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Cherokee County Divorce Law Blog

Dealing with the home during a divorce

For divorcing Georgia couples, even contemplating the intricate process of property division can prove to be exhausting. Depending on the number and type of assets, it may be a more straightforward process or an incredibly complex one. In many cases, dealing with the couple's home can be an extreme challenge. If the home is rented, the issue is less difficult, but if the couple owns a home together, division may prove to be difficult. Often, one spouse buys out the other's share. This can be done with a new mortgage or gift or personal funds. In some cases, it may be difficult to determine which spouse will get the house. If need be, a divorcing person can see a lawyer to ask for advice on whether buying out the house is wise.

If neither member of the couple wants to keep the house, it may be sold and the profits divided. Some people prefer this, as it protects against sudden real estate depreciation. However, many become sentimentally attached to a house or want to keep it for other reasons. If a spouse opts to buy out the house, it's important to ensure that the home is refinanced to reflect only one name on the mortgage. If this doesn't happen and the owner fails to make timely payments, then both people's credit can be adversely affected.

Divorce, marital property and retirement benefits

Having the right strategy for property division at the end of a marriage could significantly improve an individual's financial security as a divorcee. People going through the divorce process, especially those 50 and older, may want to consider any retirement assets of a spouse during negotiations. In Georgia and most states, marital property is divided equitably in a divorce by a judge who presides over the settlement agreement according to the National Endowment for Financial Education.

With some exceptions like inheritances and gifts, most assets obtained by a couple while married are considered marital property. Retirement benefits can be a better option than other assets because of the opportunities they can offer for increased growth. A home, on the other hand, will most likely require maintenance and could depreciate in value over time. Additionally, retirement benefits awarded in a divorce can be used to pay for the legal fees accrued during the process. However, many financial advisers would not recommend that course of action. It should also be noted that those 59 ½ and younger have the option of making a one-time, tax-free withdrawal from either a 401(k) or 403(b).

Former Dodgers' owner wins divorce fees

In Georgia and elsewhere, a contested divorce can easily become a complex wrangle of financial disputes, and these cases get even more complicated when legal fees are at issue. This was the case in California, where the principle asset owned by a divorcing husband and wife happened to be a major league baseball team. The couple finally managed to reach a settlement but found themselves back in court when the ex-wife contested the agreement.

To discourage post-divorce modifications, a stipulation in the marital settlement held that any party contesting the settlement would have to pay the other party's legal fees. Nevertheless, the wife filed a motion to have the settlement overturned; further clouding the matter, meanwhile, was a $36 million lawsuit filed by a fan who claimed the team was directly responsible for a beating suffered at the ballpark.

Couples ending a marriage have financial decisions to make

Divorcing couples in Georgia already have a lot to deal with emotionally, but remembering a few tips early on could reduce stress and eliminate headaches later. Ending a marriage can put both parties in a different tax bracket, and preparing for that as soon as possible can help avoid a shock at tax time. The preparation process can include making decisions on joint debts and assets, how employment income could affect alimony payments, and child custody issues.

Gathering financial information can help both parties keep a proper perspective on how closely money and the legal implications of divorce are tied together. Georgia's equitable distribution law means the judge does not necessarily split a divorcing couple's assets 50/50 down the middle. Property owned by either party before the marriage will revert back to that person, but anything acquired during the relationship is subject to equitable distribution. A number of factors can come into play when determining what is fair and equitable.

Will Georgia's same-sex marriage ban be overturned?

More than 12 states have decided to recognize same-sex marriage as legal in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's action on the Defense of Marriage Act last year. Here in Georgia, same-sex marriage remains banned, but some think that this may change.

A same-sex marriage lawsuit is currently pending in the state, and the decision in that case could end the ban.

Things unwed fathers in Cherokee County need to know

The number of children born to unmarried parents continues to rise. In such cases, biological fathers generally do not have as many rights as biological mothers, and it is critical for unwed fathers in Georgia to be aware of this.

A woman who gives birth to a child is automatically that child's legal parent. And, a man who is married to a woman who gives birth has presumed parental rights. The same is not true for unwed fathers, who generally have no legal standing unless they establish paternity.

Sherri Shepherd faces 2 child custody battles at once

There may be no more difficult experience for a parent than a child custody battle. Facing the prospect of losing time with one's child can be incredibly emotional, frustrating and confusing. Many Georgia residents may be aware that one of the co-hosts of the popular daytime television show "The View" is currently in the midst of not one but two custody disputes.

Sherri Shepherd and her husband were expecting a child via a surrogate when the two filed for divorce last month. The baby is due in late July and a custody battle is brewing over the unborn child. Shepherd also has a 9-year-old son from a previous marriage, and her ex-husband has recently sought full custody of that child.

Will adultery affect your divorce settlement?

Infidelity is a common cause of divorce. If you or your spouse has decided to end your marriage due to cheating, you might be wondering how adultery affects the divorce process in Georgia. You may have heard, for example, that Liberty Ross and Rupert Sanders recently settled their divorce and Ross walked away with "guilt money."

Ross, an actress and model, filed for divorce from her director husband after he was photographed by the paparazzi cheating with the young actress Kristen Stewart. It has been reported that Ross ended up receiving the majority of the couple's marital assets in the divorce. Regardless of whether such reports are accurate, they beg the question: does a spouse who was cheated on have the upper hand when it comes to the divorce settlement?

Should you settle your divorce outside of court?

Divorce is not only the end of a relationship, but also the division of a legal and financial partnership. As such, it is imperative to protect your short- and long-term interests by obtaining a fair and appropriate division of marital property. This is easier for some couples than for others. Depending on the amount and complexity of assets a couple has acquired, the best process for property division may vary.

For example, a couple that has only been married for a couple of years and rents an apartment together may be able to negotiate the terms of their divorce pretty quickly. A couple that is in their 40s and has retirement accounts, a house, savings accounts and perhaps business interests may be bound to have some disputes. So, how can you determine what is the best divorce strategy for you? Should you handle your divorce outside of court or not?

500 children in limbo as the Congo stalls adoptions

Adopting a child is a difficult and emotional process. There are a number of legal hurdles Georgia residents face when expanding their families by adoption. Whether it is a step-parent adoption, a private adoption, or an international adoption, it can be an uphill battle. Georgia residents who are beginning an adoption journey may benefit by seeking legal counsel.

International adoptions are among the most complicated. International adoptions involve state and federal laws as well as the laws of the child's native country. In recent years, international adoptions have become more difficult as some countries limited, stalled or banned U.S. adoptions. It has been estimated that the world's poorest country, The Democratic Republic of Congo, has delayed the adoption of about 500 Congolese children who were headed to U.S. families.

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