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. 

Getting Ready to File for Divorce? The Financial Ins and Outs of Setting Yourself Up for the Future

If you are getting ready to file for divorce in Georgia, setting yourself up for financial stability and success should rank high on your list of priorities. A divorce involves some of the most important financial decisions you will go through in your lifetime, and many of these decisions cannot be changed in the future. There will be a laundry list of things you need to do before you can really begin the process. At Dreyer Law, we know that getting your list together can sometimes feel like a full-time job. You juggle dozens of things simultaneously, including making sure you are taking care of yourself, your children, your investments, and your future. At the same time, many people do not want to destroy their partners, but they do want to financially set themselves up for the future. Although it is difficult to table emotions that can sometimes cloud your judgement, divorce is usually best handled like a business transaction, where you divide assets and debt and find parity in the dissolution of the marriage for the benefit of both parties. 

If you want to give yourself the best chance to come out the other side with minimal damage and financial stability, you should start by taking the following steps: 

Be Confident This Is What You Want to Do 

Divorce is traumatic even in the most amicable of situations. You need to be 100% certain that this is what you wantthere is no turning back or do-overs. While you can come back from this, it is a mental hardship that will take a long time to get over – and this is just for the two of you. Add in your children, the in-laws, friends, coworkers, and anyone else, and it gets messy. Before you begin dividing assets and financially disentangling from one another, be confident divorce is your best option.  

Get Financially Organized 

Divorce is complicated, so you will need to have information readily available or attainable because you will need to make hundreds of small, but significant, decisions that will impact both you and your family. You need to be extremely organized when it comes to your finances, including assets and debts. For some families, it is productive to work together with your spouse to ensure that you have a complete list of your debts, assets, property, financial statements, tax returns, bank accounts, credit card accounts, insurance policies, mortgage statements, car loans, retirement accounts, and anything else that seems applicable.  

Check Your Credit Score 

Credit will be a key factor in setting yourself up for a stable financial future following your divorce, so you must protect it. Moving forward, your credit score will help you rent a new place, obtain a mortgage, get your own credit cards, and more. If you are going to need to apply for these things, you will need to have a good, healthy credit score of your own. If you know your credit is somewhat low, begin trying to repair it as soon as possible.  This may also give you insight into assets and liabilities about which you may not have been fully informed by your spouse.   

Understand Your Debts 

Especially if you were not the breadwinner or the financially savvy half of your marriage, you need to start understanding the debts that the two of you hold. From credit cards, to mortgages, to car loans, to anything you owe the banks, you absolutely need to understand what you need to pay and how to split up that debt fairly. Debt does not just vanish into thin air during a divorce. 

Pick Your Battles 

To say divorce is not easy would be an understatement. It is a “give and take” battle, and you are going to have to concede some things. So, how do you handle this? It is best to sit down and really think about the things you want to fight for. Maybe it is the business that has been in your family forever or maybe it is that vintage car that is in both of your names. It is best to prioritize the assets you want to fight for, know your finances and what you can afford, and come to grips with the reality that you will have to give some things up. 

Know Your Financial Limits 

Pushing emotions to the side and being financially smart in your divorce can truly make or break your outcome. Part of determining what to fight for means thinking about what you can realistically afford. If you cannot afford certain living expenses, it probably makes sense to fight for more money instead of possessions. Be smart and assess your situation thoroughly to fight for what benefits you most. 

Work with a Lawyer Who Understands Your Situation 

Even if you both want out and your divorce seems like it will be completely amicable, you need to work with an experienced divorce attorney who can handle high asset or complex financial circumstances and will have your best interests at heart and fight for the things you want most. Your ex-spouse could turn on a dime and having a knowledgeable divorce lawyer will ensure your rights and assets remain protected. 

While you are getting ready to file for divorce in Coweta Georgia, you need to be prepared and ensure that you check every box. Luckily, you do not have to fight this battle alone. At Dreyer Law, our experienced legal team can help you build a strong case that works best for you and your family. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation.  

Frequently Asked Questions about Child Support

Child support cases can be incredibly complex and overwhelming, which is why we have compiled and answered some frequently asked questions. To learn more about child support, read on. 

How much will I pay in child support? 

Child support payments vary on a case-by-case basis, so the amount you pay depends largely on your income. The court will determine a fair child support obligation based on several factors, including the income of each parent, each parent’s employment status, health insurance premiums attributed to the child/children, health care costs, special expenses for the child/children and other child support obligations each parent’s tax obligations. The child custody arrangement will also play a part in determining how child support will be paid. 

What is the average child support payment in Coweta County? 

As stated above, several different factors determine how much a parent must pay in child support. There is no standardized payment in Coweta County, so determining an average is quite unlikely. However, it is helpful to consider the factors the court will examine when deciding on an appropriate payment. 

