Man and woman on a date during divorce proceedings.

Can I Date During My Divorce?

If you are contemplating a divorce in Georgia, you may already have someone in mind whom you’d like to get to know better. This isn’t unusual. In fact, most people who are on the brink of divorce have been unhappy for quite some time—and this often leads them to look elsewhere for fulfillment. But is it a good idea to date during your divorce? The short answer to this question is “no.” It generally isn’t a good idea to begin dating before your divorce is final. However, everyone’s situation is unique. So, if you’re considering a divorce in Georgia, please review the information below about dating and divorce. If you have additional questions, please contact a Georgia divorce attorney for guidance. 

What a Date Is – In Legal Terms

For legal purposes, a date is an act of having a one-on-one social interaction with another person. It doesn’t matter whether it’s platonic or romantic. For practical purposes, however, the dates that are likely to get you into trouble during your divorce are those of a romantic nature. 

The Consequences of Dating During a Divorce

The main reason that it is advisable to refrain from dating during divorce is that it can lead to suspicion that you had an affair prior to being separated. If that happens, your new partner may be required to testify in court on several issues, including:

  • When your relationship started
  • Whether the relationship is of a physical or romantic nature
  • Whether you transferred any property from your marriage to your partner as a gift 
  • The amount of money you spent on dates with your partner

Ultimately, this can make you look bad in court and can have an effect on the outcome of your divorce. If the judge believes you began dating while still married, it won’t help your case. 

How to Approach Dating and Divorce 

If you absolutely must date during your divorce, below are some tips to make sure you don’t harm your case:

  • Don’t date unless you and your spouse are separated physically. 
  • Avoid starting a sexual relationship if possible. A surprise pregnancy during divorce won’t help your case. 
  • When dating either during or after a divorce, always keep your children in mind. If you have children, consider their needs before your own. Don’t expose them to new people too quickly, as this can harm them emotionally. 

Contact a Lithonia divorce attorney today 

Whether you need a divorce or have been served with divorce papers in Georgia, you need an experienced Georgia divorce attorney on your side. At the law office of E.N. Banks-Ware, we’ll guide you through the divorce process while doing everything possible to help you achieve a successful outcome in your Georgia divorce case. So, if you need a lawyer to represent you in your Georgia divorce, contact us today for a free consultation.

A couple that is getting a divorce in Georgia.

What Not to Do When Getting a Divorce in Georgia

The divorce process can be challenging, but people often make it more difficult than is necessary. By avoiding the actions described below, you’ll not only save yourself time and money, but you’ll make the divorce process easier for your children, your ex, and anyone else affected by your divorce. Below is an overview of what not to do when getting a divorce in Georgia. If you still have questions after reviewing this information, please feel free to contact our Georgia divorce lawyer

Don’t Put Off Updating Your Will

A divorce doesn’t automatically update your will. Therefore, if you want to prevent your ex from receiving the assets listed in your will, you need to discuss updating it with your Georgia divorce lawyer

Don’t Fail to Consider Mediation or Collaborative Divorce 

Mediation and collaborative divorce are alternatives to the traditional divorce process. With collaborative divorce, you work with a team of professionals to help you divide property and manage emotional stress. Collaborative divorce is less adversarial than traditional divorce.

Mediation is also less adversarial than traditional divorce. In mediation, a divorce mediator works with you and your spouse in an effort to reach a satisfactory divorce agreement. 

Don’t Take Your Frustration out on Your Kids

While this may seem obvious, you should never take your frustrations with the divorce process out on your children. During the typical divorce, emotions run high, and it’s often easy to lash out at those around us, including our children. However, children need a supportive environment—especially when trying to process the divorce of their parents. 

Don’t Refuse Counseling

Counseling can be a great help to couples who are going through the divorce process. Therapists help couples and their children deal with the emotions they experience when dealing with divorce. Generally, any healthy activity that reduces the stress of divorce is worth exploring, including counseling. 

