Flanagan Law & Mediation
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1. What should I bring to my first appointment?
You should bring all relevant court documents to the first appointment. We suggest the following list. However, you need not worry if you do not have access to the document before your first consultation. You may always email or copy us at a later date.
The list is as follows for divorce/ domestic cases:
- Tax returns for the last three years;
- Stock certificates and investment account statements;
- Leave and Earning Statements (LES);
- IRA and 401K statements;
- Financial Statements;
- List of Credit Cards and balances;
- List of personal vehicles, recreational vehicles, boat, motor, trailer;
- List of personal furnishing, tools, and equipment that are worth more than $1,000;
- Photos, CD, DVD, phone logs that you feel are pertinent to your case
- Any other document or evidence you think is relevant and important to your case.
Q2. What is your consultation fee and how does your fee work?
Our consultation fee is $200.00 per session. Your first appointment typically last from 45 minutes to 1 hour. During the first consult, we will attempt to answer questions you may have, explore your legal options, and if possible come up with a “game plan”.
Once we begin our representation, you will assess hourly rates detailed in our Employment Contract. Since no two cases are alike, the amount of time spent on each case is different. We will make our best effort to give a general estimate of the cost of the case; however, we cannot predict an exact cost.
Q3. Can I get a No-Fault Divorce in Georgia?
Yes, although there are fault grounds for divorces in Georgia, you may obtain a divorce upon ground # 13, the so called No Fault ground. Ground 13 states that the parties’ marriage is irretrievably broken, with no hope of reconciliation.
The fault grounds for divorce in Georgia include:
Mental incapacity at the time of marriage, impotency at the time of marriage; force, menace, duress in obtaining the marriage; pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of marriage, unknown by husband; adultery in either of the parties after marriage; willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for a term of one year; the conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude and under which he or she is sentenced to imprisonment; habitual intoxication; cruel treatment, mental or physical; incurable mental illness; habitual drug addiction.
Q4. What is an Annulment? Can I get my marriage annulled?
An annulment is a legal procedure to set aside the marriage as if it never existed. Annulment is granted under specific legal grounds only. For example, if a person marries without dissolving a prior marriage, the present marriage is illegal and may be annulled. If a person has been legally declared mentally incompetent, then he or she may not enter into a marriage contract.
Q5. If I have completed a foreign adoption, do I have to do an adoption in the United States?
We recommend that you do a re-adoption in your home state. This will enable you to obtain a birth certificate from your home state. In Georgia, the adoption and domestication of a foreign adoption is relatively simple, and there are advantages of having state-side birth certificate. It makes application of US passport and other tasks much easier.
Q6. What is Mediation? Will Mediation be helpful in my case?
Augusta Judicial Circuit utilizes the Alternative Dispute Resolutions Program. This is an alternative way for litigants to resolve the conflicts without going to Court. Mediation is often use in domestic cases, especially when children are involved. A neutral party, usually a trained and registered mediator, facilitates settlement between the parties. The parties together with their attorneys attend mediation in an attempt to settle the disputes. Sometimes the Court will order mediation before a final hearing is set.
A survey of cases in our office shows that mediations were successful in about 90% of the domestic cases. This is a higher rate than the percentages published by our local ADR office ( 60-70%). Domestic cases dealing with children and parenting time benefit greatly from mediation, as issues dealing with children and scheduling require in depth discussions and compromises.
Q 7. We don't have an attorney, but want to try to settle the case between ourselves, can we use your mediation services on our own?
Our office offers mediation services for civil and domestic cases, and will act as a neutral to help you resolve your conflict. Many of our clients decide to come in together and seek their own resolutions before heading to litigation. Our office is ready to assist you in setting up a mediation session between just the parties. The mediation is conducted in our office, and you will be charged on an hourly basis, where each party will bear half the costs, unless stipulated otherwise. At the conclusion of the mediation, you will have a written agreement, if such is reached, or a written partial agreement if only some of the disputes are resolved. If an agreement is not reached during the first session, the parties may choose to schedule another session, or the parties may want to proceed with litigation.
Q8. What is a Parenting Plan? What if we just want to have visitation whenever we can agreed to,instead of a rigid schedule?
Parenting Plan is a schedule upon which the parents are to share custodial time with their children. A sample parenting plan can be found in our web site www.helenyulaw.com under Client’s Form. Generally a joint parenting plan is submitted to the Court in an uncontested divorce. In a contested matter, each parent may submit his/her own plan, and the Court will decide on the final provisions.
Generally parents cooperate with each other and worked out a parenting plan regarding what time are spent with each parent. Our lives and schedules change, as do the needs of our children. Most parents are able to resolve schedule conflicts on their own.
However, when there are unresolved conflicts, a Fall-Back schedule is most helpful. This is why the Court insists on having a particular schedule so that the parties can “fall back” on the provisions if disputes arise.
Q9. What is a Financial Affidavit and do I have to fill one out?
A Financial Affidavit (Rule 24.2) is perhaps one of the most difficult documents but yet the most important document you are called to completed. The affidavit provides the Court with your financial picture. It summarizes your income, your budget and expenditures, your debts and assets. The Court uses the information contained to award child support, alimony, and division of marital bills. It is an important document; as it is signed and notarized, and then filed as part of your case. The form can be found in our web site, under the heading of Client’s Form.
Q10. How much child support will I get after divorce? How much child support do I have to pay?
Child support obligation is governed by our state law. A few years ago, Georgia uses a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income based upon the number of children supported. We now use the shared-income model to calculate child support, that is, both of the parents’ incomes are considered. Under our web site, you will find a Child Support Calculator. This site will help you estimate the amount of child support to be paid, or expected to receive. To use the calculator, you should have the basic information, such as gross incomes of the parents, child care cost, if any, cost of health and dental insurance premiums.
There are other factors to be considered when calculating child support. You should discuss your specific circumstances with your attorney. Some factors may be: private school tuition, extra-ordinary health care cost, educational expense such as tutoring, parenting time deviation, summer trips, visitation travel expense and the debts structure of either parents.
Q11. I am thinking about making a Will and getting my affairs in order, what should I do?
Only about 44 % of Americans have a will. Most people think about making a will when their lives' circumstances change, such as the death of a loved one, the birth of a child, and marriages and remarriages. Our society comprised of more than 50% of divorced families, and maybe just as many blended families. Making a Will to define inheritance rights will resolve future family conflicts.
Our office is ready to discuss the details of your estate planning with you and consider your individual needs. Our basic will package includes a Will, a Power of Attorney as well as an Advanced Directive.
You may want to consider the following for organization purposes:
* Directions of funeral arrangements
* Your wishes to to care of your pets
* Your plans for organ or body donation
* Your wish for burial or cremation
* Make a list of names and phone numbers of your friends, relatives, religious organization or doctors;
* Your social security number, if you receive benefit or if your survivors may qualify for benefits;
* Instruction for handling your digital files
* Life insurance details including name, policy number, amount of coverage, and names of the primary beneficiaries
* A list of financial assets, including financial accounts, savings and retirement accounts
* payment details such as mortgage, car loans, credit cards, and whether there is life insurance policy to cover the balance
* Location of important documents and safety deposit box details.