If I do not pay child support, will I still be allowed visitation? 

Parents often wonder if they are legally permitted to deny their ex visitation rights if he or she refuses to pay child support. In short, no. As the saying goes, two wrongs do not make a right, and just because one parent breaks the rules, that does not mean the other should as well. In fact, denying visitation, regardless of the circumstances, can result in serious repercussions. If your ex does not pay child support, make sure you report this issue to your divorce attorney so that you can determine your next move. If the case is extreme, you can bring the matter before the court, at which point the judge may decide to alter the visitation schedule. 

Do I need to pay child support if I am unemployed? 

Because child support is determined by a parent’s income, the court will at least impute minimum wage to that parent for the purposes of determining child support. However, a parent cannot simply stop making payments just because he or she lost a job. Instead, an unemployed parent should go through the Georgia legal system and ask the court for a modification to the existing child support agreement. The court will see the change in income and adjust accordingly. Typically, this means the court will grant a temporary freeze for child support. 

What if my child support payments are more than I can afford? 

When financial circumstances change, it is extremely important to take action within the Georgia court system in order to adjust your child support payments. If your child support payments are more than you can afford, you do have options to decrease payments. However, you cannot stop making payments without seeking an official modification. 

What can I do if my ex stops paying child support? 

If your ex stops paying child support, you should start by contacting him/her directly to ask about the missing payments. Hopefully, there will be a simple explanation, such as a bank error, or maybe your ex simply forgot. However, if your ex chose not to pay support, or if he or she is unable to afford it, you will need to take action through the court. If your ex cannot afford child support, he or she should petition for a modification, and until they do so, they will be required to continue making the predetermined payments. If they miss payments, they can face serious repercussions in court, including the withholding of tax returns, licenses, being remanded to the custody of the sheriff until payments are made, or other remedies. When missing payments becomes a true problem, you should contact your attorney immediately and discuss the details of your situation, what you have done to solve it, and your legal options going forward. 

Need help with a child support issue? Our experienced attorney can help you find a workable solution for your current family law predicament. We have handled countless cases in Coweta County and beyond, and we know how to handle complex, challenging cases both in and out of the courtroom. 

Things You Should Never Do During a Divorce

Are you worried about what you should or should not do during your divorce? The divorce process can be complex, stressful, and intimidating. Determining the right choice at every crossroads can be exceedingly difficult. Between child custody battles, spousal support negotiations, and property division, you will certainly have your hands full once everything is underway. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to improve your circumstances and protect your interests. 

  • Do not Hide Assets. 

You may be tempted to hide some of the assets you feel belong to you, but doing so could lead to serious legal penalties. It is always best to negotiate over these properties in court. 

  • Do not Neglect Your Finances.

Divorce can be expensive, so make sure you keep an eye on your finances and budget accordingly. Spending frivolously could come back to bite you.   

  • Do not Rely on Joint Accounts. 

Now is the time to establish your own, independent accounts. That way you can build your own credit and avoid any complications that might arise if your spouse is spying on your finances. And talk to your attorney about other steps to protect your financial future. 

  • Do not Rely on the Advice of Family and Friends. 

While they mean well, your family members and friends are not legal experts, and their advice should not be your go-to source of information. Instead, seek the guidance of legal professionals and rely on your family and friends for emotional support and stability. 

  • Do not Take to Social Media. 

It might feel cathartic to release your anger on social media, but anything you say or do online could hurt your case in the long run. Instead, the safest option is to avoid social media altogether until the divorce is finalized.  

  • Do not Put Your Children in the Middle. 

Every parent wants the best for their children, but determining what that looks like during a divorce can be tricky. During this stressful time, focus on making your kids feel heard and important, and avoid putting them in the middle of your conflicts.  

  • Do not Be Overly Contentious. 

Argumentative couples usually deal with longer, more challenging divorces. Instead of fighting over every little thing, try to focus on the common purpose and choose your battles carefully. It may be frustrating in the moment, but focusing on positive, constructive conversations could help save you time and money. 

  • Do not Go Without an Attorney. 

In an age of DIY, it can be tempting to try to go through the divorce process independently. When it comes to legal matters though, it is always best to work with an expert.  

Dreyer Law has extensive experience with a wide variety of divorce cases. We can help create a customized legal approach that works best for you. Call us today to set up a free consultation. 

Who Has Child Custody When Parents Are Unmarried?

Ending a relationship is always challenging, especially when you and your significant other share children together. Unfortunately, figuring out how to divide parenting time is not nearly as easy as it is to determine who gets to keep the silverware or the furniture. If you are dealing with a child custody issue after a break-up, you must consider each parent’s parental rights, their relationship with your child, and several other factors. 

