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Cherokee County Divorce Law Blog

International abductions and Georgia child custody

Georgia parents who have gone through a divorce are often not aware of the complex ramifications of international, federal and state laws when a noncustodial parent takes the child or children out of the United States in violation of a court orrder. While courts generally take action to promote the return of the children to their nation of origin and enforce the original child custody decree, a Georgia court's power may be restrained by a number of difficulties.

Many divorce and child custody decrees contain a relocation clause, which specifies under what conditions each parent may choose to relocate with the children and spells out the limitations on such relocation. However, when a parent takes a child, willingly or otherwise, across international lines, a simple custody agreement may become an international incident which strains relations between countries and limits what action courts at the state and local level may take.

Shared parenting better for kids, researchers say

Georgia parents who are contemplating a divorce may be interested to learn about a study that was recently conducted in Sweden. In the study, researchers looked at stress levels in children who were in shared parenting custodial arrangements versus those who primarily resided with one divorced parent while having infrequent visits with the other.

Researchers evaluated data from 150,000 12- and 15-year old children who either lived with both parents as part of a nuclear family, in shared parenting custodial arrangements or primarily with one divorced parent. When they compared those different types of arrangements with the children's self-reported psychosomatic illness levels, they found that the group having the highest stress level were those in the group that primarily resided with only one parent.

A look at how social media use can affect marriage and divorce

Georgia spouses may be interested in one way that their online behavior may have consequences in their relationship. Surveys are showing that as social media increases in popularity, its effect on marriage is starting to become more obvious.

A UK law firm conducted a survey of thousands of married British citizens and came away with some interesting findings. The data showed that one out of seven respondents had thought about divorcing their spouse due to social media-related incidents. These could include checking into a movie theater without their spouse or requesting a connection on Facebook with an ex. The firm discovered that over half of the spouses knew their partner's social media passwords.

Legal representation for property division disputes

When two people in Georgia are married, their financial lives are inevitably intertwined. If they subsequently divorce, all of the marital assets that belong to both spouses must be divided in a way that the court deems equitable. Although a court will do its best to divide property in a manner that it deems fair, there is a lot that could go wrong, and it is crucial for a spouse to have legal representation during this time.

The attorneys at our firm help to ensure that our clients' property division rights are asserted during divorce proceedings. If you are worried about your spouse being awarded a disproportionate amount of the assets, we may be able to assist you in the pursuit of your fair share of the marital property.

Beneficiary designations supersede the terms of a will

Georgia residents may not know the ramifications of failing to change beneficiary designations after a divorce. Revising a will to disinherit a former spouse will not affect beneficiary designations on most policies.

After a divorce, the named beneficiary on a life insurance policy, a retirement account, a bank account or any other such instrument will often inherit the proceeds of the instrument even when those results contradict a will. While Georgia is unique in its law that prohibits a divorced party from inheriting under a will unless the will specifically permits it, Georgia does not have a law that has the same effect when an individual dies leaving an ex-spouse as the beneficiary on a life insurance policy or other similar instrument. Many such policies are not assets that pass through probate, so the will has no effect on the beneficiary designation.

Social media and the service of process

Georgia residents may be interested to learn about two recent New York decisions in which courts allowed people to serve respondents in their family law matters via Facebook. While no Georgia court has yet allowed service in this manner, many attorneys and other observers expect that such service methods may become increasingly accepted in jurisdictions throughout the country.

Participation in Facebook and other social media sites has become pervasive. In some cases, people who are difficult to otherwise locate are active participants on such sites, and in the two New York cases, the judges ruled that service could be effected through Facebook's messaging platform.

Alimony's effect on personal income taxes

Georgia residents who are dealing with divorce may wish to learn more about how alimony can affect income taxes. According to the IRS, alimony is any money paid to a spouse or former spouse as part of a court order during divorce or separation. Any money that is paid without legal obligation is not considered to be alimony for tax purposes. Furthermore, it does not matter if the alimony is to be paid on a permanent basis or included in a temporary decree., and it may be possible to claim payments to a third party as alimony.

Typically, alimony must be included as income by the person who receives it and may be deducted on the income tax return of the person paying it. There may be times when an individual can only deduct half of any alimony payment. For example, this is true when an individual is required to make mortgage payments or pay property taxes and insurance on a jointly owned home.

Claiming Social Security benefits after divorce in Georiga

In some cases, if a spouse hasn't worked long enough to claim their own benefits or if their spouse is entitled to greater benefits, they may want to claim their spouse's Social Security benefits. However, if a couple divorces, this may not always be possible. In some situations, however, there are exceptions.

The determining factor determining if someone is going to be able to claim spousal or survivor's Social Security benefits is usually the length of the marriage. If a marriage lasted at least 10 years, individuals should still be able to collect spousal benefits. However, if someone is caring for a child under the age of 16 or a child with a disability, they may still collect survivor's benefits if the marriage did not last a decade.

Illness in wife could lead to divorce

Georgia residents might be interested to learn about a study examining the relationship between divorce and illness. Researchers at Iowa State University determined that couples with a seriously ill wife were more likely to get a divorce than couples with a seriously ill husband. However, no information was available about whether it was the husband or the wife who usually initiated the divorce.

Data for the study was gathered from 2,701 married couples that were surveyed between 1992 and 2010 in the Health and Retirement Study. Researchers examined the onset of cancer, lung disease, stroke and heart problems in the marriages and then looked at whether or not the spouses divorced later on. The onset of illness in the wife was found to increase the chances of a marriage ending in divorce by 6 percent, while the onset of illness in the husband had no measureable impact on the potential for divorce.

Factors involved in grandparent custody

Some grandparents in Georgia might be interested in obtaining custody of their grandchildren. This depends on the specific situation and, in some cases, the grandchild's preference. However, if the child's parents challenge the request, the courts may consider their right to custody as superior to that of the grandparents.

Sometimes, parents and grandparents enter into a voluntary arrangement giving the grandparents custody. Problems with custody issues can occur when the parents challenge that agreement. In such cases, both the grandparents and the parents are required to show why the child's best interests might be better served if the child remained in their care. In the case where the child was in the care of the grandparents for a considerable time and considered them as primary caregivers, the grandparents' right to custody may supersede that of the parents. In addition, parents who have not maintained a relationship with their child may have less of an argument against grandparent custody.

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