Thanksgiving Holiday after Divorce

While divorce can be a struggle for families with children all throughout the year, Thanksgiving can be a particularly difficult time when parents cannot celebrate the holiday with their kids. The first few Thanksgivings can be especially tough for divorced families because it can bring to mind cherished memories of previous holidays and remind them that their holiday traditions will not be the same. However, Thanksgiving does not have to be painful this year if you change how you celebrate now that you are a co-parent. Below, we explain three tips that can help you cope with the new reality of being a co-parent during the holiday season.

Stick To Your Parenting Schedule

There are a variety of ways co-parents can fairly divide the Thanksgiving holiday depending upon the time off from school in your children’s school district, as well as the rest of the holiday weekend. Here are some examples of common parenting schedules used for Thanksgiving:

  • One parent gets the children on Thanksgiving and the other parent gets the children for the remaining holiday;
  • Split time with the children during the entire Thanksgiving holiday;
  • Alternate the entire Thanksgiving holiday between the parents.

Make New Traditions

The absence of children during Thanksgiving is challenging for parents who are getting used to life after divorce. Rather than avoid celebrating, parents who do not have the children for the holiday should reach out to friends and family they have to find a virtual Thanksgiving celebration to attend. Virtual celebrations are a great way to enjoy some time away from the stress of the holiday while also making lasting memories with loved ones. It also allows you to indulge in your own Thanksgiving feast with dishes of your choosing. If avoiding the holiday is more suited for you, taking advantage of the long weekend for a brief getaway would be an excellent way to recharge.

Set Reasonable Expectations

It is important to remember that you will not always be able to make everyone happy on Thanksgiving, which is why it is crucial to set realistic expectations for what the holiday will be like as a co-parent. If you do have custody of the children on Thanksgiving, do not feel obligated to recreate the past, instead, find new ways to reinforce a supportive relationship. You should plan ahead for how you will spend time together and try to model behavior that reinforces positive coping strategies.

Dreyer Law is here to assist if you have any child custody disputes during the holiday season. Please do not hesitate to give us a call to schedule a consultation.

What Is Separate Property In Georgia (And How Can I Protect It In A Divorce)?

One of the most confusing aspects of divorce law is what constitutes separate property in Georgia. Georgia law dictates that the separate property of each individual in a marriage shall remain the separate property of that person, except as specifically dictated by other laws. This means that unlike marital properties, separate properties are not subject to equitable division, according to Georgia law. 

At Dreyer Law, we understand that this is a complex part of divorce law that requires a distinct understanding of what falls into this category and what is exempt. Many times, clients will have a difficult time proving whether or not something is separate property in Georgia. This process can require thorough investigation, extensive documentation and sometimes, the use of a forensic CPA. 

So, what does this mean? Basically, the law states that any property that has been brought into a marriage by one spouse is considered to be a non-marital asset, and it is not subject to equitable division in the case of a divorce. Only those properties that have been acquired during the marriage are subject to equitable division. 

What is Included in Separate Property In Georgia? 

Separate property also includes things that were received as gifts, property brought into the marriage, and inheritance. The law is a bit more vague when it comes to a property that was gathered during the marriage but is still considered to be separate property in Georgia. In Georgia, property is not so easily defined as joint. There are many cases where something was gathered during the marriage, but it was still considered separate. This includes the items listed above as well as a few others – for a complete list of eligible separate property considerations, you should consult with our experienced divorce attorney. 

One of the more complex areas of law includes premarital properties that have been brought into a marriage and then appreciate in value. Those are often considered to be separate properties as well, and the spouse who did not bring them into the marriage frequently has no claim over them. 

When Does Separate Property Get Confusing? 

A spouse needs to keep his or her property separate throughout the marriage for it to remain separate during a divorce. For example, if a husband brings a rental property into the marriage and the couple puts a significant amount of time and marital money into renovating the property, at least some portion of that property may no longer be considered separate property. 

Keeping separate property separate during a divorce is a complex undertaking and fact specific to your matter. It usually requires consulting with a financial advisor before taking any monetary action and seeking the legal guidance of an experienced divorce attorney to ensure you are protecting both yourself and your money. If you have significant separate property at the time of your marriage, you may also want to consider a prenuptial agreement to help define your separate property and mitigate the risk of division of those assets in the event of a divorce. 

It is important to note that in a divorce, every situation is up for interpretation – the judge or jury may look at the details of the situation and determine that property is separate. Because of this subjectivity, it is best to have all facts thoroughly documented as clearly as possible before going before the judge. 