Don’t Increase Your Debt

Finally, divorce can be expensive. And while it may be tempting to tackle the costs associated with divorce by accumulating debt, avoid doing so if possible. Divorce is a big change, and it may require you to adjust your spending habits temporarily. 

Don’t Forget to Contact a Divorce Lawyer! 

If you are seeking a divorce in Georgia, you need an experienced divorce attorney on your side. At the law office of E.N. Banks-Ware, we will work with you to help you achieve a positive outcome in your divorce proceeding. When you hire us to represent you in your Georgia divorce, our primary concern is protecting the interests of you and your family. And when a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached in your case, we are always ready and willing to fight for you in court. Therefore, if you need a divorce in Lithonia County or elsewhere in Georgia, please contact us today for a free consultation. 

Woman trying to understand an answer and counterclaim in her divorce.

Georgia Divorce 101: What Is an Answer and Counterclaim?

Sometimes, when a couple goes through a divorce, they are in complete agreement from the get-go regarding how they want their marriage to end, and they resolve all their issues prior to filing their divorce documents with the court. This is rare. Most divorces are adversarial and begin when one spouse files a complaint for divorce against the other in court. The attorney for the spouse on the receiving end of the complaint then responds by filing an answer and counterclaim. Whether you are seeking a divorce in Georgia or have been served with a complaint, it’s important that you understand the process of responding to a divorce complaint. Below is an overview of this important part of the Georgia divorce process.  

Responding to a Divorce Complaint

The official response to a spouse’s divorce filing is called the answer and counterclaim. The first part is the answer, in which the recipient responds to the accusations raised in the complaint in one of the following ways:

  • Admit the accusations
  • Deny the accusations
  • Admit the accusations in part or deny them in part
  • State that there isn’t enough information provided to provide a proper answer 

The second part of the answer is the counterclaim. The counterclaim outlines what the responding spouse wants to achieve in the divorce while asking the court for relief. In addition, the counterclaim allows the responding spouse to present his or her own grounds for divorce and to make any reasonable requests that he or she wants the court to have on record.

What Happens Next? 

After the recipient of the divorce complaint files an answer and counterclaim, he or she is protected from the issuance of a default judgment. The court only files a default judgment when a divorce complaint is filed, and the recipient fails to appear at a scheduled hearing. In such a scenario, the petitioner usually gets what he or she asks for in the complaint. This is why it is imperative to properly respond to a divorce complaint with the assistance of an experienced Georgia divorce attorney. Further, by filing an answer and counterclaim, the recipient’s desires for the resolution of all issues are on record with the court. 

Contact a Lithonia divorce attorney today 

Whether you are seeking a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Without an experienced divorce attorney in your corner, the divorce process can be nearly impossible to navigate. At the law office of E.N. Banks-Ware, we will guide you through the divorce process while working to help you achieve the best outcome possible in your Georgia divorce case. Therefore, if you need assistance of any kind with your divorce in Lithonia County or elsewhere in Georgia, please contact us today for a free consultation.

Woman figuring out her spouse's debts before filing for divorce.

Will I Be Liable for My Spouse’s Debts Following My Georgia Divorce?

Financial issues, including debts, are a major cause of divorce. Common examples of financial problems that lead to divorce include:  

  • Job loss
  • Overspending
  • Debt accumulation
  • One spouse’s lack of financial contribution to the household 

And although people often pursue divorce to solve their financial problems, they sometimes forget that they may have ongoing financial obligations after the divorce, particularly if the debt was accumulated during the marriage. As is discussed below, a spouse’s obligation to pay off debt after divorce is primarily dependent upon how that debt is classified. If you are seeking a divorce in Georgia and are concerned about debt, please review the information below, and contact a Georgia divorce lawyer as soon as possible for assistance. 

