The law firm of Ellis Hoyle King de Klerk LLC has a tough, no-nonsense, but personal and caring approach to the practice of Family Law.Family law matters involve much more than legal issues, and the utmost goal of everyone involved in your case should be to make sure that the best interests of the children are protected. Whether it is a child custody issue, child support, visitation, spousal support or other family law matter, we recognize that your case is important. While we appreciate the needs of the family and understand the effect litigation can have on the family, we know when to stand firm to protect your best interests and those of your children. We zealously represent our clients to achieve the best resolution possible in every legal matter.
In addition to divorce, family law covers matters including legal separation, child custody, child support, modification of child custody and child support, legitimation and paternity actions.
- “Legal Separation” and Separate Maintenance
In Georgia, married couples seeking a divorce are not required to enter into a court-ordered “legal separation” as a prerequisite to obtaining the divorce. However, in some cases, the parties may choose to seek a separate maintenance agreement instead of a divorce. Some reasons that a couple may choose to enter into a separate maintenance agreement through the courts instead of a divorce include a religious objection to divorce, or a feeling that reconciliation of the marriage may be possible following a period of being apart.
- Child Custody and Support
The courts of this state are keenly aware of legislative guidelines for awarding custody and support of minor children. Courts must ensure that the best interests of the child have been considered in awarding custody. Support is based on a percentage of the gross income of both parents. The Georgia legislature has developed child support worksheets based on a “presumptive amount” of support calculated by combining the party’s incomes and then considering certain additional expenses and deviations for parenting time.
- Modification Actions
Once a divorce decree, custody or support order is entered by the court, it is binding and enforceable as against both parties. However, where certain conditions are met, a modification action may be pursued. Where sufficient “changed circumstances” exist, alimony and child support obligations, or child custody may be modified through court action.
- Legitimation and Paternity Actions
A child born out-of-wedlock may be declared the legal child of the biological father by either parent through appropriate court action. Certain rights and privileges may be gained through the courts which otherwise would not apply. Fathers who have children born out of wedlock must legitimate the child before they are entitled to visitation and custody rights. A mother desiring to have her child declared “legitimate” may file a paternity action.