If you are trying to figure out what will happen to your child custody arrangement after a break-up, make sure you know which factors the court considers before making any custody orders. 

Establishing Parental Rights 

For married parents, determining parental rights is usually very straightforward, but when a child’s parents are unmarried, it can be much more difficult to determine parental rights. And, in order to obtain any type of custodial rights, you must first establish that you have parental rights to the child in question.  

Without establishing paternity and legitimation, an unmarried father will not automatically receive parental rights, even if he is the child’s biological father and has assumed a paternal role in the child’s life. A biological mother, on the other hand, is automatically granted parental rights. Likewise, if a married woman gives birth, her husband is presumed to be the father and he receives parental rights automatically.  

In order to establish parental rights, a father must file an action for legitimation. In that same action the court can make a determination of custody, parenting time and child support. Unfortunately, the law does not provide for any temporary parenting rights unless the mother consents. That may mean in some cases that you cannot visit with your child until you get a final order. 

Once a father obtains paternal rights, he has the right to pursue custody in the same way a mother would. Both mothers and fathers have equal rights to child custody. 

How Is Child Custody Determined? 

Child custody is determined on a case-by-case basis, which means there is no standard arrangement that all unmarried couples use when they break up. Parents have the option of setting a parenting plan through mediation or outside of court, but if they are not able to reach an agreement on their own, they will have to bring their case before a judge. 

In court, the judge will consider the following factors before determining child custody: 

  • The child’s relationship with each parent; 
  • Each parent’s health and ability to care for the child; 
  • The child’s relationship with each parent’s community, household, and other family members; 
  • If one parent acted as the child’s primary caregiver in the past; 
  • The child’s wishes, if the child is deemed mature enough to express an opinion; 
  • Any history of domestic violence or abuse; and 
  • Ability to provide for the needs of the child. 

What Are Our Custody Options? 

Depending on each of these factors, the judge may decide to grant joint or sole physical custody. In a joint physical custody arrangement, the parents will share parenting time equally. If one parent is granted primary physical custody, the other parent will be scheduled specific visitation time with the child on a regular basis. In rare cases, usually when child abuse has occurred, the court may grant one parent sole custody without allowing the other parent any visitation rights, or only supervised visits with a social worker present. 

Let Our Child Custody Attorneys Help You 

If you and your child’s other parent are no longer together and you are concerned about the next step, our firm is prepared to help. Dreyer Law has extensive experience working with unmarried parents in a variety of complex or problematic custody situations. If you need help with your custody case or modification, we can help. 

What you need to know about Mediation

When dealing with a child custody issue, trying to reach an agreement through mediation could be a great alternative to traditional court litigation. When you work with a mediator, you and the child’s other parent will be able to negotiate the terms of your custody agreement in a way that best suits your lifestyles and the needs of your child. However, when you do not know what to expect from the mediation process, it might feel a bit daunting. 

If you will be handling a child custody case through mediation, make sure you know what to expect from the process and how to make the most of it. 

How Mediation Works 

Through mediation, parents can negotiate a child custody agreement with the help of an unbiased third-party mediator. The mediator can help settle arguments, offer potential resolutions, and notify each party of the child custody laws applicable to their case. Each party may also bring their respective divorce or family lawyers to their mediation meetings. However, because the mediator is not invested in either side, he or she can help both parties reach a fair agreement based on what is best for the overall situation. 

The goal of mediation is to facilitate a useful discussion where both parents work together to make the arrangements that work best for their child. Mediation does not encourage contention, but focuses instead on peaceful, productive negotiations that benefit everyone involved. 

The Benefits of Mediation 

Mediation can be used to help with a variety of family law issues, including divorce, spousal support modifications, child support modifications, visitation issues, and child custody. Mediating child custody can be extremely helpful because it helps you and your co-parent to work together and find a solution that works for each of you and, most importantly, what is best for your child. 

Benefits of Mediation for Child Custody Include: 

  • Quicker than litigation 
  • Typically less expensive than the litigation process 
  • Encourages negotiation rather than contention 
  • More private than litigation 
  • The parents are in control of their own parenting plan 
  • Both parties are free to find creative, personalized solutions 

Making the Most of The Mediation Process 

If you and your co-parent will use mediation for your child custody case, make sure you know how to make the most of your situation. For this purpose, you will want your own family lawyer to assist you with the mediation process. A knowledgeable lawyer can inform you of your legal rights and help protect your interests if your ex becomes argumentative or manipulative. Also, if your ex has a lawyer, being the only one without legal representation could put you at a significant disadvantage. Even though a mediator will be there to remind both parties of their options, the mediator is unbiased and will not prioritize your interests like your attorney will. 

Give Dreyer Law a call for all your family law needs. We are here to be your legal representation.