Marital vs. separate debts

The first thing to determine when analyzing a debt is whether it is marital or separate property. The easiest way to do this is to look to when the debt was incurred. Even if only one spouse’s name is associated with debt, it is possible that both spouses will have an obligation to pay it if it was acquired during the marriage. However, debts that either spouse owed prior to marriage usually remain separate.

In making the determination of who is liable for a debt, courts will also examine the circumstances under which the debt was accrued. If a spouse can prove that his or her husband or wife failed to disclose important financial information concerning the debt, the court may place liability with the spouse who accrued the debt. 

Student loans 

In the case of student loans accumulated during the marriage, responsibility for the debt may fall on both spouses if the spouse who took out the loans is able to convince the court that he or she enrolled in school to improve the financial circumstances of the family. If the court agrees with this claim, it will consider the student loans accrued during the marriage as marital debt that both spouses must repay. However, courts must divide property and debt equitably, meaning that additional circumstances can affect how much each spouse is required to pay. Given the complicated nature of debt division, it is advisable to obtain the assistance of a divorce attorney prior to initiating the divorce process.  

Contact a Lithonia divorce attorney today 

If you want a divorce, you need an experienced Georgia divorce lawyer on your side. At the law office of E.N. Banks-Ware, we work to help our clients achieve positive outcomes in their divorce proceedings. Equally adept at managing highly contested divorces or negotiating settlements, our primary concern is protecting your interests and the well-being of your family. In addition, when a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached, we are fully prepared to represent you in court. Therefore, if you are considering a divorce in Lithonia County or elsewhere in Georgia, please contact us today for a free consultation. 

Divorced parents with child learning the best co-parenting practices.

Helpful Co-Parenting Tips for Divorced Parents

As a divorced parent, it’s important to co-parent your children in a manner that fosters their growth and development. Unfortunately, however, divorced parents sometimes get caught up in their personal feelings and all but forget about the well-being of their children. In order to avoid this and other common co-parenting problems, we’ve compiled some helpful tips below. 

Focus on your children’s needs

You must always put your children’s needs first when co-parenting. This means that every decision you make must involve an analysis of how it will affect your children. Regardless of the issues, you have with your co-parent, you must put them aside and remember what’s important the well-being of your children. 

Prioritize communication

Effective communication is a necessary part of a successful co-parenting relationship. This may be difficult, especially if you are recently divorced. However, for the sake of your children, it’s imperative that you maintain an open line of communication with your co-parent. 

Stay consistent

You and your co-parent must enforce consistent rules regarding behavior, discipline, bedtime, playtime, chores, homework, and other areas. This requires communication and planning. Children need consistency to thrive, and conflicting rules can be confusing and frustrating. However, also try not to argue over minor differences. Stay focused on the big picture. 

Stick to your schedule

Once you have a parenting time schedule in place, stick to it. Staying consistent with your schedule will make your children feel secure. When parents frequently modify their parent-time schedules, the children suffer. However, when a modification is absolutely necessary, have a plan in place for communicating the changes to your children in an effective manner. 

Never speak poorly about the other parent

Never speak negatively about your co-parent in front of your children. Save your venting for conversations with your friends, parents, or other adults. Nothing good ever comes of disparaging your co-parent in front of your children. Don’t do it.

Be positive

Finally, always stay positive when dealing with your co-parent and your children. Speak highly of your co-parent in front of your children. Highlight your co-parent’s good points. Remember, it does your children no good to have negative feelings about you or your co-parent. Divorced parents can raise successful, happy, and healthy kidsit just takes a little cooperation and effort. 

Contact a Lithonia family law attorney today 

If you want a divorce or need post-divorce assistance, you need an experienced Georgia family law attorney on your side. At the law office of E.N. Banks-Ware, we will work to help you achieve a positive outcome in your divorce proceeding while keeping the best interests of you and your children in mind. In addition, we are experienced in child support and child custody matters. Therefore, if you need family law assistance in Lithonia County or elsewhere in Georgia, please contact us today for a free consultation.

E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm discusses what should older couples do if they are considering a divorce.

