Frequently Asked Questions: Family Law Edition


Family law can be confusing. There are a lot of different factors involved in divorce, child custody, child support, and more, which can be difficult to grasp if you are not familiar with the process or experienced with Georgia law. 

So, what are some questions we receive on a regular basis?

If I have joint custody, do I still have to pay child support?

Short answer, yes. However, each parent has a child support obligation to the other. So, we would run a child support worksheet for both parents and then offset the difference. Judges in Georgia have broad discretion on deviations so child support in joint physical custody situations can be difficult.  

Is there anything I can do to show the court I want custody?

Absolutely. Get familiar with your children’s schedules and needs, be involved in their school activities, and communicate with the other parent. This will show the court that you are putting effort forth to have a genuine relationship with your kids.

Why do I need a prenup? We aren’t planning on getting divorced.

No one really plans on getting a divorce, do they? A prenup does not mean you are going to get divorced. It is a tool that will allow both parties’ futures to be protected in the event of a divorce. Isn’t it better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it?

I’m separated but about to go through a custody case. Can I move out of state?

Generally, no. In Georgia, when a custody case is filed, there is something called a “standing order.” It says that the parents shall not remove the children from the jurisdiction of the court unless the court has approved. In other words, the court must give you permission to leave the state, and nine times out of ten, in a pending case, they won’t.

Are there any additional costs that come with child support?

There are typically three costs you may pay in addition to child support: medical expenses, extracurricular activities, and work-related child support.

What are some things the court does NOT consider when determining child support?

Your mortgage, car payment, past-due taxes, probation fines, court fines, college-aged kids you might be supporting, and any other debt you might have are not considered when child support is being calculated.

What are some things the court DOES consider when determining child support?

Really, the only thing that matters is your gross income before taxes. There are other factors in figuring out exactly what the child support number is such as school expenses, daycare, and health insurance premiums, but the main factor is what your gross income is. That is income before taxes.

What happens if one spouse wants a divorce and the other doesn’t?

In Georgia and most other states, both parties don’t have to consent to the divorce. If one spouse feels that the marriage is irretrievably broken, they are entitled to file and will get a divorce.

Can I see my boyfriend/girlfriend during my divorce if we are separated?

If you have kids, this isn’t the best idea. Divorce is already a substantial change for them and bringing a new partner in the picture on top of that can be difficult to grasp. If you don’t have kids but you are spending money on your new boyfriend or girlfriend, you are depleting marital assets and therefore the equitable division is unlikely to be 50/50. Either way, it isn’t a good idea. 

We understand that divorce and other family law cases bring a lot of questions and baggage. If you have additional questions, schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.  

About Brown & Dutton Law Firm:

Family law matters affect your life deeply and personally. Family law is far more than just another “legal matter.” It impacts your life, your children’s lives, your finances, and your future.

Whether our clients are going through a complex divorce, a child custody issue, or have a modification need, they are our number one priority. At Brown & Dutton Family Law Firm, our family law attorneys take pride in supporting our clients and guiding them through any challenges they are facing. Helping our clients improve their quality of life is the reason we do what we do. We walk with clients every step of the way.

At Brown & Dutton Family Law Firm, we are a group of experienced divorce and family law attorneys in Georgia with years of litigation experience and countless satisfied clients.

The attorneys at Brown & Dutton would be honored to stand by your side during this difficult time. JenniLance, and Tracy are experienced, transparent, and compassionate Georgia family lawyers that have been practicing attorneys for more than 35 combined years. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and begin planning for your future!

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