Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How Much Do Uncontested Divorces Cost in Georgia?

Okay, maybe it is time that I got back up on my soapbox to protest, once again, the Georgia General Assembly's increase last year in the amount for filing for a divorce in this state.  (This terrible filing fee increase also applied to filing other types of civil lawsuits, too).  Specifically, the increase in the divorce case court filing fee jumped from $80.00 to a whopping $205.00!  Isn't that awful?
As Augusta, Georgia divorce attorneys, we try very hard to help our divorcing clients through a difficult time.  We have also helped many people, as divorce lawyers, by working hard to keep our legal fees affordable.  But we cannot change or help with the filing fees!  This significant increase in the court costs for a divorce has made it even more difficult for many Georgians seeking one.  Wouldn't it also be a terrible injustice if an abused wife must stay married, (and continue to get abused), simply because she cannot afford to get a divorce?  It happens!
Something must be done to correct this injustice!  Until that day comes, you can count on me to continue to climb back up on my soapbox to protest here!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Celebrity Divorces and Deaths: Peter Falk

[Photo from dailymail.co.uk]
According to various news reports, one of my favorite t.v. actors, Peter Falk, passed away yesterday at his California home.  According to reports, Falk, 83, had suffered from dementia and Alzheimer's disease.  Although he also was a star of screen and stage, Falk will always be best known for his incredible portrayal of "Columbo," the rumpled, one-eyed police detective.  The popular detective television series lasted from 1971-1978; however, Falk also appeared in numerous t.v. specials as Columbo through 2003.  Did you know that the talented actor was also an accomplished artist?
As Detective Columbo would conclude, "Just one more thing."  Like many celebrities, Mr. Falk also experienced a divorce, back in 1976.  But that's enough about that topic, here, today.  Today, I primarily want to just salute the outstanding work and the life of a talented actor.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fathers and Child Support Obligations

[Photo from mtephraimschools.org]
As Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyers, we often help our clients address issues involving child support, including contempt and child support modification actions.  After all, not all fathers pay child support like they should.  But as we approach Father's Day, perhaps it is important to recognize that most dads "out there," following a divorce, actually support their children, as they should, financially and otherwise.  The "deadbeat dads" exist, but, fortunately, they are in a minority. 
Indeed, according to one source, http://fathersrights.org/, 79.1% of fathers having limited visitation rights pay their court-ordered child support and 44.5% of those fathers having no visitation rights at all nonetheless still pay child support.
Of course, no one is suggesting that, simply because they pay child support, those fathers, (or any non-custodial parents), deserve any special reward.  After all, those dads helped bring these kids into the world, too, and it is their legal and moral obligation to help support their children.  Also, I'll bet that most of us would agree that the true "deadbeat dads" should be severely sanctioned.  But sometimes, I believe it is also important to keep things in perspective, including the point that most non-custodial parents "out there" are, in fact, supporting their kids and doing the right thing!   What do you think?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Celebrity Divorces and Separations: Schwarzenegger and Shriver

[Photo from Wikipedia]
Just when we thought the Arnold Schwarzenegger adultery and separation saga had exhausted all its twists and turns, now, we hear reports that the former governor's housekeeper has agreed to an interview and reportedly discussed details of their relationship with the media.  The housekeeper, identified in various reports as Patricia Baena, has even described how she allegedly broke the news of the affair to Maria Shriver.  Also, photographs of the alleged love child are now reportedly circulating throughout the news media and internet.  Where and when will it all end?
Doesn't it sometimes seem to you that news stories, like this one, and like the story involving Congressman Anthony Weiner, often develop a life of their own?  And it appears that some in the news media keep fanning the flames.  In other words, doesn't it appear that the news media will sometimes keep such salacious news stories alive with a constant daily drip of "new" information, so that they can simply sell more rags and generate high ratings?
The media frenzy also makes it much more difficult for celebrities than others who go through separation and divorce.  Don't you agree?  

Friday, June 10, 2011

Divorce Practical Tips: Will I Have To Go To Court?

Over the years, I have worn many different "hats" as a Georgia lawyer.  I have worked as a judge's law clerk, as a state prosecutor, as a federal prosecutor, (and U.S. Attorney's office manager), and now, as a law partner in an Augusta, Georgia law firm.  In my current position, I also wear different hats, including being a divorce lawyer and a criminal defense attorney. 
Today, I want to put on my "divorce lawyer hat" and give you some more practical tips about Georgia divorces and divorce attorneys!
One common question which we are frequently asked, as Augusta, Georgia divorce attorneys, is: "Will I have to go to court?"  The simple answer is that, if it is a simple, uncontested divorce, generally, you probably will NOT be required to go to court.
As part of the documents which we will prepare for you, in your simple, uncontested divorce, we will essentially get your spouse to agree that we, as your divorce lawyers, may take your deposition by paper, which means that you probably won't have to go to court. 
Of course, you should discuss these and all your other questions with your own divorce attorney!  And now, I must put on my "other hat" and tend to some Augusta criminal defense lawyer business!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hollywood's Most Shocking Breakups

[Photo from TVGN]
I am not in the habit of promoting television programs in this blog.  As you know, we are Augusta, Georgia divorce lawyers who primarily offer practical child custody, alimony, and other divorce-related tips for you to discuss with your own divorce attorney. 
But we also offer discussions about celebrity divorces in the news, too.  Recently, for example, we have discussed, along with many others, the Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver separation. 
Today, as I browsed through the T.V. Guide listings, I ran across a listing for an interesting looking t.v. program which will run tonight on the TVGN network.  The program focuses on twenty-five of Hollywood's "most shocking breakups," from Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, to Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. 
I don't know about you, but for me, an Augusta Georgia divorce attorney, that's what I call "must-see t.v.!"  Which celebrity couple divorces or split-ups would make your top 10, or top 25, lists?

Monday, June 6, 2011

A "D-Day" Tribute: June 6, 1944

[Photo from metmuseum.org]
As you know, we are divorce lawyers in Augusta, Georgia.  I am also a former federal (and state) prosecutor in Augusta.  Currently, I am a divorce attorney and criminal defense attorney.  
Maybe some of you assumed that the above caption, which refers to "D-Day," meant that this is "divorce day."  Actually, most of you probably know that "D-Day" refers to that important date, June 6, 1944, during World War II, when the allies landed on the coast of Normandy, France in the largest amphibious invasion in world history. 
My late father was one of many brave Americans who fought on that morning at Omaha Beach.  He was a medic and a member of the fighting Seabees.  One can only imagine the horrors which he and others experienced there, sixty-seven years ago today.  On this date, and every day, I am very grateful and very proud of him and all the other brave young men who fought for our freedom.  We must never forget their devotion and sacrifices for all of us.