Family Law

Compassionate Representation. Aggressive Advocacy. Effective Results.

At Alford & Burkhart, we understand that your decision to speak with an attorney about your family matters is a very personal decision, most often connected to emotional and, sometimes traumatic, issues in your and your family’s lives.  We exercise compassion in these cases by listening closely to your concerns, interests, and your desired results from your relationship with our firm.  Throughout each case, we communicate with our client, educate him or her about the process and possible results, and we solicit the client’s thoughts and suwanee-ga-family-law-attorneyfeelings to help form our strategies.  The will to understand others is the basis of our compassion.

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In contentious cases, our family law attorneys provide aggressive advocacy.  We do not wage war in the courtroom.  Even when emotions are running high, amicable resolutions can be reached through the help and guidance of experienced counsel.  Clients’ best interests can often be best served by aggressive advocacy in negotiations, or other dispute resolution methods, resulting in resolution before a case reaches trial.  However, we are focused on the results.  If the desired outcome for your case cannot be negotiated, we will continue to aggressively advocate for your rights and interests through litigation of your case, including trial.

One of Alford & Burkhart’s primary goals in providing clients with compassionate representation and aggressive advocacy is to alleviate some of the concerns and worries about the outcome of your case.  Through each step of the case, we define the goals and expectations with the client’s input, and we focus on achieving results based upon those goals and expectations.  From custody issues to financial issues, the results in a family law case must be effective, long-term solutions designed for the welfare of individuals, children, and families.

What types of cases do we handle?

Divorce

Our attorneys represent clients in uncontested and contested divorces.  We have experience in divorces involving children, high-asset divorces, “gray” divorce (i.e., parties of older couples), same-sex marriages, and other complex issues.

Child Custody

Child custody involves determination of the legal custody and physical custody of a child.  Georgia law assumes that mothers and fathers have equal rights in custody of their children.  While joint legal custody is common, one parent is often assigned to be the “primary physical custodian” and the other parent is the “non-custodial parent.”  A non-custodial parent typically has visitation and parenting rights defined by court order.  Joint physical custody is an option for parents when it is in the best interest of the child.  In some situations, sole legal and/or sole physical custody of a child by one parent is in the best interest of the child.

Child Support

Georgia law requires that mothers and fathers provide adequate financial support for their children.  In Georgia, the amount of financial support a parent must provide is largely based on his or her gross income, but other factors can affect the amount ordered by a court.  Child support may be reviewed and modified from time to time.

Legitimation

In Georgia, a father who has established paternity for his child but has not established legal rights to the child is unable to pursue custody and visitation issues. Also, unless a child is “legitimate,” (s)he may be unable to collect insurances and benefits or inherit from the father’s estate.

Paternity

For unwed parents, establishing paternity may be a requirement before a mother can seek child support from a father.

DFCS/Abuse & Neglect Cases

The Division of Family and Children Services has the authority to investigate and bring cases against parents allegedly abusing or neglecting children.  These cases can result in protective orders limiting or prohibiting contact between a parent and child.  In some cases, these cases could result in removing parental rights and the Division taking the child into its custody.  The extremely serious nature and consequences of these cases require experienced and dedicated counsel.  Our attorneys can help parents reunite with their child.

Domestic Violence

Georgia law provides protections for victims of domestic violence, including restraining orders called “protective orders.”  Family violence protective orders can be effective measures to protect yourself or your children from domestic violence.  Our attorneys are experienced in both bringing and defending this type of case.

Separate Maintenance/Separation Agreements

After spouses have separated but prior to a divorce, one spouse may file a Separate Maintenance action to have a court establish spousal obligations (i.e., alimony, child custody, or child support). Alternatively, a Separate Maintenance action may be sought by spouses, together, upon agreement to resolve issues while the spouses live separately.

Alimony

A court may order one spouse to pay the other spouse alimony, which is also referred to as “spousal support.”  Alimony may be requested in a separate maintenance or divorce proceeding.  A judge may consider all relevant factors in making a determination as to the need for alimony and the appropriate amount of alimony.  Alimony may be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis and may be required to be paid periodically (e.g., monthly) or in lump-sum.

Grandparent’s Rights

Georgia law provides that, in certain circumstances, grandparent’s may establish rights to visit with grandchildren that are independent of the child’s parent’s custody or visitation rights.

Modifications

Child custody, visitation, child support, and alimony may each be modified by court order when there has been a substantial change in circumstances justifying a change.  Other factors may also justify a modification.

Contempt

If a parent is not following a court order for child support, child custody, or visitation, he or she may be in contempt of court.  In contempt actions, courts may enforce their orders by requiring a party to “purge” him or herself of the violation.  Additionally, a court may sanction the party with fines, payment of attorneys fees, or incarceration.

Child Support Arrears

When a parent fails to pay child support, a court may determine the amount the parent has in arrears and require the parent to pay  retroactive child support or back child support in addition to current payments.

Cases Involving Children

Our attorneys work to protect the rights of parents in cases involving divorce, child custody,neglect or abuse, and juvenile court proceedings.

In deciding issues related to children, Georgia courts will be concerned with the best interest of a child.  In the cases listed above, mothers and fathers have rights and opportunity to express their opinions as to the best interest of their child.  In some cases, a guardian ad litem will be appointed to represent the best interest of the child and will also express an opinion about the best interest of a child.  Cases involving children may take place in the superior courts, juvenile courts, and probate courts in Georgia.

Our attorneys are experienced with cases involving children and help clients navigate the legal system in these matters with compassion.

Our Unique Approach

At Alford & Burkhart, we believe family law cases require an approach different than most other legal matters.  

Parties in a family law case often continue to have to interact in some form or fashion after their family related dispute is resolved.  For example, divorcing parents of a young child will continue to co-parent for up to 18 years after custody is established and the divorce is finalized.  In these types of cases, “winning” cannot be the only goal, and our attorneys seek practical solutions that protect family dynamics for the sake of the client and children.  Our attorneys also believe that the best resolutions to family law cases are typically determined by the parties rather than a judge.  Through alternative dispute resolution techniques, our attorneys help clients keep their family matters in their control rather than the control of a judge.

Where do we practice Family Law?

  • Cherokee County

    Cherokee County Superior Court

  • Jackson County

    Jackson County Superior Court

  • Oconee County

    Oconee County Superior Court

  • Walton County

    Walton County Superior Court

  • Gwinnett County

    Gwinnett County Superior Court

  • Hall County

    Hall County Superior Court

  • Fulton County

    Fulton County Superior Court

  • Forsyth County

    Forsyth County Superior Court