Atlanta Legal Issues Blog

Student loans can be a contributing factor in divorce

Marriage is a job within itself without the added worry about new careers and finances. Young married couples today face new money problems that were not as widespread in previous generations. Recent surveys of divorced millennials cite student loan balances as a common cause for many of their marriages ending. In Georgia and elsewhere, high student loan debt is a financial stressor for many couples and is said to be a contributing factor in many a divorce.

Student Loan Hero reports that 13 percent of borrowers going through divorce proceedings fault their student loan debt. Reports show that more than 44 million Americans are repaying loans that total $1.5 trillion nationally. In the past decade, there has been a steady increase in the number of student loans and amounts borrowed have increased. Graduates who were surveyed from the Class of 2017 have, on average, nearly $40,000 in debt when they leave college.

Matt Lauer nears $50 million divorce settlement

A former co-host on a popular morning show is preparing to shell out a cool $50 million to his former wife. Sources say the fallen anchor is furious about handing over real estate and half of his net worth. In Georgia and other states, a celebrity divorce settlement such as this can cost well into the millions.

Matt Lauer, the disgraced co-host of the Today Show, was axed in November 2017 amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct from female colleagues. He was officially replaced by Hoda Kotb in January 2018. He is fuming over the pending settlement and believes he may receive a better deal if he were to battle it out in court. Sources say he knows a lengthy court battle would draw even more negative attention and unwanted headlines to himself.

Divorce takes planning – these tips can help

Every year in the United States, there are approximately two million divorces. In other words, the divorce rate is roughly 50 percent. And, while you probably did not walk down the aisle with the intention of divorcing in two years or in 20, that does not mean you should not have a plan in place in case you do divorce. In fact, divorce requires planning before you start the process, during the proceedings and even after.

In general, there are three phases of divorce. The first is filing the paperwork, the second is discovery and the third is the disposition. The discovery phase usually involves extensive research into both your and your spouse's financial backgrounds. This stage will have a heavy bearing on how the disposition stage goes in terms of dividing marital property. However, before you even begin the first phase, it is vital that you take the time to implement the following divorce planning tips.

Foster care numbers increase when child custody is terminated

Statistics show the number of children entering foster care across the country had been on the decline for almost a decade, but recent statistics from 2012 to 2016 show 36 states with a 10 percent increase. Georgia and other states credit the opioid epidemic with a parent's child custody rights being terminated. Substance abuse in a home with children is considered child abuse in many states.

Recent increases have caused state governments to reconsider removing children from households while parents are being treated for substance abuse. Some states have programs in place that allow children to be cared for by relatives or by having the child stay with a parent during treatment. It is hoped that keeping children together with their parents will reduce the trauma to the child and encourage parents to complete treatment.

Dads still fight for equality in child custody cases

Child custody proceedings during a divorce can be one of the most stressful times in a father's life. Only 40 percent of states give parents equal time with their children. A new report shows that several states across the country give dads less than 25 percent of equal time with their children. Georgia weighed in at number 46, with 23.5 percent. Results also showed that 20 states were tied for the number one spot, winning 50 percent of equal parenting time in child custody cases.

Researchers surveyed to see which states gave dads the most time with their children. Before the survey, it was hard to compare custody schedules because they were often complex and detailed. Analysts studied the judicial standards and surveyed legal professionals across the country to find out what schedules were used most often.

Grandparents gain child custody in the opioid epidemic

Across the nation, 2.6 million grandparents have assumed the role of parent and are raising their grandchildren. Studies show that older relatives are stepping up to the plate to become primary caregivers, and the number of "grandfamilies" has shown a steady increase of 7 percent in five years. Experts in Georgia and elsewhere say the reason many grandparents gain child custody is due to the opioid epidemic.

Many grandparents have no legal rights with their grandchildren, most having come to them in the middle of the night, dropped off by a parent. While they offer stability to these kids whose lives have bordered on chaotic, they cannot decide about medical care, school or vacations. It is estimated that for each child in foster care, there are 20 outside of foster care living with grandparents.

Drug addiction, prison and women's child custody rights

The opioid addiction is landing more women behind bars, with many cycling in and out of prison multiple times for violations related to drug addiction. All across the country, families are being torn apart, incarceration rates are skyrocketing and treatment centers are being forced to close because of lack of money. In Georgia and other states, child custody rights are severed because of substance abuse.

Treatment for women can be costlier, and they are slow to ask for help because of family pressures. Single mothers fear losing their children because of their addiction. A recent survey showed that four in 10 women lost custody of their children while on drugs. Many have family members caring for their kids, and some children who were born with drugs in their system have been taken away and adopted.

How to establish paternity as an unmarried father in Georgia

Having a child is one of the most incredible experiences you can have. For most people, a child is a source of joy and motivation in early and middle life, as well as a source of support and care in the later stages of life. Becoming a father can transform you and make you a better person. However, if you aren't married to the mother of your child, things can quickly become complicated.

There are many reasons why unmarried fathers struggle to establish paternity. Perhaps the mother of your child is already married to someone else, so the hospital assumed the husband was the father. Maybe you split with the mother early on, and she has since denied you access to her and the child after its birth. Whatever the reason for your difficulty, you can take steps to establish yourself as the father of the child.

Man pleads guilty to $500k child support bill

A man indicted for failure to pay support for his children since 1998 has pleaded guilty in a U.S. District Court. He was arrested in Canada living under an assumed name and extradited back to the U.S. In Georgia and elsewhere, child support is to be paid by non-custodial parents for the support of their minor children.

The man was required to pay $100 per month to his former wife when they divorced in 1989 for the support of his four children. In 1996, the U.S. Office of Inspector General stated that he sold his internet business for 2 million dollars. His child support was modified to reflect that unreported income. The amount of child support owed to his former wife was $559,000 as of 2014 when the case was unsealed.

Maintaining safety in school during child custody disputes

There are many misconceptions made by school authorities regarding noncustodial parents, but the most common is the assumption that parents communicate with each other. There are two types of child custody, physical and legal. A parent with physical custody has physical custody of the child the majority of the time. In Georgia and elsewhere, parents with legal custody have the authority to make decisions regarding a child's education. The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act typically allows both parents access to school records, while most states have their own laws regarding this issue as well.

School officials recommend providing legal documents that map out child custody to their school at the beginning of each academic year. Announcements at open houses and newsletters are ways to remind parents the importance of filing legal documents with their child's school. A noncustodial parent cannot be denied access without specific court order. It is the parent's responsibility to file court documents with the school system since the court is not required to release the information.

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