Family Law

Divorce

Divorce is difficult enough. Going through a divorce without a qualified attorney at your side is worse. That’s where Nancy Burnett Law comes in. We are ready and qualified to help you understand your rights and responsibilities. This will enable you to make the best decisions for yourself.

We encourage agreement-based divorce where possible by offering some of the lowest prices in the area. Post-divorce quality of life is directly related to how the divorce is resolved. If there is long, bitter litigation, the chances of bitterness continuing after the divorce are high. If the parties can find a way to reach a fair agreement to shorten the process and decrease the stress, their post-divorce quality of life is likely to be better. However, if an agreement is not possible, we are there for you, too!

Legitimation

Georgia makes a distinction between the biological father of a child and the legal father of a child. A legal father has legal rights such as custody or visitation. The biological father may or may not have legal rights depending upon whether he is also the legal father of the child.

The husband of the mother of a child born during a marriage is automatically the legal father of the child even if he is not the biological father. Both spouses have legal rights. By contrast, a child born out of wedlock has one legal parent – the mother. She has all the parental power. She makes all the decisions including whether to permit visitation with the biological father. The biological father has almost no legal rights unless he legitimates the child. This is true even if he is paying child support pursuant to a court order.

Legitimation is the process of becoming the legal father of a child. A child born out of wedlock whose parents get married and whose father recognizes the child as his becomes legitimate. Otherwise, the only way to legitimate a child in Georgia today is to obtain a court order of legitimation. Custody, visitation and child support are usually specified in the same order.

If you are the father of a child born out of wedlock and have no court order specifying your rights, you should consult with an attorney to discuss your options.

Custody

When parents separate, decisions must be made about where the child will reside and how major, non-emergency decisions (such as where the child will attend school, his religious upbringing, etc.) will be made. In a perfect world, the parents will agree upon custody of their child. However, if they disagree, the court must decide.

Typically, the court awards sole legal and physical custody to one parent, joint legal custody to both parents and primary physical custody to one parent,  or joint legal and physical custody to both parents.

Sole custody is not very common unless there is a parent who is unfit or the parties disagree so frequently and/or bitterly that joint legal custody is impossible. Joint legal and physical custody (sometimes called 50/50 custody) is for parents who work together exceptionally well.

Adoption

One of the legal profession's favorite things is to see the an adoption finalized. The steps to complete an adoption can be complex. Let us show you how we can make it easier.

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