Many people consider family court to be one of the most difficult courts to attend due to the personal matters involved. But sometime it's necessary. Family law governs all matters of the family unit, including marriage, divorce, adoption, and child custody issues.
In Atlanta, the Superior Court of Fulton County has a specialized family law division that handles the proceedings.
With an eye toward resolving your family's legal problems, here are three reasons to go to family court:
1. Filing for divorce. While you can choose to live in a different house than your spouse without telling anyone, you can't get a legal divorce without going to family court. After you've each decided to go your own ways, a spouse looking for a divorce must file a petition with the court to start the process. In an effort to avoid unnecessary courtroom time, the divorcing spouses can choose to work out the divorce details in a settlement conference with a neutral third party. A divorce mediator can help divorcing spouses to divide property and decide child custody parameters. If divorce settlement fails, the couple seeking divorce may need to return to court and have the judge hammer out the details.
2. Determining child custody. Following a divorce, parents may want to request a formal custody schedule for their children. Child custody orders spell out which times and days each parent can see his or her child and under what conditions. Failure to abide by the custody orders can result in jail time and financial penalties. In order to modify a child custody order, a parent must make a request with the family court. In Georgia, parents have to submit new parenting proposal plans to the court when they're requesting changes to custody schedules.
3. Proclaiming your emancipation. Teenagers seeking emancipation from their parents or legal guardians must do so with the family court. In Georgia, teenagers can't file a petition for emancipation until they're at least 16 years old. In order for a court to grant the emancipation, it must be in the child's best interest to be legally independent from his or her parents. However, parents have an opportunity to object before a final decision is made by the judge.
Family law issues can be tricky to navigate in family court on your own, so it's prudent to consult with an experienced local family law attorney who can help you figure out what's best for you and your loved ones.
- Superior Court of Fulton County - Family Division (Superior Court of Fulton County)
- January is Most Popular Time of Year to File For Divorce (FindLaw's Atlanta Family Law News Blog)
- Child Support Modification in Georgia (FindLaw's Atlanta Family Law News Blog)
- Is it Legal to Move Out at 17? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)