DIY kits may not be the best way to go when you get a divorce in Georgia.

Okay, I realize that before I offer this critique of  DIY divorces and divorce kits, some of you may think it is just sour grapes offered by a greedy divorce attorney!  In other words, you may think I am just another divorce lawyer who doesn't appreciate the competition!  But please believe me that that is not the case!  I simply do not recommend that anyone should attempt to handle such an important, complicated legal matter without help from a professional.

For instance, in many divorce cases, both contested and uncontested divorces, there are generally a number of relatively complicated issues, such as child custody and child support.  For example, no kit is likely going to tell you all the proper factors in calculating child support under the Georgia child support guidelines.  Also, there are a number of requirements for a Georgia divorce which, in our experience, the so-called DIY divorce kits typically do not meet or satisfy.  For example, no kit is going to tell you that, in a Columbia County divorce, you will need to submit a properly filled out summons, even in an uncontested divorce.

Finally, there is one additional reason why I believe DIY kits are not the best way to get a divorce in Georgia.  This reason is that there are a number of divorce lawyers, including us, at the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC, who will handle simple, uncontested divorces for an affordable retainer that does not cost a lot more than many of the DIY kits!

So, have I convinced you that a do-it-yourself divorce is not the best way to go?  Save your creativity for your home repair projects! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Celebrity Divorces: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

[Photo of Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance from Wikipedia]
Have you heard?  Tomorrow, August 6, 2011, would have been the 100th birthday of talented actress and business mogul Lucille Ball!  Sadly, Ms. Ball, one of my favoriote comedians, died of an aneurysm back in 1989. 

I won't bore you with a lot of facts about her incredible life and Hollywood career.  But did you know that her original television series, I Love Lucy, aired 180 episodes between 1951 and 1957?  Did you also know that Ms. Ball and her first husband, (and co-star), Desi Arnaz, were married in 1940 and divorced in 1960?  Ms. Ball later married a comic/businessman, Gary Morton, with whom she lived at the time of her death.

Most of you probably know that Ms. Ball was a trail blazer as a television business woman and founder of Desilu film production company.  But did you know that, early in her career, Lucy starred in different films with both the Three Stooges and the Marx Brothers?  

However, that's enough, today, of the facts about the stellar career of Lucille Ball. Today, I mainly just want to say: thank you, "Happy Birthday," and "I Love Lucy!"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Surprising Celebrity Separations and Divorce: Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony

[Photo of Lopez and Anthony from Wikipedia]
Have you seen the latest edition of Vanity Fair?  According to various news reports, talented singer and American Idol Judge Jennifer Lopez explains in Vanity Fair exactly why she and her husband of 7 years, Marc Anthony, recently split up.  Among other reported reasons, Ms. Lopez indicated essentially that she realized she wasn't being treated properly and that she loved herself too much not to walk away.

What is your opinion of these cited reasons for this celebrity split?  Also, have you noticed a trend these days that, after a separation or a divorce, many celebrities ultimately "go public" about the splitup, either in interviews, with celebrity interviewers like Oprah, or in "tell-all" books or magazines?

What do you think about this practice of celebrities "going public," rather than keeping such matters private?  Of course, in their defense, because they are in the public eye, many celebrities probably realize that if they don't tell their side of it, then somebody else will gossip about it, or make up something anyway!  So, perhaps celebrities might as well tell the truth and hope it slows down the rumor mills and "inquiring minds."  What do you think?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

IRS Announces New Innocent (Or Injured) Spouse Relief Policy

[Photo from Wikipedia]
We are divorce lawyers, not tax lawyers, in Augusta, Georgia.  However, we wanted to pass along to you, (for you to discuss with your own attorney), some information issued by the I.R.S. this week concerning "innocent spouse relief."  This refers to the fairly common situation in which a divorcing spouse, even after they have gotten a divorce from their worthless spouse, "Sluggo," gets zapped by the I.R.S. for back taxes and penalties on income earned, but not reported, by Sluggo.  According to the policy, in some cases, the I.R.S. will not hold the innocent spouse responsible for Sluggo's problems, provided the innocent spouse did not know, nor could have known, about the tax understatement by their ex.

The problem, in the past, for some innocent spouses, has been that there was a two year time limit in which to seek relief based upon this equitable ground.  But now, thankfully, according to I.R.S. notice 2011-70, the two year time limit may be waived!  You can learn more about this policy change by going to http://www.irs.gov/ or by consulting with a tax professional. 

Again, we are just Augusta, GA divorce attorneys, not tax lawyers!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Uncontested and Contested Divorces in Georgia: Divorce Lawyers And Pro Bono Divorce Cases

