DIVORCE

What experience do we have in representing families in Court?

Divorce is always complicated, but the legal, financial and emotional issues can be even more complicated when the divorce involves significant income and assets. Over the past 25 years, our domestic litigation practice at The Lynch Law Group, P.C. has represented business leaders, professionals and individuals of independent means in divorce proceedings. In addition, we offer a special focus on the unique circumstances of sports and entertainment figures.

What experience do you have in Litigating Divorces?

Divorce is always complicated, but the legal, financial and emotional issues can be even more complicated when the divorce involves significant income and assets. Over the past 25 years, our domestic litigation practice at The Lynch Law Group, P.C. has represented business leaders, professionals and individuals of independent means in divorce proceedings. In addition, we offer a special focus on the unique circumstances of sports and entertainment figures.

What is a Prenuptial or Post-Nuptial Agreement?

Another important component of the domestic practice is pre-nuptial agreements, or as they are known under Georgia law, marital agreements, for individuals with current or future expectations of significant income and assets or unusual circumstances. These agreements are important when one spouse brings greater assets to a marriage, when individuals marry later in life, and when the marriage involves children from a previous marriage. A well-written pre-nuptial agreement helps to resolve in advance many of the issues that may arise in a divorce settlement.

The Lynch Law Group, P.C. also handles post-nuptial agreements, which are negotiated after a marriage has taken place. Post-nuptial agreements usually involve a change in circumstances, such as an inheritance or the launch of a new businesses or employment contract relationship.

What is a Prenuptial or Post-Nuptial Agreement?

Another important component of the domestic practice is pre-nuptial agreements, or as they are known under Georgia law, marital agreements, for individuals with current or future expectations of significant income and assets or unusual circumstances. These agreements are important when one spouse brings greater assets to a marriage, when individuals marry later in life, and when the marriage involves children from a previous marriage. A well-written pre-nuptial agreement helps to resolve in advance many of the issues that may arise in a divorce settlement.

The Lynch Law Group, P.C. also handles post-nuptial agreements, which are negotiated after a marriage has taken place. Post-nuptial agreements usually involve a change in circumstances, such as an inheritance or the launch of a new businesses or employment contract relationship.

High Wage Earner

What If I am a Top Executive, CEO, Athlete or Entertainer?

AFA services offer specialized legal services to high end entertainment, sports and business executives. We understand that with high- profile clients, their needs and their representation must be customized to provide for their unique circumstances. Time is not always a luxury they might have to spend on tedious litigation. Hence, our goal is to provide thorough and effective representation to busy clients. We tailor a litigation strategy directly for individual needs; and whether it is divorce, child support or custody issues, we are prepared to protect your rights and willing to stake our reputation and our brand name on getting the results you need.

What experience do you have in Litigating Divorces?

Dissolution of marriage cases often result in a negotiated or mediated settlement. The Lynch Law Group, P.C., has successfully negotiated hundreds of out-of-court settlements. However, when litigation is the only resort, Lynch Law Group, PC, with over 20 years of litigation experience has the expertise to bring the firm’s substantial litigation background to provide robust representation in court.

What is a Prenuptial or Post-Nuptial Agreement?

Another important component of the domestic practice is pre-nuptial agreements, or as they are known under Georgia law, marital agreements, for individuals with current or future expectations of significant income and assets or unusual circumstances. These agreements are important when one spouse brings greater assets to a marriage, when individuals marry later in life, and when the marriage involves children from a previous marriage. A well-written pre-nuptial agreement helps to resolve in advance many of the issues that may arise in a divorce settlement.

Child Custody

What Is Child Custody?

Child custody refers to the legal and practical rights over children after a divorce, including:

Physical Custody– Where the children live.

Legal Custody – Who makes decisions regarding matters of health, education and safety.

Georgia custody law awards custody in terms of what is in the best interest of the child. Each child custody case is unique and requires an in-depth analysis of each parent’s ability to raise the child and make major decisions. In Georgia, there are four child custody options:

Sole Custody
– One parent lives with and has total decision making authority regarding the child.

