Whether you are going through the divorce process or your former spouse or partner has already been granted primary custody, it is important to understand your rights as a non-custodial parent. Georgia’s custody laws focus on protecting the best interests of the child, and in most cases this requires the parents to develop a “parenting plan” that allows the child to spend meaningful time with both his or her mother and father.

In February, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued an important decision for parents who are in disagreement over their child’s surname. Addressing an issue that had not previously come before the Court, the Justices unanimously concurred that when a court establishes a child’s paternity, that same court also has the authority to determine the child’s surname taking his or her best interests into consideration.

A recent case from the Supreme Court of Georgia highlights how critically important it is for divorcing spouses to address all of the necessary terms and follow all required procedures when seeking to finalize their divorce. In the case of Rasheed v. Sarwat, 797 S.E.2d 454 (2017), the Court vacated a divorce decree nearly a year after the trial court issued its order purporting to dissolve the parties’ marriage.

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Going through a divorce means dividing assets that you and your former spouse may have spent a considerable number of years accumulating. In addition to real estate, cars, furnishings, and other types of personal property, this involves untangling your financial accounts as well.

You may not see a connection between your retirement accounts and divorce, particularly if these funds were earned specifically by one of the parties and deducted directly from a paycheck. It is important to realize that, as marital assets, they can be divided during a divorce, and included as a part of your property settlement.