Law Offices of Jack E. Harrell, Jr. A Professional Corporation

Family Law

Our Lawrenceville, Georgia law office specializes in aggressive family law litigation.  Because of our extensive training and experience our attorneys are able to quickly and efficiently advise on even the most complex legal issue.  Our lawyers have earned an excellent reputation by providing honest advice on these most personal of issues.

- Divorce / Separations
- Child Custody/Visitation
- Child Support
- Legitimation
- Grandparent Visitation
- Deprivation hearings (DFACS)
- Termination/Surrender of parental rights
- Adoption
- Family Violence
- Modification of court awards

I invite you to contact us for a free consultation on your Family Law legal questions.  I would be happy to discuss your particular facts and give you a better idea of whether you are likely to receive the relief you seek.  If you decide that you do wish to pursue legal action we will be open to making arrangements for our services that are right for you.  When you do, you will find that we provide effective, professional, comprehensive and cost effective legal services.  We welcome you to our firm.

Jack E. Harrell, Jr., P.C. lawyers have been successfully handling divorce, custody, child support and adoption cases for many years.  If you have a case that may be contested, it pays to have a trial lawyer in your corner.  Don’t be railroaded.  Don’t be forced to settle for an unfair child support or alimony award, an inappropriate custody arrangement, or a property division that fails to take into account all of the economic and emotional details.

 

DIVORCE or SEPARATION?

Georgia is a no fault divorce state.  As long as one spouse is willing to stand in front of a judge and testify that the marriage is irretrievably broken, a divorce will almost always be granted.  This will usually happen despite one party being willing to try to work things out.  There are other grounds for divorce such as adultery and cruel treatment but the “irretrievably broken” marriage is by far the most common reason divorces are granted.

If you do not want a divorce but you do want a “legal separation” you can file a Separate Maintenance action.  In a Separate Maintenance the parties either agree or litigate the issues of alimony, custody, child support, division of property and division of debts just like in a divorce.  Then the parties are free to remain separated for as long as they desire.  Either party could file for a divorce but all issues decided in the Separation would remain in place.  The parties are also free to reconcile if they choose and the Separation would disolve.

CHILD CUSTODY

In an initial determination of custody, whether during a divorce proceeding or after a legitimation has occurred, the court will be concerned only with the "best interest of the child."  In such a situation the court will look at the ability of each party to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child.  If both parents are fully capable, the deciding factor is frequently which party has been the primary caregiver for the child in the past.  Different judges will weigh factors with their own biases so it is important to know who you are dealing with before ever going to court.

In a situation where one parent is seeking a modification of custody or visitation the court will first need to determine whether there has been a "change in circumstances materially affecting the child's well being."  Essentially you must have an event that makes current circumstances different from the circumstances when the custody was initially established.  These cases are fact dependant and frequently turn on the Judge's discretion.  So it is important to present the case in an effective manner to make the Judge believe a change needs to occur.