The Atlanta Family Law News Blog - Find an Atlanta Family Attorney

February 2011 Archives

Divorce and the "Oscar Curse"

Is the winner of the Best Actress Oscar at the annual Academy Awards cursed with a greater likelihood of divorce? According to Blast Magazine, a case study conducted at the University of Toronto found the women who win the award for Best Actress have a 63 percent chance of having a shorter marriage than the non-winning nominees. This is known as the “Oscar curse.”

The curse most recently applied to Sandra Bullock, who won the award for Best Actress in 2010 for the film The Blind Side. Shortly after accepting the award, Bullock and her then-husband Jesse James filed for a divorce. Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, Reese Witherspoon, and Kate Winslet are other examples of women affected by the so-called curse.

Birth Rate Decreases to a Historic Low Point Among Teens

It looks like the teen birth rate in the United States is continuing to decline, which indicates that the trend has resumed after a few short years of an increase in teen childbearing during the mid-2000s. The U.S Center of Disease Control and Prevention reported that the birth rate among 15 to 19-year-old women was at a historic low point in 2009 at a rate of 39.1 births per 1,000 teens. Birth rates among teenagers under age 15 also declined to an all-time low rate in 2009.

Birth rates among teenagers ages 15-17 dropped in 31 states from 2007 to 2009, while the teen birth rate dropped in 45 U.S states among girls 18 and 19 years of age. The state of Georgia was among the top 10 states for the largest decreases in teen birthing from 2007 to 2009, among women aged 15 to 17.

Atlanta Ranks Among Top Cities For Love

Perhaps people living in the Atlanta metro area are more likely to get married than people living in other parts of the country. When it comes to emotional health and marriage, The Daily Beast reports that the city of Atlanta was given "A" grades by their study based on the high prevalence of marriage among residents in the area and how happy Atlanta residents are in their relationships.

Yet despite high rates of marriage, Atlanta also received an "F" grade in the divorce category of the study because of the city's high rate of dissolved marriages. The rates of marriages and divorces are all based on information from the U.S Census Bureau.

National Marriage Week Raises Awareness of Divorce Problems

National Marriage Week is celebrated each year from February 7 to February 14 in an effort to build a stronger marriage culture around the country and decrease the rates of divorce. There's a campaign for marriage going on in the United States and the Georgia state government seems to stand behind this campaign.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal proclaimed the week of February 7 as Georgia Marriage Week in the state. But why is marriage so important and why should the government be advocating for more marriages?

Should Paternity Testing Be Required by Law?

It's a good idea to establish paternity after a baby is born to a non-married couple so that the father of the child can be legally identified. DNA testing procedures can prove paternity of a father, which could be used for the mother to collect child support and for the father to have parental rights in cases involving child custody or child support.

Some family lawyers are now questioning whether it should be a requirement for parents to go through paternity testing procedures. The Associated Press reports that a bill has been introduced in the Kansas Legislature that would require every newborn in the state of Kansas to be genetically tested to identify their child's father.

Valentine's Day Might Be Popular Day to File for Divorce

If you're angry with your husband or wife, then there might not be a better way to say "I don't love you" than by filing for a divorce on Valentine's Day. A holiday that typically celebrates your love for another person can be quite emotional for people that are unhappy with their marriage, which could be a reason why many people decide to move on with a fresh start in their love life on February 14.

According to The New York Post, there is an average increase of 40 percent in the number of requests for divorce lawyers around Valentine's Day compared with the previous six months before the annual holiday. In addition, there is a 36 percent increase in the number of questions that lawyers receive about divorce during this same time period.

Getting Married While in State Prison

Did you know that it is legal to get married in the state of Georgia while you're serving time in prison? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported of a couple that got married in the visitation room at Al Burruss Correctional Training Center in Forsyth.

The groom, Anthony Kilgore, was convicted of murder in DeKalb County and will likely spend the rest of his life in state prison. However his new wife, Katrina Kilgore, said that she first met her husband as a child and that she believes that he has changed since the time of the 1985 murder.

It's Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month in Atlanta

The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence has announced that February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. In the Atlanta metro area, numerous community organizations are gathering together to plan activities and events to communicate with teens about healthy relationships and domestic violence prevention.

One out of every six high school students in the state of Georgia has reportedly been physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend. This month, you might see people in the community wearing a purple ribbon to promote awareness of the issue, where the purple ribbon placed on the heart is supposed to be a nationwide symbol domestic violence awareness. Some local middle schools and high schools are also hosting educational workshops about the subject in classrooms.

Can Divorce Costs Be Deducted from Your Taxes?

The IRS apparently has no sympathy for couples who are going through a divorce. As stated by The Huffington Post, the government does not allow for the deduction of costs for personal advice, counseling and legal action in a divorce. There's also no deduction if you were to pay for your spouse's legal fees.

What type of divorce expenses are tax deductable? Money can reportedly be deducted for the expenses of tax research as well as money for the advice on such items as property transfers and dependency exemptions for children.

Divorcing Parents in Georgia Must Do Families in Transition Seminar

When married couples in the Atlanta metro area are going through a divorce, and have children together, they are required to attend a parenting seminar under Georgia law. The required parenting class is offered through the Family Division of Fulton County Superior Court, as well as other counties in Georgia, and the cost of the class is $30 for each parent.

The Superior Court of Fulton County reports that The Families in Transition Seminar lasts for about four hours and is taught by trained counselors and therapists. Topics of discussion at the seminar include, but are not limited to, the developmental stages of childhood, the changing of parental and marital roles, reducing stress in divorce, and visitation recommendations to enhance the child's relationship with both parents.

Georgia Division of Child Support Services Improves Enforcement

Once child support is ordered by the family courts, the non-custodial parent must comply with the court order and pay the full amount that is owed. Custodial parents that do not receive the child support that is owed to them can go about enforcing the order through the Department of Child Support Services of Georgia's Department of Human Services.

All Georgia residents have access to the DCSS services, which include assistance with locating non-custodial parents, confirming paternity, establishing and enforcing child support and medical support orders, and collecting and distributing child support payments. Each U.S. state has a government agency that assists with the enforcement of child support orders and last year, Georgia's Division of Child Support Services was selected by the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) as the most improved program of 2010.