Physical Custody – Child primarily lives with one parent who has total decision making authority, but the other parent has some parenting time with the child.

Legal Custody – Child primarily lives with one parent but decision making regarding the child is shared.

Joint Custody – Child lives with both parents on a relatively equal basis and decision making regarding the child is shared.

LEGITIMATION/PATERNITY

WHAT IS LEGITIMATION?

Legitimation is a way for a father to claim legal parentage of a child “born out of wedlock.” It goes beyond a mere acknowledgment of paternity. In Georgia, establishing paternity gives a court the power to enforce a father’s duty to support a child financially, while legitimation gives a child the right to inherit from a father, as well as the right to obtain family medical history on the father’s side, and the right to placement in the home of a relative on the father’s side in the event that the mother becomes unable to care for the child. Legitimation also gives the father the right to inherit from the child, and the right to petition the court for custody or visitation. Without legitimation, only the mother of a child born out of wedlock has any custody rights.

WHAT DOES “BORN OUT OF WEDLOCK” MEAN?

Generally speaking, a child in Georgia is “born out of wedlock” if the parents aren’t married to each other at the time of the birth, and the child is not legitimized after the birth. If the parents’ marriage is annulled after the child is born, the child will still be legitimate. If the mother is married when the child is born or has ended a previous marriage less than about nine months prior to the birth, the law presumes that the mother’s husband (or former husband) is the child’s father, and the child is legitimate. If the couple conceived by means of artificial insemination after mutual written consent, the presumption of legitimacy is absolute.

HOW IS A CHILD BORN OUT OF WEDLOCK LEGITIMIZED?

f the mother wasn’t married at the time of birth (or within the nine months prior to the birth) the biological father can legitimate the child by marrying the mother. If the child is less than one year old, the biological father can legitimate the child by signing an “acknowledgment of legitimation.” If a mother gives birth in a Georgia hospital, the hospital staff will provide the mother and the father (if he is there) with a document that includes this acknowledgment along with a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. Both parents must sign the document, have the signatures notarized, and submit the form to the State Office of Vital Records. Either parent can rescind consent to the acknowledgment within 60 days after signing it.

If the mother was married at the time of the birth (or within the nine months prior to the birth) to someone other than the biological father, the biological father can’t legitimate the child simply by marrying the mother or signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, due to the legal presumption that the mother’s husband (or former husband, if they have divorced) is the legal father.

The biological father would first have to establish paternity and then file a petition for legitimation in court. The mother’s husband or former husband can challenge the petition, unless he has divorced the mother on the grounds that she gave birth to another man’s child. The mother can challenge the petition, provided that her parental rights have not been terminated, and no termination action is pending. An adoptive parent or adoption agency with custody of the child can also challenge the petition.

Overcoming the presumption that the mother’s husband or former husband is a child’s father is not easy and requires very strong proof. A court won’t allow a mother to claim that her former husband is not the father of a child born during their marriage if she signed a divorce complaint and settlement agreement stating that he was, and she and the alleged biological father knew from the beginning of the pregnancy about his possible paternity, but chose to hide it.

Under the same circumstances, if the biological father marries the mother after her divorce, he cannot challenge the presumption in favor of the former husband if he remained silent about his possible paternity while the mother accepted child support from her former husband.

Even if the mother was not married when the child was born, and a DNA test establishes the biological father’s paternity without question, he won’t have an automatic right to have a court grant his petition for legitimation. The court will consider the best interests of the child. If the biological father delayed making any effort to develop a relationship with the child or support the child financially, a court may find that he abandoned his “opportunity and interest” in legitimation.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

What do I do if I am victim or accused of Domestic Violence and Injunctions?

The Georgia code defines domestic violence as any felony, battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint and criminal trespass between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children and persons living or formerly living in the same household. (O.C.G.A. §19-13-1)

The Court considers the following when deciding issues related to Domestic Violence.

