Domestic Relations

The breakup of a familial unit can have a devastating effect on all of the parties involved, not only the litigants but their children as well. I recognize that fact and at the Engelberger Law Group, we balance the emotions of a pending divorce with the aggressive representation you need to protect your legal interests.

Because you’re dealing with the potential loss of your children and or your assets it’s important that you hire someone to advocate vigorously on your behalf. For over ten years I have been entrusted to protect my client’s best interests in the following types of domestic relations cases:

Divorce

With national statistics showing that there is an increase of marriages ending in divorce, there is a good chance you or someone you know will find themselves’ facing the potential consequences of a failed marriage. When considering divorce it is very important that you hire someone to protect your rights. It is important that you hire someone that can fight for you during this emotional time.

Child Support

Under Georgia Law, in most circumstances, a non-custodial parent must pay child support. To calculate an award the courts use both parties’ income. However, there are several factors that can increase or decrease the amount awarded by the court.

Those factors include:
  • Ages of children
  • A child's medical costs
  • Educational costs
  • Day care costs
  • Shared physical custody arrangements, including extended visitations
  • A party's other support obligations to another household
  • A party's own medical expenses
  • The income of the custodial parent
  • Travel expenses associated with visitation

You may be entitled to an increase or decrease based upon one or all of these factors, and it is important you counsel with an attorney experienced in litigating these issues before a Georgia Superior Court.

Legitimation

Under Georgia Law, a mother of a child born out of wedlock has the sole right to make decisions about the upbringing of that child. That right is uncontroverted even though the father of the child may or is paying child support. Legitimation is the process by which a father of a child, born out of wedlock, petitions the court for a legal and binding order that states that he is the child’s father. In most circumstances, once the petition has been filed, the Court will also establish a father’s visitation rights and require him to pay some child support.

Paternity

Essentially, a paternity action is a suit brought by the mother of an unborn child where she seeks a legal and binding order stating a particular male is the father of her child. As in a legitimation action, the Court, in most instances will decide visitation, custody, and child support issues.

Custody/Visitation

In domestic relation cases, the most difficult issue to deal with is determining which parent is awarded the primary physical custody of the child/children. Often times, the question of “Who gets the kids?” is an emotional roller coaster for each parent. Custody is simply the legal term in court ordered determinations that outlines which parent the child lives with. Visitation is simply a court ordered determination as to how often the non-custodial parent may visit the child/children. Custody and visitation are never considered to be final. In Georgia, the law does not favor either the mother or father. Rather, they look to the relationship of each parent with the child. In any involving the placement of a minor child the court’s standard for awarding custody is determined by what is in the best interests of the minor child/children. In determining this “best interest” standard Courts of this state look to some or all of the following factors:

  • Who is the Primary Care Giver?
  • Psychological/Mental and or Physical Fitness of each parent
  • Preferences of Child/Children
  • Finances
  • Where each parent lives
  • Any Prior Abandonment or Surrender of Custody

Name Changes

Georgia Law allows both adults and minors to change their legal names. In most instances a Petition is granted so long as the petitioner is not requesting a legal name change to “purposely defraud, deceive, or mislead”, any person entity of any right.