Divorce for Older Couples in Georgia

When older couples begin having marital problems, they often wonder whether divorce is the right decision. Unfortunately, for many couples, despite their best efforts to make things work, divorce is often the only appropriate choice. Late-life divorce is a much more difficult decision to make than most people think. Older married couples often have longer histories together than younger couples, and although many people believe that couples with grown children and secure financial situations have an easier time with the divorce process than their younger counterparts, this isn’t always the case. One thing that does help, however, is the assistance of a Georgia divorce lawyer. So, if you’re seeking a divorce in Georgia as an older individual, please review the information below, and contact a Georgia divorce lawyer as soon as possible for additional guidance. 

Things to consider before divorce

Your finances

Although many people nearing retirement age have their finances in order, they will almost certainly be affected by a divorce. Therefore, if you are considering divorce as an older individual, you should make sure that you have a significant financial cushion before beginning the process.

Your desire for divorce

While this may seem obvious, you should always be absolutely certain that you actually want a divorce before starting the process. Most married couples face relationship challenges. Be sure that divorce is right for you before getting the ball rolling. 

The impact of divorce on your family

Older couples sometimes underestimate the effect that divorce will have on their families, particularly since most older people no longer have dependent children living with them. However, divorce has an impact on all family members, regardless of age, so make sure you consider this before starting the divorce process. 

Whether forgiveness is an option

Some actions are forgivable, while others are not. Assess your situation before filing for divorce to determine whether forgiveness is an option in your situation. 

The guidance of your Georgia divorce attorney

Finally, when considering a divorce, always take your Georgia divorce attorney’s advice into consideration. Your divorce attorney will have answers to many of the questions you may have about the process, and she will be able to point you in the right direction regarding your options.  

Contact a Lithonia divorce attorney today 

If you want a divorce, you need an experienced Georgia divorce lawyer on your side. At the law office of E.N. Banks-Ware, we work to help our clients achieve positive outcomes in their divorce proceedings. Equally adept at managing highly contested divorces or negotiating settlements, our primary concern is protecting your interests and the well-being of your family. In addition, when a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached, we are fully prepared to represent you in court. Therefore, if you are considering a divorce in Lithonia County or elsewhere in Georgia, please contact us today for a free consultation. 

E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm discusses why divorce preparation is vital.

Here’s Why Divorce Preparation Is Important

For most people, the divorce process can be overwhelming. The end of one’s marriage is often an emotional time, and the divorce process itself can seem insurmountable. Despite this, if you plan on getting a divorce, is it imperative that you properly prepare. Of course, it can be difficult to prepare alone, particularly if you’ve never gone through the divorce process before. Therefore, if you are seeking a divorce in Georgia, you need the assistance of an experienced Georgia divorce attorney. An experienced Georgia attorney will ensure that you are fully prepared for your divorce, all while guiding you through the process with compassion and an understanding of the emotions involved in ending a marriage. In the meantime, however, please review the additional information below on how to prepare for divorce in Georgia. 

Gather documents 

The first thing you should do when preparing for a divorce is to make copies of your family’s important documents. Documents you may need include:

  • Tax returns 
  • Real estate documents
  • Estate planning documents
  • Insurance information
  • Bank account statements
  • Retirement account statements
  • Loan documents
  • Credit card statements 
  • Recent pay stubs for both you and your spouse

Differentiate between marital and separate property

Another important thing you should do when preparing for divorce is making a list of all of your family’s assets and debts. Next, you should categorize the items as either marital or separate property. The majority of property and debt acquired during the marriage is considered marital property, and this will be divided during your divorce. Separate property, on the other hand, is not divided during a divorce. Separate property includes assets or debts that you or your spouse owned prior to marriage. 

Review your expenses 

Finally, in preparation for divorce, you should review your family’s expenses. Common expenses include:

  • Household bills
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Gas
  • Home maintenance
  • Entertainment 

Reviewing your expenses is a good way to anticipate what your expenses may be following your divorce. However, keep in mind that one’s expenses often change following a divorce. For example, if your spouse keeps the marital home, then your living expenses, household bills, and home maintenance costs will likely change. 