Seek Legal Guidance for Help with Separate Property Division Today 

While determining separate property in Georgia can be tricky, it does not have to be the nightmare that you often hear about. Luckily, you do not have to fight this battle alone. At Dreyer Law, our experienced legal team can help you build a strong marital asset division case that works best for you and your family. We are here to assist you and help this be a positive turning point for your family. Schedule a consultation by calling at 770-253-7256. 

FAQ: Father’s Rights

Fathers are entitled to the same parental rights as mothers when it comes to family law matters like child custody, visitation, and child support. Fathers also have a right to participate in how their child is raised, including where they go to school, their religious upbringing, and other important aspects of their lives. However, many unmarried and divorced dads must go to court and initiate custody cases for their parental rights to be recognized. Below, we answer common questions that fathers have about their parental rights when facing a potential custody battle. 

Question #1: How do unmarried fathers obtain parental rights? 

A: In Georgia, the only way for a father, not married to the mother, to establish parental rights is to file a Petition for Legitimation. In that action, issues related to custody, parenting time and support can also be addressed. Other previous methods, including Acknowledgement of Paternity, are no longer an available option. 

Question #2: What if I am not the child’s biological father? 

A: Even if an individual is not the biological father of a child, they can still defend their rights as a de-facto parent. Non-biological fathers must prove the following to secure their parental rights: 

  • They consistently provide care for the child 
  • The child has lived with them for a significant period of time 
  • They undertook full responsibility for the child without the expectation of financial compensation. 

Question #3: Can a father receive child support? 

A: If paternity has been established, then the father can be awarded child support if they are named the custodial parent and are responsible for the costs associated with raising the child. Child support can be used to cover food, housing, clothing, medical care, daycare, and education expenses. 

If you have questions about parental rights, please reach out to the Dreyer Law legal team. Call or request a consultation online to discuss your situation. 

How to Keep Child Custody Exchanges Civil

Even when a divorce is amicable, feelings of resentment and bitterness can still linger among ex-spouses. This can create major obstacles for divorced couples, especially those with children. Although your marriage is over, it is imperative for both parents to learn how to get along if they share custody of their children. While custody exchanges force ex-spouses to interact and cooperate with each other, they can quickly become uncivil when parents do not get along.

Properly Prepare for the Custody Exchange It is important to make sure your children have everything they will need packed-up and ready to go before your ex shows up to get them. Creating a list of important items your kids need when they are at the other parent’s home can help keep you organized before the custody exchange. Make sure you include things like medications, toys, clothes, schoolwork, and study materials on the list.

You should also double-check that your children have everything packed up before your ex arrives. Doing this minimizes the amount of contact you must have with your ex and takes some time off the swap, which can ease tension.

Exchange Custody in Public Settings

Swapping children in public spaces generally forces both parents to remain civil through the exchange because they do not want to make a scene. There are a variety of settings where custody exchanges can occur, such as:

· At School: One parent can drop the kids off at school in the morning, and the other can pick them up in the afternoon. Depending on the age of your children, supervision might be required if you are exchanging custody at school.

· At Daycare or the Babysitter’s: Like using a school, dropping the kids off at daycare and having your ex pick them up can spare you from unpleasant encounters.

· A Neutral Public Place: Use a location both parties will be reluctant to argue. A restaurant, mall, coffee shop, and police station are all fine locations for exchanging custody.

Bring A Third Party to the Custody Exchange

Just as parents are less likely to get out of hand in public, they are also generally on their best behavior if someone else is present during the custody exchange. You should choose a mutual acquaintance that both parents trust to fill this role. Additionally, if things become volatile, you will have a witness who can provide an accurate account of the events that occurred.

At Dreyer Law, we proudly assist clients with their complicated child custody matters. Please give us a call today to schedule a case consultation with our family law attorney.

Making Summer Plans with a Co-Parent

With summer break in full swing, you may find yourself in summer vacation mode. Perhaps you are navigating your first summer vacation with a parenting plan. Or maybe you are used to it by now, but still dread the logistical nightmare of coordinating schedules. Either way, the increased restrictions on what you can do with your kids and when you can do it may prove stressful for you and your children. We have compiled a few suggestions for minimizing the confusion or frustration that may accompany planning with an ex-partner.

1. Be as specific as possible

Since summer is often full of spontaneous adventures, try to think creatively about possible situations that may arise. You and your co-parent may get along with perfect ease and neither of you mind making last minute plans, especially those that cater to your child’s enjoyment; however, even in the healthiest of relationships, disagreements often arise. Think of your detailed parenting plan as a fallback if/when you are not able to agree. If you are not on the same page, turn to your plan and stick to what the Court ordered. This way you avoid a win-lose situation, knowing that the plan was established specifically for the purpose of resolving dispute in the moment. If possible, work together to review the plan and put down in writing how your children will be cared for in normal summer situations.

