A wide range of issues are encompassed under the broad heading of Family Law or Domestic Relations, almost all of which are filed in one of the Superior Courts of the State of Georgia.  (Some litigation may occur in Juvenile Court or Magistrate Court.)

A mother of a child born out of wedlock may petition to determine the paternity of an alleged father and to have him held responsible for support payments.  A father of such a child may petition to have the child legitimated and to be awarded parental rights of custody or visitation. 

An existing court order for alimony or child support may be modified up or down by an appropriate petition.

An action may be filed to enforce compliance with an existing court order in regard to support or custody or visitation.

A tort claim may be brought for fraud or slander or invasion of privacy or intentional infliction of emotional distress or malicious prosecution.

A suit for a temporary or permanent protective order may be filed in the aftermath of family violence. 

But for the most common action which takes place under the heading of Family Law or Domestic Relations relates to the dissolution of marriage, addressed in the next section, or the custody and support of children, addressed after that.


A marriage may be dissolved in Georgia by annulment but almost all marriages are dissolved by divorce.  The marriage partner filing the case is called the “plaintiff” and the opposing party is the “defendant.” The plaintiff must state grounds for divorce, but may simply state that the marriage is irretrievably broken.  This is called “no fault divorce.”  There are 12 “fault” grounds for divorce: the two most commonly seen are adultery and cruel treatment.  The defendant may file an “acknowledgment of service” or he/she may be served by the sheriff in the county of his or her residence, after which a final divorce may be granted as soon as 31 days, thereafter.   Georgia is one of the only states in the USA wherein a trial by jury will be required upon request of one of the contending parties.


A final divorce decree which includes children must make provisions for their physical custody (where and with whom they will live) and their legal custody (which parent will make decisions affecting their health and education and other matters).

More and more we have become involved in cases where the rights of grandparents to custody and visitation have had to be determined.

Child support is determined by a formula found in the Georgia Code that takes account of the income levels of the two parents and certain expenses they may have for the children.


An adoption case is almost always an unadulterated joyful experience for all concerned, including legal counsel.

Private adoptions or step-parent adoptions can be an arduous and slow-going process. Hiring a good attorney ensures that all the guidelines are followed, and in the end, there is a happy new family!


During any phone in one’s life, having a will is important. Where will your belongings go? Will you want a funeral service? Who wils take care of these arrangements?

When you are going through life-changing experiences (divorce, marriage, birth of a child, legitimation of a child, adoption), it becomes even more important to memorialize your wishes, for the sake of your loved ones.

Even having the simplest will can give you and your loved ones peace of mind.