In Georgia, as throughout the country, divorce is a common occurrence. Though most people marry with every intention of staying together “til death do [them] part,” marriage is a complicated arrangement, filled with unexpected problems and unforeseen reactions. When it becomes clear that your marital conflicts require a legal solution, E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm, LLC is the place to call.
Our founding attorney, E. Noreen Banks-Ware, is known for her compassion, knowledge and skill and has a well-earned reputation for tuning into her clients’ individual needs and objectives. With almost three decades of experience, she prides herself on bringing renewed stability to families in transition and just outcomes to those she represents. From her office in Lithonia, she serves clients in Dekalb, Metro-Atlanta and throughout the State of Georgia.
At E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm, we are aware that divorce is frequently financially, as well as emotionally, taxing. Therefore we offer half-hour consultations for a flat rate. Once you decide to engage our ongoing services, we will apply those fees toward your legal retainer.
If you are going through a divorce, you undoubtedly have many questions about the process. Here are some Q&As designed to give you some important background information:
What are grounds for divorce in Georgia?
Typically, it is sufficient for the couple to agree that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” If other specific grounds — such as adultery, desertion, mental illness or cruel treatment — are used as grounds for divorce, the accusing party and his/her attorney must prove the charges.
How will marital property be divided in Georgia?
Georgia is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property may not be divided 50-50 if there are certain factors in play — such as adultery or gambling on the part of one spouse. The following criteria are considered by the court when determining distribution of marital assets:  financial condition and earning power of each spouse  how much each spouse contributed to the acquisition of marital property  contributions to the education and earning power of either spouse  future financial needs and liabilities of each spouse  whether one spouse is receiving spousal maintenance.
How is child custody determined in Georgia?
The court considers what type of custody is in the best interests of the child. Factors to be considered include: the age and needs of the child, which parent has been the primary caregiver, the health and financial stability of each parent. Types of custody arrangements include primary, joint, split (where there are multiple children), and sole. In the vast majority of cases, there is either joint custody or the child lives with one parent and the noncustodial parent has visitation rights, usually on one or two weeknights, every other weekend, and on some school holidays.
Who pays child support after a divorce?
Normally the noncustodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent since the custodial parent is presumed to be paying the bulk of childcare costs. Nonetheless, much depends on the income and assets of the parents. The parent with greater resources may be expected to contribute proportionate amounts to maintain the child’s previous lifestyle.
Which parent makes decisions for the child after a divorce?
There are two types of child custody: physical and legal. Even when one parent has primary physical custody, in most cases, both parents have legal custody, meaning they will make collaborative decisions about the child’s education, religion, healthcare, and extracurricular activities.
What if one parent is unfit or even dangerous to the child?
If there is evidence to support the claim that one parent is dysfunctional or unfit due to mental illness, addiction, or a history of domestic abuse or violence, the court may demand that the unfit parent has only supervised visits with the child or, in extreme cases, that the dysfunctional parent has no contact at all with the child. The court does, however, try to allow both parents to maintain contact with their child, even if one parent is incarcerated.
What happens if there are paternity issues?
Paternity issues have always been complex. If you are the biological father of a child born to a woman married to someone else, even with today’s sophisticated DNA testing, you need a savvy family lawyer to help you establish paternity rights. On the other hand, if you are divorcing a woman whose child you have financially and emotionally supported during the marriage, but who has turned out to be the offspring of another father, regardless of genetic testing results, you will probably be responsible for providing child support to that child.
What happens if custody or child support orders must be altered?
Life inevitably brings changes, perhaps due to parental job loss or advancement, unavoidable relocation, incapacity, remarriage or arrest. It is therefore important to have a family law attorney who is well-prepared to deal with any necessary modifications to child custody or support orders if one or the other parent’s circumstances change.
How does collaborative divorce work?
Most of our clients want as little turmoil as possible when they seek divorce representation. For this reason, E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm, LLC, works toward negotiated, peaceful divorce agreements as much as possible. To this end, Attorney Banks-Ware is well-schooled in collaborative divorce in which both clients and their attorneys work in an informal setting to develop a divorce agreement both spouses can live with.
Does mediation require an attorney?
Although during mediation, a professional mediator helps you and your ex to navigate tricky issues and reach a satisfactory agreement, it is important to have an insightful divorce attorney representing you to ensure that your personal interests are protected. Banks-Ware will prevent you from agreeing to something you may regret later. It should be noted that, when feasible, collaborative divorce or mediation can save time and money, put you on a course for better future interactions, and lessen stress for all family members.
What if my divorce is not amicable?
As you may know all too well, most divorces are contentious. Please be assured that if your spouse is hostile and discussions break down, Attorney Banks-Ware is a powerful litigator who will fight aggressively to make sure your rights and the rights of your children are fully protected.
What are the benefits of engaging the services of Attorney Banks-Ware for my divorce?
While there are legal ways to divorce in Georgia that do not involve an attorney, trying to do so is never wise. It will most likely be destructive to your finances, your relationships with your ex-spouse and your children, and your mental health. Instead, contact Attorney Banks-Ware, a consummate professional who has the well-honed skills to preserve your bonds with your children, secure your financial future and ensure that you feel comfortable in your recreated life.
If you are contemplating going through the process of a divorce, the best course of action is to contact our attorneys for a consultation.