Frequently asked questions
What's the cost of hiring an attorney?
The cost of hiring an attorney varies depending on each client’s specific needs and the type of case.
Retainers and an hourly rate is the billing mechanism usually used for cases pertaining to family law.
Usually a flat fee is quoted for clients with pending criminal charges.
Contingency based fee agreements are generally used for personal injury cases. The attorney only gets paid when client recovers compensation.
Can I get custody of my children?
A judge can grant sole or joint legal custody to parents. If you are considering obtaining custody, schedule a consultation today.
Do I have an Alimony case?
The judge will consider if alimony is appropriate in your case and if so, will make a determination of the type of alimony, amount of alimony and duration of alimony.
Can I get the home in the divorce?
When making an equitable division of property in a divorce, one of the most common assets subject to a division is the marital home. If equity in a home was accumulated during the marriage it is subject to be divided between the parties.
In a lot of cases, one of the parties has the option to keep the home if they are financial able to do so.
Can I keep my pre-marital assets?
Generally, the answer is yes. A parties’ pre-marital assets remain that parties’ separate property, and not subject to an equitable division in a divorce, unless the asset was co-mingled.
Do I have to appear in court?
Yes. If you receive a notice of hearing, make sure you appear in court. Failure to appear in court in criminal cases may result in a bench warrant being issued.
How has Covid-19 changed the court process?
Most courts are seeking to regain in-person hearings and proceedings and have taken measures to address the dangers of the coronavirus including mask, checking temperature, and in some cases limiting the amount of people in the courtroom. The use of technology has enabled many matters to proceed on the internet through webcams.
How long does an uncontested divorce take?
Every divorce case is different. If the parties agree on all issues, an uncontested divorce may be granted in as little as 31 days from the date the Complaint and Acknowledgment of Service is filed. The process for a contested divorce is much longer.
Do you need seperate attorneys for an uncontested divorce?
An attorney can only represent one party in a divorce. Both parties may come in and sign settlement documents, but one will be unrepresented and will have the option of hiring his/her own attorney.
Uncontested divorces are a great option for some clients. They are cheaper, quicker to obtain, and often times each party is happier when they are able to tailor make the terms of their divorce instead of a judge telling them what the terms will be at a final hearing.
The father signed the birth certificate but we were never married. Does the father have rights to visitation?
No. In Georgia, a biological father who was not married to the mother at the time of birth must file an action for legitimation and custody to obtain visitation.
What does legitimate mean?
Legitimation grants the biological father the same rights he would have if he were married to the child’s mother.
Does paying child support mean you get visitation?
No. Paying child support does not mean you automatically get visitation.
What do I do if my child support isn't being paid?
If child support is not being paid, call the office today to schedule an appointment to discuss a Contempt Action. A Petition for Contempt may be filed when one party is in violation of a Court Order.
What is a contempt petition?
A petition for contempt may be filed when one party is in violation of a court order.
How long doesn an adoption take?
The time frame for an adoption to be completed varies depending on the facts of each case.
Adoptions are complex and there are multiple steps that must be completed including filing a petition, terminating the parents’ rights, background checks, home visits, meeting with a Court appointed agent, attending a final hearing.
An uncontested adoption, where both parents have signed relinquishments, could possibly take as little as 3 months.
Can I get custody of my grandchildren?
You may be able to obtain custody of grandchildren. Georgia has grandparent custody (and custody actions for other 3rd parties) and visitation for grandparents.
Different standards are used when determining whether to award custody to grandparents and other 3rd parties than with parents.
What age can children decide what parent to live with?
The judge always decides what is in the best interest of the child and makes the final decision. However, children (generally 14 years old and sometimes 11 years old and up) may elect which parent they would prefer to primarily reside with.
Do I need to hire an attorney if I plan on pleading guilty in criminal court?
You should always consult with an attorney regarding any legal issue. An attorney can advise you of sentencing ranges and repercussions of having a criminal conviction. An attorney may also advise you on whether pleeing guilty is really in your best interest as well as any possible defenses you may have.
When I am arrested, should I speak with a police officer?
You should ALWAYS exercise your right to remain silent until speaking with an attorney about your case.
Is there a difference between a felony and misdemeanor charge?
Yes, there is a difference between felony and misdemeanor charges. One of the biggest differences is the possible sentencing rangers. Misdemeanors are generally punishable by up to 12 months in confinement and $1000 fine. Felony charges often carry a much larger sentencing range and are more serious.
Will my case go to trial?
In a criminal case, an attorney will thoroughly review your discovery and will advise you of any arguments and defenses you may have. An attorney will also advise you if it is in your best interest to resolve the case without a trial.
How can I pay for legal services?
You can pay by Credit Card, Cash, or Check. Payment plans are also available.
Can I bring a friend or family member to the appointment with the Attorney?
Yes, you may bring a family member or friend to your initial consultation, however there may be times private conversations are necessary due to attorney-client privileges.
What do I need to bring to the appointment?
Bring any documents relating to your case.
In a criminal case, bring bond papers, citations, arrest reports.
In a civil case, if you have been served with a lawsuit, bring a copy of the lawsuit.