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Divorce Financial Planning – Protect Your Financial Future

Published by: Scott Spooner • On: 04-18-2014 • Under: Divorce, Family Law • Tagged: ,

Divorce financial planning

A divorce is likely the most financially significant event of a lifetime.  When the decision to divorce is reached, it’s important to have a plan in place to deal with your property, debts, and assets. Divorce financial planning has become more complicated in this uncertain economy with fluctuating property values and high unemployment. This means that planning ahead and making divorce financial planning a top priority early on is even more important than ever. Here are some steps you may want to take:

1. Gather financial documents including:

    • at least one year of monthly account statements (including bank, brokerage, retirement, and credit cards)
    • all tax returns filed jointly or separately from the past three to five years
    • recent pay stubs
    • verify the contents of any safe-deposit boxes

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The Importance of a Thorough Divorce Agreement

Published by: Scott Spooner • On: 03-18-2014 • Under: Divorce, Family Law • Tagged: ,

Separation agreements in Georgia.

A divorce agreement, also known as a marital separation agreement, is a written contract that divides all marital property and assets, spells out child custody and visitation, and defines the terms under which alimony and child support are awarded after the divorce. The agreement can be reached prior to filing a divorce with the courts, and even while you and your spouse are still living together.

However, in order for a divorce agreement to be enforceable by the courts, it must be incorporated into the divorce filing. While you may have created an agreement with your spouse, until you file for divorce, include the agreement, and request it be incorporated by the courts, it is simply a contract between you and your spouse. It is not an enforceable divorce decree from the courts until it is signed by the judge. When the courts enforce a divorce order, the person that isn’t abiding by the terms of the divorce agreement (also known as being in contempt of the divorce order) can face fines, wage garnishments, and even jail.

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Divorce with Children: How to Cope in 2014

Published by: Scott Spooner • On: 01-21-2014 • Under: General • Tagged: ,

Divorce with children.Divorce with children is a challenge to any family. From the emotional distress of the parents to the problems that will face the children, no matter what their age. Managing these experiences and maintaining your family bonds can be difficult, especially when a divorce ends with hostility. So, how can you manage all of these emotions and obligations without taking further toll on your children? Here are a few tips for parents going through a divorce with children, to keep in mind all year long.

Take time to think and breath – Jumping to angry conclusions immediately only causes more problems. Take a moment to breathe and think of the motivations behind a comment or decision. Likely, they were not meant to intentionally hurt or frustrate you. Evaluate the motivations and calmly react to the situation.

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Georgia Victims of Stalking or Family Violence Should Seek Protection With A Temporary Protective Order

Published by: Scott Spooner • On: 10-23-2013 • Under: General

Georgia residents have options when seeking protection from a person who has threatened danger. Just as Rihanna’s recent restraining order against a stalker requires a predator to keep his distance, a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) offers a small oasis of calm in the middle of emotional upheaval for singles, couples, and families.

It is not necessary to have lived together or to be related in order to petition the court for a TPO, nor does the petitioner need to have known his or her harasser. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) 16-5-90 defines a stalker as one who “follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing, and intimidating the other person.” While Rihanna’s stalker never actually broke into her home (according to TMZ), many victims aren’t as lucky. The price they pay may include a hospital visit, or, even worse, the morgue.

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Don’t Count On an Informal Child Support Agreement. Make it Legal.

Published by: Scott Spooner • On: 10-23-2013 • Under: Divorce, Family Law

Child support modification petitions are usually not heard by the court until at least two years have passed since the original decree.  However, if a job loss results in at least a 25% reduction in income, you may immediately file a petition for modification, regardless of time passed. The court may also hear petition for modification before the two year time limit if the non-custodial parent does not adhere to the terms of the visitation orders by failing to visit.

Substantial pay raises or other change in financial standing may also be cause for a modification claim. Parents should contact a skilled Atlanta divorce modification attorney for help in documenting proof that a pay raise has substantially changed an ex-spouse’s financial condition. However, proving a claim of an improved financial status may be complicated if the ex-spouse has increased responsibilities or if your income has also increased.