2. Compromise and avoid competing

You may end up having to give up something you want in favor of something you really want, which likely is your child’s happiness and well-being. Rather than considering what would make you happiest this summer, ask your children what they are most excited about. Keeping their responses in mind may help you and your co-parent put their interests first rather than getting caught up in how you can each achieve maximum time with your children. Though summer certainly lends itself to quality time with the kids, the goal should be providing them a stable environment, not trying to beat out your ex-partner for the most time or most fun activities. Further, trying to out-do your co-parent with elaborate trips or experiences is missing the point. In the long-term, your children are more likely

to be positively affected by a healthy home life and stable parenting than one summer of overly competitive excursions. Just like the holidays, this is not the time to one-up your co-parent with extreme gift-giving or spoils.

3. Give your plan room to change

Seeing as kids grow up wildly fast, consider re-visiting your parenting plan frequently. Schedule periodic check-ins or meetings to make sure that the current plan is still serving your children. You might even find that planning months in advance has proven unrealistic and shorter, more manageable time frames are the way to go. This also gives your children room to grow and change. As their interests take new angles over the summer or they are suddenly much more invested in a sport or hobby than ever before, you and your co-parent will have the space to respond if you have both agreed on regular updates to the parenting plan. Travel plans need to be implemented weeks or months in advance, so make sure that the two of you understand and acknowledge plans that cannot be altered. Also, always keep in mind that although you and your co-parent may agree to changes, those changes will not be enforceable by a court unless you file a modification action and have the judge approve your new plan.

4. Prioritize communication

Even if you have plans in writing and engage in frequent, cordial discussion, you and your co-parent should also agree about how you will communicate last minute plans or updates to each other. This should never be through your children. Asking your children to relay messages to the other parent may put them in an uncomfortable position, or a disagreement may arise simply as the result of miscommunication. Similarly, discuss how your children will be allowed to communicate with each of you when in the other’s custody, especially if traveling abroad. Make it clear to your co-parent in advance of travel plans whether your children will have access to phones, email, or texting and if he or she should expect regular communication from the kids. Being in your custody does not mean that your child will be cut off from all communication with your ex-partner. Know that your ex-partner is your children’s parent too and they may always want or need accessible communication with the both of you to feel supported and steady.

5. Enjoy your summer!

After you have made plans with your kids, you may find yourself with more down or alone time than in years past. Take this as an opportunity to reacquaint yourself with things you enjoy. Perhaps you have always wanted to travel to a certain destination but never did in favor of compromise with the whole family. Maybe you are seeking a new hobby, more time with friends, or the chance to visit older family members who have been recently vaccinated. Giving yourself space to refresh and prioritize physical, emotional and mental well-being by visiting a dream destination, catching up with a friend or honing a skill will thoroughly benefit you and your children in the long run.

Give Dreyer Law a call to schedule a consultation to discuss or amend your parenting plan.

Healthy Ways to Deal with Divorce

Divorce can take a toll on both physical and mental health, so it is important to find ways to deal with stress and other emotions when adjusting to your new life. Whether you are recently divorced and find yourself feeling overwhelmed at times or your divorce is in the early stages of the legal process, the following strategies can help you remain positive and productive. 

Staying Physically Active 

Stay as active as possible by keeping a regular exercise routine. Physical activity can help stabilize your emotions since it aids in relieving tension, anger, and anxiety. Research shows that exercise calms you down because physical activity reduces the body’s levels of stress hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol. Exercise has also been used to treat clinical depression and anxiety disorders. 

Turn To Your Support System 

It is important to surround yourself with a network of people who can help support you during this time. Whether it is family members, close friends, or trusted coworkers, it is good to have face-to-face interactions with the people in your life who genuinely care about your wellbeing. Find people who are willing to listen to your concerns and encourage you to not dwell on the past. 

Prioritize And Simplify 

Coping with your divorce might leave you feeling like you are not functioning at full capacity. It is alright to give yourself a break now and then to recharge. Try not to overcommit yourself with too many extra tasks and remember. It is okay to say no if you are asked to do something you do not really want to do. 

Change Your Expectations 

People tend to feel like they have lost control over everything when they get divorced. However, it is important you do not get caught up in the feelings and actions of your ex. Rather than focus on the outcome of the divorce or controlling your ex’s actions, learn to accept whatever occurs and avoid setting unrealistic expectations. Focus on the things you have control over and let go of the rest. 

