Other Family Law Matters
It has been our privilege to work with families throughout Georgia and beyond. We respect the complexity of the situations that our clients often face when coming to us. We also recognize that family law matters can be emotionally charged and life-changing. As a result, we are proud to advocate for and work tirelessly toward resolution in a number of areas, including:
The parties and their attorneys attend an informal and confidential mediation session with an independent, neutral third party, typically also a family law attorney, to discuss settlement. While agreements reached at mediation are generally binding, the mediator does not have the authority to make a binding decision on the issues raised in the litigation and further, cannot testify if the matter reaches trial. Parties often agree to participate in mediation to try and resolve their case prior to a trial, and many courts now require the parties to participate in at least one mediation session prior to a final hearing.
The parties and their attorneys attend a confidential session with an independent, neutral third party whom the parties agree will have binding authority to make decisions regarding their case.
Late Case Evaluation
The parties and their attorneys attend a confidential session with an independent, neutral third party who is an experienced domestic relations attorney and/or judge, who is not assigned to their case. The late case evaluator hears the arguments and concerns of both parties and makes non-binding recommendations concerning settlement based on his or her experience. The point of late case evaluation is to have someone not involved in your case advise you what your outcome at trial likely will be, thereby possibly avoiding a trial.
The collaborative approach to family law offers a way to resolve issues incident to a divorce through cooperation, positive negotiation and amicable resolution. Not every case is suited for the collaborative process, but if it is something you think might be right for you and your family, several Boyd Collar Nolen Tuggle & Roddenbery have been specially trained in collaborative law. We are pleased to be able to offer our clients this alternative to litigation.
In recent years, the Supreme Court of Georgia has given individuals involved in domestic relations matters the opportunity to file an appeal if they are dissatisfied with the outcome of their divorce at the trial court level without going through the same rigorous process that the Supreme Court usually requires for its cases.
While relatively few domestic cases require an appeal, if a client believes an issue was wrongly decided, an appeal may be appropriate.
Our lawyers have briefed and orally argued appeals at every level in the Georgia appellate courts and are extraordinarily skilled at analysis of the advisability of an appeal and the likely outcome.
Georgia law allows a couple to enter into a contract of their own creation, either before or after the marriage, setting forth their financial obligations in the event of a divorce. Such agreements are commonly used to protect property that one or both parties owned prior to the marriage from becoming divided upon divorce, to protect gifts from family members or to guard a personal interest in a family business. Prenuptial agreements can also be used effectively as estate planning tools to protect future inheritances of adult children in the event of remarriage later in life. If properly drafted and executed, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement will allow a couple to separate and divorce promptly and amicably without a costly legal battle.
The attorneys at Boyd Collar Nolen Tuggle & Roddenbery have extensive experience in preparing prenuptial and postnuptial agreements as well as litigating the validity of an agreement should it have been improperly drafted or executed by prior counsel.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in all states, and married LGBTQ couples are entitled to the same legal rights as opposite-sex married couples when they divorce. We pride ourselves on our sensitivity to the unique legal needs of same-sex couples. The attorneys at Boyd Collar Nolen Tuggle & Roddenbery have the experience to help navigate through issues involving marriage, divorce, child custody, property division and other family law matters.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
One area that longtime same-sex couples should consider is prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Couples who married in states that allowed same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court ruling, but who then moved to a state such as Georgia that didn’t recognize the marriage, may have made investments, bought property and accumulated wealth individually rather than jointly because such assets were not previously viewed as marital property. Couples now considering marriage also may face the issue of creating marital property from assets accumulated individually when they lived together before marriage.
These issues can be addressed in prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, which will decrease the chances of disputes and disappointments in the event of divorce or a partner’s death or disability.
Couples with children often have had to live with the unfortunate legal conundrum where one partner is the biological parent while the other partner has no legal parenting rights. Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, many states, including Georgia, did not allow second-parent adoptions by same-sex couples. Legally, that meant the second parent had no more rights than a family friend in matters governing a child’s health care, education and other decisions. Further, if the biological parent died, the second parent had no guarantee he or she would receive custody.
Despite the legalization of same-sex marriage, parents in such families do not automatically gain equal legal rights in regard to children who came into the relationship before the law changed. This situation can be remedied with a stepparent adoption, which grants both partners equal parenting rights.
Unfortunately, there are times when one or both parties fail to comply with a court order requiring payment of child support or alimony or relating to custody or visitation. The remedy when a party fails to comply is a contempt action by the court. Whether you’re the alleged offender or the wronged party, you will need legal help to navigate enforcement. Serious penalties, including incarceration, can occur in contempt cases, so legal representation is a must. The attorneys at Boyd Collar Nolen Tuggle & Roddenbery are skilled in representing clients seeking enforcement of prior orders, as well as those clients defending such an action.
Sometimes when parties are involved in domestic litigation, safety can become a concern. Emotions can run high, and unfortunately, individuals sometimes take regrettable actions that may harm one or more of their family members. In certain cases, it is appropriate to pursue the court’s protection from family violence.
Our attorneys have extensive experience pursuing, and in certain circumstances defending, family violence actions. Upon the filing of a verified petition alleging that an act of family violence has occurred in the past and is likely to occur in the future, the court is authorized to enter a temporary protective order. The temporary protective order can provide relief, including but not limited to restraining the offending party from committing future acts of family violence or otherwise harassing or interfering with the petitioner, granting the petitioner exclusive use and possession of the family residence or requiring the offending party to provide alternate housing to the petitioner and children, awarding temporary custody to the petitioner, and awarding temporary financial support to the petitioner. If the court finds that a family violence petition is supported by evidence, a temporary protective order is immediately entered and a hearing scheduled (usually within 10 days) to determine whether the protective order should be extended or modified.
Addiction and mental illness issues can play a significant role in family law matters. Boyd Collar Nolen Tuggle & Roddenbery attorneys have decades of experience addressing special considerations that go beyond typical litigation services. We work compassionately with all family members to find solutions for family parenting plans that are detailed and especially designed for families touched by addiction and mental illness.