Georgia Law Blog

What is the best Father’s Day gift for many Georgia dads?

The country’s annual salute to dads came recently via Father’s Day. That is notably a day on which legions of dads in the Atlanta metro area and nationally count their blessings. Conversely, some of them also rue what they perceive as a stark family law challenge.

On the one hand, they give thanks for precious cargo, namely, their children. On the other hand, many fathers across the country who recently divorced their spouses or are in the process of doing so fear that they might be treated unfairly in court-dictated custody outcomes.

Juvenile justice system differs from adult system

The juvenile criminal justice system is run differently than it is for adults who have committed crimes. Though laws vary by state, most juveniles over the age of seven and under the age of 18 who are accused of committing a crime will go through the juvenile justice system. Children under the age of seven are generally not penalized, though the parents may be held accountable for the crime. Juveniles who commit serious crimes may be tried as an adult.

When a minor has been detained for committing an alleged crime, police have the choice of warning the child and letting him or her go, detaining the minor until the parents come and pick up the child or taking the child into custody and referring him or her to juvenile court. The next step is appearing in the detention hearing. In Georgia, this must happen within 48 hours of being taken into the detention center.

Smartphone apps may promote unnecessary fear

Apps like Citizen and Nextdoor are widely promoted to Georgia residents hoping to protect themselves from crime. While violent crime statistics have dropped significantly across the country in the past 25 years, many people are more concerned about crime than ever before. Crime statistics may do little to ease the concerns of people who simply feel unsafe. There are several factors that may contribute to this perception of crime, including dramatic nationwide media reporting that often focuses on the most violent incidents. While these apps may seem to provide people with greater control over their crime knowledge, critics say that they stoke fears and don't protect people from danger.

Some of the apps seem to promote a sensational approach to neighborhood crime. A video promoting Citizen features a dramatic foot pursuit of a woman under a bridge by a hooded man. The app was originally called "Vigilante," and its terms encourage users to live stream video and chat with other users. It also uses fake notices of a nearby shooting in order to induce users to share their GPS location data with the app.

Concerns for business owners during divorce

The financial effects of divorce can last long after most of the emotional and practical issues surrounding the end of a marriage have been resolved. This is especially true for business owners in Georgia, who often have unique concerns about how to protect their companies. In many cases, the family business is the marital asset with the highest value, even outstripping other items like the marital home, investment accounts or retirement funds. Therefore, negotiating a solution on property division is often based on resolving key questions about the business and its future.

One of the most important steps that people can take is obtaining an accurate valuation of the business. While there are several accepted ways to determine the value of a company, they all begin with an examination of financial statements. However, in more contentious divorces, spouses may be concerned that the other spouse is hiding assets inside the business. Therefore, each spouse may want to obtain an independent expert to produce a valuation, using in-person reviews and walkthroughs to determine the extent of business assets.

Validity of fingerprint evidence dependent on technician skill

Juries in Georgia tend to place great value on fingerprint evidence. Although everyone appears to have unique fingerprint patterns, mistakes in the processing of fingerprint samples could place blame for crimes on the wrong people. The accurate identification of a fingerprint depends on criminal evidence technicians never making any mistakes. Criminal defense attorneys contend that no one can avoid mistakes 100% of the time, especially when technicians often work with partial or smudged prints.

A high-profile case of a fingerprint mistake involved three FBI experts. All three of them agreed that fingerprints collected at the scene of a bombing belonged to the same man. The defense for the suspect eventually proved that the fingerprint evidence was wrong, and the government had to pay the man $2 million in a civil lawsuit.

Tips for dealing with challenging former partners

It can be difficult for anyone to deal with a narcissist or those who display other challenging personality traits. However, even narcissists may be entitled to visitation or other rights to their children. Ideally, parents in Georgia and elsewhere can adapt to their situation and do what is best for their sons or daughters. For instance, it may be best to limit how much contact a controlling or abusive parent has with a child.

It can also be a good idea to create boundaries and demand respect from the child's other parent. The top priority for custodial parents is to make sure that they and their children feel safe both physically and emotionally. While it may be impossible to control what the other parent does, an individual can control what he or she does. Therefore, it is important for individual parents to model behavior that they want their kids to see.

Georgia's changing views on marijuana: Could it become legal?

There are widespread movements across the nation to legalize marijuana. So far, only 11 states have fully legalized its recreational use. The other 39 states cover a wide range, from completely illegal to only legalized medical marijuana.

Georgia falls somewhere in the middle. In April, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill to legalize the growth and sale of medical marijuana. Medical patients could already use medical marijuana, but now the law gives them easier access.

Divorced parents might face challenges during summer break

With summer drawing nearer every day, kids are itching to get out of school. And parents are busy planning for how they will take care of their children after school is out. They might even be looking forward to some time off with their family as well.

All of this excitement can quickly turn into an obstacle for divorced parents. Here are some of the most common challenges that parents might face during the summertime.

The problem with signing more than one copy of a will

One of the most important aspects of estate planning in Georgia is ensuring that a will is completed and signed by all the necessary parties. Signing more than one copy of a will is possible. This may seem like a good idea if the creator wants multiple loved ones to have access to the will. However, estate planning professionals generally argue against this practice.

The main reason that a lawyer might reject the idea of having multiple signed copies is that the will itself might be amended or revoked in the future. Recovering additional copies of the will may cause unnecessary stress among family members. In some cases, having multiple signed copies of a will can lead to sensitive information being exposed. Even if loved ones can be trusted, having multiple signed wills out there is risky.

Choosing a successor for your family business

For many business owners, preparing their business for a future without them can be distressing. However, your succession plan is an important part of your estate plan. For family businesses, the important task of choosing a successor can become especially complicated.

Whether you founded your Georgia business or inherited it from previous generations, planning for the future is key to confront uncertainty, avoid confusion and prepare for a seamless transition when the time comes. In choosing your successor, keep the following considerations in mind:

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