My Cousin Danny

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Are you going to pay or receive alimony as a part of your divorce? It depends.  In general necessity of the recipient and the ability to pay of the payor are controlling factors to be considered in making an allowance for alimony; both temporary or permanent. Robertson v. Robertson, 207 Ga. 686, 63 S.E.2d 876 (1951); Wills v. Wills, 215 Ga. 556, 111 S.E.2d 355 (1959).

While it is more common for women to receive alimony from men, there is no prohibition from a husband receiving alimony from a wife; and my cousin Danny has handled both types of cases.

The Term alimony comes from a Latin word which mainly means to nourish; that is, to supply the necessities of life. Lloyd v. Lloyd, 183 Ga. 751, 189 S.E. 903 (1937). In general, the non-monied spouse’s current ability to earn income is one of the factors considered in awarding alimony. Pierce v. Pierce, 241 Ga. 96, 243 S.E.2d 46 (1978).

However, all of the factors to determine the amount of alimony can be found in O.C.G.A § 19-6-5:

(1)  The standard of living established during the marriage.  Opulent or modest?

(2)  The duration of the marriage. 10 years? 20 years? 3 years?

(3)  The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties. Is he or she in good health with the ability to work?

(4)  The financial resources of each party; Was she or he a stay at home parent? Is he or she on a fixed income or in his or her prime earning years?

(5)  The time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable him or her to find appropriate employment.   Did he or she give up a job or career so that they will now need additional schooling or certifications to resume working?

(6)  The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.

(7)  The condition of the parties, including the separate estate, earning capacity, and fixed liabilities of the parties.

(8)  Such other relevant factors as the court deems equitable and proper.

Remember, that the purpose of alimony is to provide support for either party, as needed, and minor children; the amount of alimony is to be determined from consideration of needs and ability to pay. McCurry v. McCurry, 223 Ga. 334, 155 S.E.2d 378 (1967).

However, the conduct of both of the parties may also be considered by the jury in awarding alimony. Phillips v. Phillips, 231 Ga. 596 (203 SE2d 189) (1974).

O.C.G.A. § 19-6-1 PROVIDES THAT A PARTY SHALL NOT BE ENTITLED TO ALIMONY IF SEPARATION WAS CAUSED BY THAT PARTY’S ADULTERY, and that in alimony cases the court shall receive evidence of the factual cause of the separation and the conduct of each party toward the other. Owens v. Owens, 247 Ga. 137, 274 S.E.2d 484 (1981).

Common Legal Questions

How do I file for divorce?

A divorce is initiated by filing a Domestic Relations Case Initiation Form, Summons, and Petition for Divorce with the Court Clerk of the relevant County of the Parties; and paying a filing fee. Once a divorce is properly filed the Respondent (person not initiating the divorce) must be served with process.

How long before I get my license back?

It depends on your past driving history, your age, the class of driver’s license you have and the current charges against you.  As an example, for drivers over 21 years old a second, non-drug-related DUI conviction within five years of the prior conviction will result in DDS will suspending your license for three years.  Call to discuss the specifics of your case.

What Can i drive with a DUI?

Once again, it depends. If your DUI conviction was drug-related (the influence of drugs alone, or alcohol and drugs combined) you face different rules regarding license suspension. For a second DUI-Drug conviction in five years, DDS will issue a yearlong “hard suspension” of your license, meaning that you won’t be allowed to drive for 12 months, period. But if you enter an alternative sentencing program like a DUI or Drug Court, you might be eligible for limited permit.

Can I get 50/50 Custody?

In Georgia child custody has two components: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the right and ability to talk to your child’s doctor, teachers and such. Think of it as the ability to have a say in their life. Physical custody is the person who the child primarily lives with.  Most divorcing parents will have joint legal custody (50/50 custody) of any minor children born of the marriage, while designating one parent as the physical custodian of the child or children.  However, it is possible to have 50/50 joint legal and physical custody.

How much does a divorce cost?

There is no magic answer to that question. Other than everybody paying the same filing fee to initiate a divorce each divorce contains different issues, different disputes and different personalities. The Parties to the divorce have the biggest influence on the final cost of the divorce.  Litigants who are fighting over silverware and toiletries out of spite for each other are likely to spend a larger amount that people who have resolved most of their issues.  High value divorces with stocks, multiple parcels of real property, business or large pre-marital assets will also cost more than divorces with less assets.  Lawyers sell their time. A divorce that takes more hours is going to cost more than a divorce that takes less hours. Let’s talk about your divorce so you will have an idea of the total cost.

Can i leave the state with my kids?

A well drafted parenting plan will cover contingencies and events you might not have though of. Interstate, intrastate and international travel are all issues that should be considered before signing any agreement.  Depending on the facts of your case out of state travel with your children should be permissible with reasonable notice to the child’s other parent. What is reasonable notice? Call me, and lets talk.    

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