Family Law

Let Our Family Help Yours

Family Law Attorneys in Decatur, Georgia 

At Smith and Little, P.C., we have over 20 years of experience helping families work through complex, emotional family law matters. From questions about how a spouse should move ahead with their divorce and what the details of the settlement might mean for their family, to how a couple should handle a dispute in their adoption, we seek to achieve the best results for every family. 

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What You Need to Know About Divorces in Georgia

To successfully settle a divorce, there are a several considerations spouses will need to make, all of which have a significant bearing on the terms of the settlement. 

Here are some of those considerations that our family law attorneys at Smith & Little, P.C. can help you make during your divorce case: 

  • If spouses have children, they will need to establish an agreement regarding custody and visitation, a decision that requires answers to additional questions. For instance, what kind of custody arrangement do the children want? Also, is it evident that one parent has attempted to alienate a child from their other parent?
  • Spouses with children will also need to determine how much child support either parent will be responsible to provide 
  • If spouses share assets or own them individually, they will likely have to determine how you will divide those assets in your divorce. It is important to note that Georgia is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that assets in a divorce will not simply be divided 50/50. Courts instead attempt to determine an equitable way to apportion assets based on the respective needs of either spouse 
  • If spouses have debts, they will need figure out who will pay those debts after divorce. Just like assets, courts apportion debts based on the equitable distribution principle 
  • Will either spouse seek alimony, and if so, will it be short-term or permanent alimony? For either alimony type, courts will consider several factors to determine whether a spouse needs alimony and whether the other spouse is able to pay it

A significant factor that might feature in every divorce consideration is that Georgia is what is called a “no-fault” state. This means that neither spouse in a divorce case must establish that the other was responsible for the marriage’s failure. However, should one spouse want to seek a child custody agreement that grants them exclusive custody of the child, for instance, they will need to establish a fault that could necessitate such an arrangement. This includes issues like abuse or adultery. 

Our Decatur attorneys know how difficult divorce can be and how unique each case is to the families involved. That is why we seek to collaborate with our clients to provide individualized approaches to their cases. 

If you are seeking divorce, contact us online or call us at (678) 949-9756 to schedule a consultation so that we can discuss how our attorneys might serve you. 

Seeking an Adoption in Georgia

The first thing anyone in Georgia who is seeking an adoption ought to know is what kinds of adoption there are. 

Our state provides for six different types. 

  • Adoptions can 1) go through a public or private agency, and they may also 2) be granted by “foreign decree,” which means the adoption took place somewhere outside of the United States
  • 3) Relatives, 4) stepparents, or 5) non-related third parties can become adoptive parents 
  • Individuals over the age of 18 can be adopted through 5) adult adoption

Georgia law is strict and for good reason: the state wants to ensure that adopted children receive the care and support they deserve. As a result, regardless of the adoption type, families need to meet certain specifications and provide and complete rigorous documentation throughout the entire process. 

The state’s provisions maintain that those seeking an adoption must:

  • Have lived in Georgia for at least 6 months before filing for an adoption through the state
  • Be at least 10 years older than the adoptive child
  • Be at least 25 years old, except in cases where individuals are married and living together
  • Adopt the child together, if a married couple is seeking an adoption
  • Demonstrate the capacity to care for the adopted child 

In addition to meeting these requirements, families must provide a variety of documents to the court that include:

  • The consent of the adopted child’s biological parents
  • The biological parents’ last known addresses, their names, and marital status
  • A petition to the court stating intent to seek the adoption 
  • A form with the petition that indicates the names of someone whose consent would be required to fulfill the adoption but is absent for some reason 
  • Information about the child’s medical, educational, social, and genetic history
  • Details about how much the adoptive parents have paid for the adoption 

It is a possibility that after filing these documents with the court, they will order the adoption agency or an authorized independent third party to complete a report on the adoptive family to help the court determine if placing the adopted child with the prospective family will be best for the child’s welfare. 

Adoption Disputes 

The biological parents of a child, as well as any other family member, can contest an adoption. These cases are different than a disrupted adoption, which is when a biological parent changes their decision to place the child with adoptive parents. Courts handle contested adoptions, meaning the adoptive parents will have a chance to make their case. Like all other aspects the process, the circumstances under which an adoption might be contested are incredibly varied because they are specific to the people involved.

Dealing with a contested adoption is an intricate matter that a caring and experienced family law attorney can aid in. If your adoption is contested, Smith & Little, P.C. wants to ease this tense and emotional process by providing you with the legal advocacy you deserve. 

Contact us online or call us today at (678) 949-9756 to see how our McDonough attorneys can help you.

Case Results
  • Divorce and Family Law Custody Modification Action

    Henry County custody modification action: Nathaniel M. Smith successfully defended against a mother’s attempt to take custody away from a father.

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  • Divorce and Family Law TPO Case

    Clayton County TPO case: Candace Little defended a client against a domestic violence TPO petition our client’s husband filed against her, successfully ...

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  • Divorce and Family Law Divorce

    Newton County: Candace Cliatt negotiated an alimony award for our client in a divorce action.

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  • Divorce and Family Law Divorce

    Coweta County divorce: Nathaniel M. Smith’s client was awarded primary custody of the children and also alimony, in addition to an equitable share of ...

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  • Divorce and Family Law Divorce and Family Law

    On appeal from a Monroe County Superior Court’s order declining to domesticate a court order from the United Kingdom, the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled ...

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