Contact a Lithonia divorce lawyer  

One of the biggest mistakes a party to a divorce can make is failing to properly prepare. And part of the preparation process should involve working an experienced family law attorney. At the law office of E.N. Banks-Ware, we will work diligently to ensure that you achieve the results you desire in your Georgia divorce. Our experienced Georgia divorce attorney will be with you every step of the way as you begin this new chapter in your life. Therefore, if you are considering a divorce in Lithonia County or anywhere else in the state of Georgia, please contact our experienced divorce attorney immediately for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case. 

E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm, LLC gives an overview of parenting plans in Georgia.

About Parenting Plans in Georgia

Regardless of whether it’s contentious or amicable, divorce can be extremely difficult for children. Luckily, in Georgia, the courts want children to maintain healthy, positive relationships with both of their parents. One way the state facilitates this is through parenting plans. If you’re a parent and are contemplating divorce in Georgia, please review the information below, and contact a Lithonia family law attorney for additional guidance. 

What do parenting plans address?

Physical custody – When a parent has primary physical custody of his or her child, the child lives with that parent. Georgia law does not favor one parent over the other, and joint physical custody is possible. However, joint physical custody can be hard on children, as it requires children to bounce between homes.

Legal custody – Legal custody allows one parent to make important decisions about how to raise his or her child. This includes decisions regarding things like:

  • Medical care
  • Education
  • Extracurricular activities 

Parenting time – Parenting time, which is also called visitation, is the time that a parent who doesn’t have primary physical custody spends with his or her child. Parenting time typically follows a set schedule that is tailored to the specific needs of each family. Parenting time schedules are often created based on things like:

  • The parents’ work schedules
  • The child’s school schedule
  • The child’s extracurricular activities

How to ensure your parenting plan is a success 

Parenting plans should be designed to benefit children. Therefore, when following a parenting plan, both parents should keep the needs of their children in mind. Below are some ways to ensure that your parenting plan is a success.

Focus on your kids – Regardless of the issues you have with your ex, always keep the needs of your children at the forefront. This means that you shouldn’t argue in front of them or speak badly about the other parent to them. 

Maintain an open line of communication with your spouse – As noted above, parenting plans are intended to benefit children. Therefore, you must maintain an open and respectful line of communication with your ex. By communicating honestly and openly with your ex, you are ultimately benefiting your children. 

Be consistent – Children require stability and consistency, especially during and after a divorce. Therefore, make sure you stick to your schedule. In addition, you and your ex should establish similar rules that your children must follow. 

Contact a Lithonia family law lawyer  

If you have family law needs in Georgia, you need an experienced family law attorney on your side. At the law office of E.N. Banks-Ware, we are committed to protecting the interests and well-being of you and your children. Whether handling divorce proceedings, negotiating a parenting plan, or assisting in any other area of family law, we will always ensure that your legal interests are properly represented. Therefore, if you have family law needs in Lithonia County or elsewhere in Georgia, please contact us today for a free consultation. 

E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm gives an overview of child support and the termination of parental rights.

About Child Support and the Termination of Parental Rights in Georgia

In Georgia, parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children. However, under certain circumstances, this rule doesn’t apply. If you have questions about your financial obligations as a parent in Georgia, please review the information below, and contact a Lithonia family law attorney today for guidance. 

The termination of parental rights in Georgia

There are a number of circumstances under which a parent’s rights can be terminated. For example, the termination of parental rights often occurs before or during the adoption process. When a child is formally adopted in Georgia, the child’s legal relationship with his or her biological or legal parents ends. The adoptive parents then assume the rights and responsibilities of the former parents, and these responsibilities include the obligation to provide for the child financially. A parent can also lose his or her parental rights. Courts in Georgia will involuntarily terminate a party’s parental rights under the following circumstances:

  • The parent abandoned his or her child
  • The parent subjected his or her child to aggravated circumstances
  • Remaining with his or her parent is likely to cause serious mental, physical, emotional, or moral harm to the child.