  • The history between the parties, including threats, harassment, stalking, and physical abuse.
  • Whether the respondent has attempted to harm the petitioner or family members or individuals closely associated with the petitioner.
  • Whether the respondent has threatened to conceal, kidnap, or Harm the petitioner’s child or children.
  • Whether the respondent has intentionally injured or killed a family pet.
  • Whether the respondent has used, or has threatened to use, against the petitioner any weapons such as guns or knives.
  • Whether the respondent has physically restrained the petitioner from leaving the home or calling law enforcement.
  • Whether the respondent has a criminal history involving violence or the threat of violence.
  • The existence of a verifiable order of protection issued previously or from another jurisdiction.
  • Whether the respondent has destroyed personal property, including, but not limited to, telephones or other communications equipment, clothing, or other items belonging to the petitioner.
  • Whether the respondent engaged in any other behavior or conduct that leads the petitioner to have reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.
What is the cycle of violence?

Domestic violence tends to follow a cycle of three phases. In the first, tension, arguing, and anger escalates between the couple. In the second, the arguing crosses the line into abuse, which can be physical, sexual or emotional. The aim of the behavior is an attempt by the abuser to gain power and control over the victim. Following the violent episode, the “honeymoon phase” occurs in which the batterer may make excuses for the behavior, promise to change, or apologize. Often the honeymoon phase becomes shorter, and frequently the abuse escalates if the victim attempts to leave the relationship.

Are you a victim? Men and Women can be victims of Domestic Violence.

Many victims believe the promises made during the honeymoon phase. Often they believe the violence will not occur again, the abuser is capable of changing, or they can somehow alter the abuser’s behavior. Many victims are reluctant to seek help for a variety of reasons. Many men do not feel that they can seek relief of the Court from an abusive spouse or know what to do if they are falsely accused of Domestic Violence. There are many resources that are available to you to adequately protect yourself and your family. Do not hesitate to contact the Police to ensure your safety. If you are in need of an exit strategy, the Lynch Law Group, P.C. in conjunction with GAFA, can consult with you and provide a plan for you and your families’ future.

Have you been falsely accused of Domestic Violence? What can you do?

Because relief in Domestic Violence Court can be swift and far more expedient than the Divorce Court, many individuals will seek to garner an immediate advantage in the Domestic Violence court rather than await temporary relief in Divorce Court. The Domestic Violence Court is aware that this process is often misused and is poised to enter Protective Orders only in cases that warrant it. However, if not properly advocated, these Domestic Violence Orders can be in place for a year and can not only displace you from your home, they can also impose inordinate support, custodial and other financial obligations upon you. If your spouse or partner has falsely accused you of a violent act against them in an effort to have you immediately removed from your home, you need to act quickly to ensure that you have proper representation before the Domestic Violence Court to fight against a protective order being entered against you where the facts do not warrant it. The Domestic Violence hearings come quickly. Schedule an online consultation quickly so that you can protect your rights in Court.

DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS

WHAT IS A DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP?

A domestic partnership is a relationship entered into with mutual understanding, consent and affection by two persons of the same sex. In Georgia, , there is no legal recognition of same sex marriage. A notable exception is that the city of Atlanta extends employer provided benefits to domestic partners, and provides a domestic partner registry.

ARE DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS ENFORECABLE?

In as much as the state of Georgia does not recognize same sex marriages it takes a different approach to create a domestic partnership arrangement that will be legally recognized in Georgia. Effectively this means developing a formal legal document similar to a prenuptial agreement. This agreement can address power of attorney, property ownership and more.

HOW DO WE DISSOLVE OUR DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP?

With our domestic partnership agreements the dissolution of a domestic partnership has defined legal obligations and responsibilities. Our approach to handling domestic partnerships in Georgia is a proven way for same sex partners to have legal protection towards mutual ownership of property, health care decisions, same sex adoptions and more.