Set Aside Time for Fun 

Make time to regularly do activities that bring you pleasure and make you laugh. Try to socialize with your close circle of friends and engage in fun activities that eliminate your stress. You can also start a new hobby or jump back into an old one. Exploring your various interests can be a great way to meet new people and build new relationships. 

If you need legal advice regarding divorce, child custody, or adoption, please contact Dreyer Law to schedule a free consultation. 

Learning from Co-Parenting Mistakes

We understand that adjusting your parenting style after divorce can be challenging, especially when emotions run high when interacting with the other parent. However, part of becoming a better co-parent is to identify when you have made a mistake and take the necessary steps to make amends. Although co-parenting is filled with various obstacles that can make it difficult for parents to cooperate, there is a lot that can be learned from the following co-parenting mistakes.

Using Your Children To Obtain Information About The Other Parent

When a parent becomes too involved in the other parent’s personal business and private life, they are sometimes tempted to pump the children for information. When this happens, the child is placed in the middle of the drama and ends up experiencing unnecessary stress. Children should never be responsible for balancing their parent’s life, nor should they be the carrier of information. If this has happened in the past, have a heart-to-heart with your children and apologize for anything you said to put them in an unfair situation. Explaining that you made an error and how you will change in the future will assure your children you are committed to learning from your past mistakes.

Arguing In Front Of Your Children

One of the most difficult habits for co-parents to break is arguing with each other while their children are around. Making disparaging comments or disrespecting the other parent in front of your children, no matter how justified or tempting it might be, only creates confusion and guilt in your children. Try approaching the other parent in a different way when you get the sense that an argument might arise.

Sharing Too Much About The Other Parent With Your Children

Inappropriate details about divorce, separation, and child custody, are revealed to children more often than co-parents might realize. Whether it is ranting about having to go back to court to modify alimony and child support or discussing what the other parent won in the divorce, your children do not need to know every detail about how the divorce impacts you personally. Children have enough on their plate and giving them more information than necessary can be overwhelming. If you find yourself venting to your children, consider speaking to a therapist or counselor.

Dreyer Law proudly serves clients in a wide range of family law matters. Please contact us if you would like to schedule a consultation.

What Will a Divorce Lawyer Ask Me?

Heading into an initial divorce consultation, you might be wondering what types of questions the attorney will ask you. During that first meeting, the consulting lawyer is bound to ask you a few important things about your current situation and your wishes, but exactly what types of questions can you expect? It is important to be prepared for any meeting with a legal advisor, so knowing what to expect can help you gather the appropriate information to make the most of your consultation.

During your first meeting, a divorce lawyer is likely to ask the following questions:

What is Your Current Living Arrangement?

Each couple divorces at their own pace, and many people separate before they decide to file for divorce. So, before you make any big legal decisions, the attorney will wish to know if the two of you live together or separately. Also, it is important to determine whom, if anyone, lives in the family home, if you own one.

How Long Have You Been Separated?

If you and your spouse were separated before your divorce, the lawyer will need to know about it. An informal separation may not impact your divorce much, but a legal separation could have a significant impact on the way in which you handle things moving forward.

Do You Share Children?

Children under the age of 18 require a great deal of care, and if you and your spouse have any children together, you need to figure out a parenting plan. Child custody and child support issues can be some of the most complex, stressful aspects of a divorce, and they can be extremely emotional. For this reason, the divorce lawyer needs to know precisely what your wishes are, as a parent, so that he or she can make a legal plan that suits your needs.

What Caused Your Divorce?

Although Georgia is a no-fault divorce state, the reason for your divorce can still impact your divorce process. The attorney needs to know whether or not you or your spouse wronged one another, especially as it pertains to finances or domestic violence. If your spouse was abusive, he or she may owe you financial compensation in the form of additional alimony, or even in additional assets during the property division stage. Also, if there was a situation where one spouse spent a substantial amount of your funds for their own benefit, you could be entitled to compensation. For example, one spouse may spend money on a drug addiction, a gambling problem, an affair, or some other type of expense that did not benefit both marital partners. If your attorney knows about these issues in advance, he or she will be better prepared to advocate on your behalf.

What Are Your Must-Haves?

When your attorney knows precisely what your priorities are, it will make it significantly easier for him or her to build a solid argument in your favor. If, for example, your main objective is to gain full custody of your children and keep the marital home, your lawyer can strategize to prioritize those goals first.