The termination of parental rights and the obligation to pay child support 

Following the termination of parental rights, the former parent is no longer obligated to pay child support. This is due to the fact that a parent’s legal rights and responsibilities cease after a court terminates his or her parental rights. However, a parent whose rights are terminated will still be required to fulfill any financial obligations that existed prior to the termination. In addition, if the court believes that a parent has abandoned his or her child in order to intentionally avoid the obligation to provide financial support on an ongoing basis, it will not terminate his or her parental rights. Finally, the termination of parental rights is not something that Georgia courts take lightly, as it is one of the most extreme legal remedies that the state can impose on a parent. Therefore, it only involuntarily terminates a parent’s rights under extreme circumstances. 

Have questions? Contact a Lithonia family law attorney today!

One of the biggest mistakes a party to a divorce can make is failing to hire an experienced family law attorney. Therefore, if you have family law needs of any kind in Georgia, you need an experienced Lithonia attorney on your side. At the  E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm, LLC, we will work diligently to ensure that you achieve the results you desire in your Georgia family law matter. Our experienced Georgia attorney will be with you every step of the way while working to resolve your legal issue. Therefore, if you have legal needs in Lithonia Georgia, DeKalb County or anywhere else in Georgia, please contact us today for a free consultation with our experienced Georgia family law attorney. 

E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm, LLC discusses the most common divorce mistakes in Georgia.

Common Georgia Divorce Mistakes

Divorce can be a tough process. The parties to a divorce often experience a wide range of emotions, including guilt, anger, sadness, and loneliness. And although these emotions are a normal part of the process, they can lead divorcing spouses to make mistakes, some of which can have long-lasting financial and emotional effects. If you are considering getting a divorce in Georgia, please review the common mistakes discussed below, and contact a Georgia divorce attorney as soon as possible to begin the process. 

Agreeing to an unfair settlement agreement 

You should ever agree to an unfair settlement agreement when getting a divorce. And this applies even if you are getting the better end of the deal, as the agreement could face a legal challenge down the road. Parties often agree to lopsided settlement agreements in an attempt to end the process quickly and move on with their lives. This is a mistake.  

Failing to communicate with your spouse during the divorce process

No matter how angry you are at your spouse, you absolutely must keep the lines of communication open during the divorce process. Maintaining an open line of communication with your significant other during your divorce and settlement negotiations may help you avoid the cost of a lengthy court battle.

Failing to update your estate plan

When getting a divorce in Georgia, you should strongly consider reviewing your estate plan and making updates if necessary. Often, estate-planning documents require changes following a divorce, particularly wills and trusts.  Updating your estate plan will ensure that your wishes are carried out upon your death, especially if you remarry at some point.

Making oral agreements with your spouse

The ability to maintain a good relationship with your ex is a great thing. However, even if you maintain an amicable relationship with your spouse during and after a divorce, you should never make oral agreements concerning any divorce-related issues. Although it may seem a bit formal, especially if you are on good terms with your ex, it is essential that you include all of your agreements in your written settlement agreement for legal purposes. 

Failing to hire an experienced divorce attorney 

One of the biggest mistakes a party to a divorce can make is failing to hire an experienced family law attorney. Therefore, if you need a divorce in Georgia, you need an experienced Lithonia divorce attorney on your side. At the law office of E.N. Banks-Ware, we will work diligently to ensure that you achieve the results you desire in your Georgia divorce. Our experienced Georgia divorce attorney will be with you every step of the way as you begin this new chapter in your life. Therefore, if you are considering a divorce in Lithonia, Georgia or DeKalb County or anywhere else in Georgia, please contact us today for a free consultation with our experienced Georgia divorce attorney.