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April 2011 Archives

Changing Your Name After a Divorce in Atlanta

After a divorce is finalized in the state of Georgia, some people may want to change their last name -- perhaps back to their maiden name or to something completely different. The process for a name change in Atlanta is usually very simple, but it does require approval from the family courts.

Don't forget that a person's last name can be changed at any time and not only after divorce proceedings. The Fulton County Superior Court website states that name changes in the state of Georgia are governed by O.C.G.A. §19-12-1, which includes the rules for the name change of an adult and the rules of a name change for a minor child.

Barack Obama Releases Long Version of Birth Certificate

Will Tea Partiers be satisfied now that President Barack Obama has released a longer version of his birth certificate? It would be difficult to argue that the President was not born in this country, considering that both the longer version and shorter version of the birth certificate state that he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961.

According to Reuters, Obama had released the short version of his birth certificate during his 2008 presidential campaign. The recently released longer version of the birth certificate does provide additional information about the president, such as that he was born at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu to father Barack Hussein Obama and mother Ann Dunham Obama.

Atlanta Law Firm King and Spalding Will No Longer Defend DOMA

Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives asked the Atlanta firm King & Spalding to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last week, but it looks like the law firm has changed its mind and now declines to take on the case. Perhaps the decision for King & Spalding to not get involved with the case came after the protests among various human rights groups.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports that the U.S. Justice Department announced last month that it would no longer defend the controversial 1996 law that defines marriage as a union only between one man and one woman. King & Spalding then reportedly contracted to take over the defense of DOMA. However the Atlanta law firm surprisingly withdrew from the case on April 25, after they received criticism from gay rights groups.

Charlie Sheen Denied Full Custody of His Kids

Actor Charlie Sheen had his name plastered all over media headlines once again this week after a Los Angeles judge rejected Sheen's request for full custody of his two twin boys. Fox News reported that Sheen had asked for full custody of the kids after claiming that his estranged wife Brooke Mueller relapsed into drug use and went into a rehab facility on Monday.

However, this didn't stop the judge from asking the most obvious question: Would Charlie Sheen really make a better parent?

Internet Postings Cost Woman Her Alimony Payments

Even after a divorce settlement, it's still important to be careful of what you're posting on the Internet. This is because child support payments and alimony payments can often be modified at any time. If there's proof on the net that you're no longer in need of such payments, then you could be one click away from losing a great deal of money.

It looks like 43-year-old Dorothy McGurk of New York learned this lesson the hard way. New York Daily News reported that the woman was awarded a settlement of $850 a month for life after her divorce. A judge awarded the permanent alimony three years ago after McGurk convinced the court that she was unable to ever work again after suffering from injuries due to a 1997 car accident.

Husband Attacks Wife After Divorce Hearing

It might be considered common for spouses to be bitter with one another after a final divorce hearing, but one case in Miami shows just how much anger can arise in a person after a divorce.

NBC Miami reported that 28-year-old Paul Henry Gonzalez allegedly beat his wife in a judge's chambers last week after he was angry about having to pay child support and angry with Judge Ronald Rothschild's visitation ruling. Authorities say that the man grabbed his estranged wife around the neck and repeatedly punched her in the side of the head after the court proceedings.

Child Custody Decision Questioned After Death of Cayden Allen

The paternal grandparents of a now deceased child are furious with a Kentucky judge after the boy's mother was granted custody of 2-year-old Cayden Allen. WKYT reports that the grandparents saw Cayden's biological mother as an unfit parent and claim that the mother only wanted custody of the the boy so that she could continue to receive child support payments.

After the mother was awarded custody of Cayden Allen, she moved him to Conyers, Georgia with her and her boyfriend. Less than two weeks after the mother was granted custody, Cayden died in Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. The mother's boyfriend, James Sims, was accused of beating the child to death and has been charged with murder.

Atlanta Mother Arrested After Leaving Child Home Alone

A mother, who allegedly left her 4-year-old child at home alone while she was at work, is now facing a criminal charge of reckless conduct. Not only can the mother be sentenced to jail for such an offense along with other criminal penalties, but she is also at risk of losing custody of her son.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the 30-year-old mother Christina Maronie has been accused of leaving her son alone overnight. A resident in the family's apartment complex called police after noticing that the young boy was walking around shoeless and wearing only boxer shorts at 2:30 a.m.

Multiracial Families Becoming More Common With Adoption

According to USA Today, researchers are finding that there is a growing number of children who are of a different race than their adopted parents. In fact, about 40 percent of adoptions in the United States involve families becoming multiethnic or multiracial families.

With international adoptions to the United States, about 84 percent of the adopted children are of a different race or different ethnicity than their soon-to-be parents. It's important to realize that there could be some unexpected challenges with such adoptions, but that these additions to a family can also be very rewarding.

Georgia Still Has No Criminal Laws Covering Adoption Fraud

Tracey and Jeff Scholen, a couple from Alpharetta, Georgia, claim that they were victims of an adoption scam, but unfortunately the state of Georgia doesn’t have specific laws aimed at punishing people who commit adoption fraud. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Scholens are hoping that their adoption horror story will inspire state lawmakers to create new laws on the issue.

The couple tried to handle their adoption independently and were planning to adopt a child from a couple in Kentucky. While the Scholens paid money for various expenses to the birth parents during the stages of pregnancy, they were never able to complete their adoption and get custody of the baby after the birth. It turns out that the birth parents had also promised their child to another couple in Massachusetts. After the birth, the birth parents in Kentucky said that they planned to keep their baby for themselves.

Georgia Father Loses Custody of Son After Giving Child Tattoo

Many people would say that giving a 3-year-old child a permanent tattoo that says “DB” is a form of abuse. The term DB, which is short for “Daddy’s Boy,” could now be on one child’s shoulder for the rest of his life and the parents may never have custody of their son again because of it.

ABC News reported that 26-year-old Eugene “Stonner” Ashley of Rome, GA pleaded guilty to giving his 3-year-old child a tattoo and was sentenced to 12 months probation along with a $300 fine because of the conviction. The boy’s mother, Amy Ashley, was said to have witnessed Eugene Ashley give her son the tattoo in 2009, although she denies it.

Parents Can Receive Money Through Adoption Tax Credit

If you're thinking about adopting a child in the state of Georgia, but worried about all of the expenses involved in the process, there's an adoption tax credit that could actually bring in money for you and your family. CNN Money reported that parents are eligible for a one-time $13,170 tax credit this year for each child that is adopted.

While this federal adoption tax credit has been around since 1997, the credit is refundable for the first time this tax season. So even if a person does not owe any money in taxes this year, he or she can still receive the money. This may come as a surprise to some families, who were not expecting their newly adopted children to be bringing in so much money. One North Carolina couple, for example, recently found out that they would be getting a $54,000 refund this year after adopting five new kids.

When Do Child Support Payments End?

Non-custodial parents in Atlanta must usually continue to pay child support until their child support obligations come to an end. The Fulton County Superior Court states that the duty to support a child continues until one of the following occurs:

  • The child reaches the age of 18
  • Death of the child
  • Child marries
  • Child is emancipated

Most often, the non-custodial parent will continue to pay child support until the child reaches the age of 18. However, courts will often order that child support continue beyond age 18 if the child is still enrolled in high school on his or her 18th birthday. Child support can no longer be awarded if the child is still in high school at the age of 20.