As you know, we are father and son divorce attorneys located in Augusta, Georgia, (and the Martinez, Evans, and Grovetown, Georgia areas).  Every day, we handle a number of both uncontested and contested divorces, which involve a number of different issues, ranging from questions about child custody and child support, to child visitation and property and debt division matters.
As divorce lawyers, we also are keenly aware that many of our Georgia divorce clients are going through a difficult time, financially, due to the economy and their divorce.  As a result, we sometimes get telephone calls from prospective divorce clients asking if we would be willing to take their divorce case "pro bono," i.e. for free.
The goal of this post is to attempt to explain why it is difficult for a Georgia divorce lawyer to agree to take a divorce case pro bono, or for free.  One reason is that it really isn't just for free.  In other words, the divorce lawyer would actually lose money, if he or she took the case pro bono.  Let me explain.  Even if the divorce lawyer charges no legal fees, the divorce lawyer would still actually go in the hole, if he or she must dig into their own pockets to pay for the divorce costs, including divorce filing fees, service fees, court reporter fees, guardian ad litem fees, and on and on!
Another reason why divorce attorneys generally don't take divorce cases on a pro bono basis involves the amount of time which some divorce cases take.  In other words, if a pro bono divorce case takes up a large percentage of a divorce attorney's time, over several months, then it makes it more difficult for that attorney to pay the law firm's overhead.  Put another way, time spent by a divorce attorney on a "free" divorce case could have been spent generating funds to pay the office overhead from "paying" cases.  This may sound cold, or callous, but, simply put, like in any other business, if a family law law firm cannot pay its overhead, then it cannot keep its doors open to help anyone!
As a result, in my opinion, generally, it simply is not practical to ask or expect a Georgia divorce lawyer to take your divorce case pro bono.  Instead, we recommend that you seek help from family and friends with the costs of your divorce.  We also suggest that you try to work out some sort of reasonable retainer and payment plan with your divorce lawyer.
We, at the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC, attempt to work with prospective clients concerning reasonable fees and payment plans, whenever possible.  We also offer very affordable rates -- one-half to one-third what some divorce attorneys charge -- especially for uncontested divorces, (even with children).  In addition, we offer free consultations and answer questions from callers about divorce and child custody cases every day!  (Many other divorce lawyers charge a fee for a consultation).  Finally, nearly every day, we also offer practical, tips, "pro bono," in this divorce blog, for you to discuss with your own divorce lawyer -- for free!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Movies About Divorce: Crazy, Stupid, Love

[Photo from Wikipedia]
Are you a fan of The Office's former star, Steve Carell?  If so, you may want to check out his new movie about divorce and the single life, called Crazy, Stupid Love.  The movie opens in most places next weekend.
In the movie, according to Wikipedia, Carell plays a guy who is shocked to learn that his wife, played by talented actress Julianne Moore, wants a divorce.  Ill-equipped for his new singles lifestyle, he reportedly becomes "wingman" to a cool "player," played by actor Ryan Gosling.
Can we be honest here?  Frankly, I am not a big fan of The Office.  But this new movie, which has some fine actors in it, appears to hold promise for a few laughs about an otherwise unfunny topic!
What do you think?  What are some of your favorite movies about divorce?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Shocking Celebrity Separations and Divorces: Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony

[Photo from Wikipedia]
This past week, according to news reports, singer, actress, and American Idol Judge, Jennifer Lopez, and her husband, singer Marc Anthony, have reportedly separated.  Lopez and Anthony, who have been married for seven years, have two children.
Did you know about the amazing charitable work done by Ms. Lopez?  For instance, she is noted for her fine work on behalf of the Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
Hollywood has apparently taken its toll again on another celebrity marriage.  Here's hoping that Ms. Lopez and Mr. Anthony will find happiness again.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Divorce, Family Violence, and Bobbitizing It


Family, or domestic, violence is a real problem in this country.  Far too many women, (and some men), suffer immeasurably at the hands of abusive spouses.  As a result, in my opinion, getting a divorce should not be so costly, or difficult, that a spousal abuse victim will feel forced to take the law into their own hands.    
For instance, do you recall the strange 1993 case of John and Lorena Bobbitt?  According to reports, Ms. Bobbitt, after allegedly suffering for years as a victim of abuse and adultery, struck back by cutting off Mr. Bobbitt's penis, which was later re-attached by surgeons.  As you will recall, Lorena Bobbitt was prosecuted, but later obtained a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.  The couple subsequently divorced.
Now, this week, according to news reports, another woman, Ms. Catherine Kieu, of Garden Grove, California, has been charged with torture and aggravated mayhem, after allegedly tying down her estranged husband in a bed and cutting off his member with a kitchen knife.  Unlike Ms. Bobbitt, who merely threw away the detached member, which was recovered and re-attached, Ms. Kieu allegedly tossed her spouse's penis down the garbage disposal and flipped the switch.  The news reports are unclear as to what, if anything, could be re-attached.
Again, these cases illustrate some of the problems of family violence.  Such cases also demonstrate that further violence, or going to prison, is not the answer.  Seeing a divorce lawyer and getting a divorce is a better solution.  Don't you agree?  What is your opinion?

Friday, July 8, 2011

GPS Devices and Tracking a Spouse To Prove Adultery

[Photo from shop.geocaching.com]
Do you suspect that your worthless spouse, "Sluggo," is cheating on you?  But are you unsure how to prove his adultery, or infidelity?  Well, did you hear the news this week out of New Jersey?  According to various news reports, a New Jersey court held this week that a divorcing party who hired a private investigator who helped her prove her spouse's adultery, by placing a GPS tracking device in her alleged cheating spouse's car, did not violate the alleged cheater's privacy rights.
Of course, as Augusta, Georgia divorce attorneys, we strongly recommend that you consult with your own divorce lawyer concerning all your rights and options BEFORE you attempt to prove adultery in this manner!  Privacy and search and seizure laws vary from state to state.  Additionally, as we have also discussed before in this divorce blog, you could get into trouble if you try some questionable tactics.  For example, we have discussed before the trouble which people can get into for hacking into their spouse's emails.
The bottom line:  As television host Nick Cannon warns on America's Got Talent, "PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!"  More specifically, do not try any method of proving Sluggo's infidelity without first consulting with your divorce lawyer about it!