Whenever you meet with a potential lawyer, whether for a divorce, child custody battle, or another family law issue, it helps to be prepared. You may want to prepare a list of questions to get the most out of your consultation. Give Dreyer Law a call for all of your family law needs.

What to Do After Being Served Divorce Papers

If you have been served with divorce papers, then you need to take the situation seriously and make smart choices that will ensure your rights and best interests are protected. Whether you were expecting a divorce or not, how you respond to the divorce petition can severely impact the outcome of the case. Although dealing with divorce papers might seem overwhelming at first, following these steps can get one started on the right path. 

Read the Entire Petition 

Once you have received divorce papers from your spouse, do not ignore them! You need to closely review the document to figure out the deadline to respond to the petition. Additionally, divorce papers will inform you of the court where the action was filed, which is useful information if you are estranged from your spouse and the divorce is being filed out of state or in another county. The divorce papers will also list the grounds for divorce and whether the spouse is filing the paperwork on their own or if they have an attorney representing them. Understanding the significance of the information in the divorce papers is essential for building a strong legal strategy for your case. 

Provide Your Response 

After you determine the deadline, you will have to provide a response to each numbered statement in the divorce papers. You can file a counterclaim in which you allege grounds of your own for divorce and propose a different allocation of your assets and debts, or matters like child support, alimony, and child custody. Whether you have an attorney handle your response or draft one yourself, it needs to be done. Failing to respond to divorce papers can result in the court granting your ex-spouse all their requests for the division of property, child custody, child support, and alimony. 

Consult with A Knowledgeable Lawyer 

You should meet with a divorce lawyer within a week of getting the papers. An experienced lawyer can evaluate your situation, discuss your options, and determine the best way to ensure your legal interests are fully protected. An attorney can also simplify the divorce process by helping you manage important deadlines, mediate stressful communications, and advise how to properly communicate with your spouse regarding child custody, visitation rights, and parenting plan decisions. 

Dreyer Law is here to help you with the entire divorce process. Call our office today to set up a free consultation.  

Myths Surrounding Prenuptial Agreements

The words “prenuptial agreement” can trigger feelings of apprehension and anxiousness, as prenups are only used as a safety measure in case of divorce, and who wants to preplan divorce safeguards, right? Wrong! The common misconception that prenups are only used as a safety guard for divorce is one of many myths surrounding prenups. Prenuptial agreements serve the purpose of providing an opportunity for couples to get on the same page for planning their future, while also protecting both spouses.  

  • Prenuptial agreements are only relevant in the event of a divorce 

The biggest, and most common misconception about prenups is that they are only relative in a divorce. A prenuptial agreement has the potential to achieve several outcomes, the most basic being able to outline financial expectations and ownership as well as assisting in establishing an estate plan. 

  • Couples who are thinking about getting a prenuptial agreement must not trust each other 

Getting a prenup is not an indicator of distrust or that the couple is planning for future marital failure, quite the opposite. Prenups allow couples to have straightforward and honest conversation about their expectations if the marriage does not work out. Couples who genuinely trust one another should feel comfortable having these types of conversations; having the communication skills to have these types of conversations is unmistakably planning for success. 

  • Prenups are just for celebrities and the wealthy 

The media has sensationalized the idea of prenups by parading the rich and famous partaking in such a thing. However, the idea that prenups are only to protect the wealthy and their high asset estates is incredibly flawed and short sighted, as the biggest asset new couples have to protect is their future earnings potential. A prenup progressively resolves future financial disputes thus benefitting any couple, no matter their income level. 

  • Prenuptial Agreements are unaffordable as they are expensive 

Nothing in life is guaranteed, and the reality is that that includes even marriages with the strongest and healthiest of starts. A well-drafted prenuptial agreement has the potential to save you a lot more in the future. If your marriage does end in divorce, then the potential litigation fees will far outweigh the cost of being proactive and having a prenuptial agreement made by an attorney experienced Newnan family law attorney. 

  • Prenups are not enforceable 

Prenups are prepared and executed in concurrence with state and federal law, just like every other contract. While there are times when prenups are not enforced in court for specific reasons, such as situations that include one spouse being coerced or threatened while signing, fraudulent misrepresentations or the failure to follow other proper legal procedures, the majority of prenups are enforceable in court. 

Having a well drafted prenuptial agreement can provide the foundation for healthy communication and a strong partnership, as it is much more about paving the way towards open communication rather than distrust and failure. If you are looking to have a prenuptial agreement drafted, know that we at Dreyer Law are here to help you and your peace of mind on your big day. If you would like to know more about prenuptial agreements as it relates to your unique facts and circumstances, call us at 770-253-7256.