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Gwinnett County Family Law Blog

Ex-wife seeks to remove parental rights of ex-husband

A family can come in all shapes and sizes these days and many children are born outside of marriage. In these instances, legal procedures may be necessary to establish the paternity of the father of the child.

A recent appellate court decision may have set a new precedent concerning paternity rights in certain circumstances. The case that led to the ruling involved a couple who divorced nearly two years after their child was born. Because the couple was married at the time of the child's birth, the husband was legally presumed to be the child's father, but after the divorce, the wife found out that another man was the father of the child as a result of their affair. The wife and the child's father have since married and she has sought to remove the husband's rights as the presumed father. The court ruled that even with this presumption and a divorce order governing custody and support rights, a husband's paternity is not permanently assumed.

Georgian men have the same rights as women to receive alimony

Historically, Georgian men have worked outside the home more often than women, and their wifes stayed home to raise their children. This has led to an inclination for men going through a divorce to be more hesitant to request or pursue spousal support than women.

A recent article highlights husbands that stay at home and take care of a couple's children, while the wife pursues her career. With this increase in lower-income husbands, there is also an increase in men requesting spousal support, pursuant to a divorce. However, men tend to drop this request more often than women. There are multiple reasons for this, including a preference for receiving a greater portion of marital property, or as a trade-off to not have to pay child support, among others.

"Apollo Nida Talked - Should I?"

Recently, news outlets have been abuzz about the sentencing of Apollo Nida, known for his recent appearance on the television show, "Real Housewives of Atlanta." Reports are saying that Nida, whose wife Phaedra Parks is an attorney, got "an enormous break" by talking to investigators and giving up information about his criminal activities. TMZ. (2014 July 8). "Housewives' Star Apollo Nida: 8 Years In Prison Sentence Shortened For SNITCHING" Retrieved from http://www.tmz.com/2014/07/08/apollo-nida-sentencing-money-fraud-charges-guilty-plea-prison. The important takeaway from these news reports is not that defendants should quickly tell investigators or police everything they know in hopes of a more appealing outcome. The better takeaway, which is unstated in many articles, is that Nida was represented by an attorney who worked to help him receive a more lenient sentence, and criminal defendants would be wise to have counsel of their own.

Georgia man arrested and jailed for failure to pay alimony

Alimony awards are based on a variety of factors and needs couples entering the divorce process should understand beforehand. A 66-year old Georgia man was recently arrested for failure to pay alimony. The man is a former University System of Georgia regent and owned a Georgia newspaper. The man allegedly failed to pay nearly $200,000 in alimony payments and has been ordered to begin making payments or remain in jail. The man was jailed without bond and is facing charges of failure to pay alimony.

Alimony, or spousal support, may be awarded during divorce proceedings to one spouse at the end of a marriage during. In general, alimony is based on the needs of one spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay. There are a variety of factors that may be considered when determining an award of alimony. Factors that may be taken into account can include the standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage; the length of the marriage; the finances of each spouse; the physical and emotional health of each spouse; the amount of time and cost that will be necessary for either spouse to obtain education or training to enable employment; and contributions to the marriage by either of the spouses such as homemaking, etc.

Father seeks reimbursement of child support from ex-wife

Courts award child support as a means to prevent one parent from having to shoulder an undue portion of the expenses related to raising children. Circumstances arise, however, that may necessitate an alteration of the amount or length of such payments.

A wealthy Wall Street investment banker is seeking reimbursement from his ex-wife for $263,000 that he claims was paid for nannies that were never used. The former couple share custody of their twin children, and the man agreed to pay $40,000 per year for child support, plus costs for his ex-wife to employ a live-in nanny in the divorce decree. Those costs were determined to range between $13,000 and $85,000 at the time of the divorce. However, the man says that his children have told him that the money has been used for other purposes and that they have not used a nanny at times when his ex-wife said they were. He is seeking the previously mentioned total as reimbursement for the alleged fraud, as well as $2.5 million in punitive damages from his ex-wife.

Keyshia Cole and Daniel Gibson to divorce, co-parent son

Parents involved in child custody determinations may at times lose sight of what is most important. They may attempt to use their children as pawns to hurt their former spouse, rather than seek what is in their child's best interests. When parents work together in determining custody they can make the process go much smoother and create the best arrangement for their children.

Recording artist Keyshia Cole may be doing this as she is reportedly pursuing a divorce from her husband of three years, former NBA player Daniel Gibson. Ms. Cole has drafted the papers for the action and will soon file them in court. The couple has a four-year-old son together. They have reportedly been separated from each other for three months already and have been parenting their son together during that time.

Fathers fighting for equal parenting time with children

Fathers have been at a disadvantage for decades in terms of the assignment of physical custody of children pursuant to divorce. Mothers have typically been perceived as better caretakers, but that perception is beginning to change and fathers are beginning to fight more prominently for their custody rights.

A recent article highlights the custody and visitation issues often experienced by divorced fathers. The article details a man's fight to get equal parenting time for both parents unless neglect, abandonment or abuse is present in the parent's relationship with their child. The custody practices in many states may lead to parental alienation, in which one's parent's relationship with their child is undermined by the other parent. Since the majority of non-custodial parents are men, this has a greater impact on fathers and negatively affects fathers' rights. Additionally, many psychologists feel that it is important for children to have both parents significantly involved in their life.

Reality TV personality arrested for failure to pay child support

Failure to pay child support can result in significant consequences. A popular T.V. personality from "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta," Stevie J., was recently arrested in Georgia for allegedly failing to pay child support for over ten years. Stevie J., who is also a Grammy-award winning producer, was recently arrested for failure to pay over $1 million in child support. According to authorities, despite earning $27,000 a month, the T.V. personality and producer has failed to pay child support for his two children for over ten years. The criminal complaint notes that the children were born in 1997 and 1998 to Stevie J. and his ex-girlfriend. In 1999, he was ordered to pay $6,600 a month in child support which was later increased to $8,500 a month. Stevie will face criminal charges in New York, though he was arrested in Georgia.

There are a variety of potential penalties for failure to pay child support. Possible penalties for failure to pay child support can include wage garnishment; interception of tax refunds; property liens; business, occupational or driver's license suspension; the denial of a U.S. passport; or arrest and jail time. Because of the serious consequences for failure to pay child support, it is important to keep monthly child support payments current.

Permanent alimony not automatic for stay-at-home parents

Spouses in Gwinnett County, Georgia, that stop working to stay at home and raise children have traditionally been cared for after a divorce through spousal support payments. But courts may no longer look favorably on such arrangements, however, leaving the stay-at-home spouse in a precarious financial position.

Families with two working parents often face the decision of whether one of the parents should give up their career to stay home with the kids, with the other parent being the only source of income. If the parents end up divorcing, the parent that gave up their career may not be granted spousal support that they were expecting to receive. Courts do not consider raising children to be a full-time job. Additionally, courts are reluctant to reward parents that voluntary give up their earning potential. Awards of permanent alimony are less frequent than they have been traditionally, and many states are considering reforms to do away with such orders entirely.

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