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Georgia Divorce Agreements: When Circumstances Change, Modifications are Necessary

Published by: Scott Spooner • On: 10-23-2013 • Under: Divorce, Family Law

Let’s face it. Life is messy. What works for a family at one period in their lives may not be feasible in later years. If you divorced in Georgia, you probably filled out the required paperwork addressing issues such as child custody (physical and legal) as well as alimony, child support, and visitation rights.

Many factors are considered by the judge when deciding how to award a fair and equitable settlement, including income, benefits each spouse brings to the relationship as well as poor behavior, health, mental capacity, and other mitigating facts pertinent to the decision. However, when life circumstances change, the original agreement may need to be modified in order to accommodate the new reality.

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Dividing Retirement Accounts & Pension Plans in a Divorce

Published by: Scott Spooner • On: 05-10-2013 • Under: Divorce, Family Law

Older couples who have been married for many years, but now want to end the marriage, usually no longer have to deal with dividing the responsibilities of parenting such as child support or child custody because their children are grown up. However, a long marriage usually means that over the years a lot of property and wealth have been acquired and investments have been made which belong to both spouses.  These assets should be divided fairly at the end of the marriage per the state laws.

Sometimes it comes as a surprise to a spouse that he or she does not have any claim to some property and/or investments in their marriage and equally surprising is the fact that some items, such as retirement accounts and pension plans, may not belong to an individual spouse but must be divided or shared in a divorce situation. An experienced Georgia divorce attorney can help you understand how Georgia divorce law will affect the division of your assets, including retirement accounts and pensions.  A thorough pre-divorce financial review helps protect your financial future and sometimes uncovers hidden assets.

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Six Keys to Divorce Mediation Success

Published by: Scott Spooner • On: 12-17-2012 • Under: Divorce, Family Law, Mediation • Tagged: , , ,

Mediation can be a very effective way to resolve the issues in a divorce. As opposed to a trial (where the divorce terms are decided by a judge or jury), mediation is a negotiation process conducted in a conference room setting where the spouses reach an agreement on their terms. During mediation, the spouses and their legal counsel speak with a mediator who is trained to help people reach an agreement. The mediator is usually an attorney, counselor, or other professional.  Mediation, if done properly, can be a faster and cheaper alternative to litigation in court.  Here are six key points that will help you make the most of your mediation.

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What to Do If You Are in an Accident

Published by: Scott Spooner • On: 07-23-2012 • Under: General, Personal Injury • Tagged: , ,

Many clients come to our firm after being seriously injured as a result of another driver’s carelessness.  Usually these clients are hurt, have lost use of their vehicle, lost time at work and now the at-fault driver’s insurance company is stubbornly refusing to fairly compensate them.  Our firm will attempt negotiating with the insurance company on our client’s behalf.  If negotiation fails, we will file a suit against the other driver.  Settlement and trials are generally successful if the accident is well documented.  Learn what to do if you are ever in an accident in order to save time and expenses later.

Assess injuries – Make sure everyone is okay.  If someone is injured, call 9-1-1 to request medical treatment.  If there is any question as to whether the person in hurt, it is important to have a professional medical assessment.

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Do’s and Don’ts If You Think Your Spouse is Cheating

Published by: Scott Spooner • On: 05-29-2012 • Under: Divorce, Family Law, General • Tagged: , ,

If you suspect your spouse is having an inappropriate relationship outside of your marriage, there are certain do’s and don’ts to follow.  Understandably, when you suspect a cheating spouse, emotions run high and you could make some bad decisions.  Be aware that some actions you take could even result in criminal charges being brought against you!  Below are some “do’s and don’ts” if you ever find yourself in this situation:

  • DON’T follow or track your spouse.  If you follow or spy on your spouse, you may be charged with stalking.  In addition, it may put you in a dangerous situation if an altercation occurs with your spouse or the other person in the relationship.

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. This website is designed for general information only.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.