Atlanta Divorce Law Group September 2019


September 2019

A little-known holiday takes place this month, and it allows us to celebrate the people who make a significant impact on the family dynamic: National Grandparents Day! No two grandparents are exactly the same. Just as there are some grandmothers who embody the sweet and nurturing persona, ensuring there are homemade sweets for every visit, there are others who go on roller coasters and play in the sprinklers, keeping up with the wildest of grandkids. And just as there are grandfathers who teach kids how to fish, hunt, and camp, there are others who impart life lessons through simple but poignant coffee conversations. Regardless of the type of grandparents you have in your life, one characteristic seems apparent across most families: ceaseless support, particularly during hard times. they lend a listening ear, offer mental and emotional encouragement, assist parents in wading through unresolved custody agreements, and help their grandkids come to terms with a big change. In cases that are more complex, however, grandparents might need to know more information about custody arrangements. Grandparents obtain custody of their grandchildren over the parents’ objection in two primary ways: petitioning for custody or filing a dependency petition in juvenile court. PETITION FOR CUSTODY This case is filed in superior court and requires the grandparent to show that parental custody would harm the child, and the award of custody to the grandparent will best promote the Grandparents play an important role in divorce cases. In the vast majority of circumstances,

child’s health, welfare, and happiness. “Harm” in this case means either physical harm or significant long-term emotional harm, not social or economic disadvantages nor the stress of situations such as divorce or a change in housing or school. DEPENDENCY PETITION This case is filed in juvenile court to obtain temporary custody of a child while a parent addresses the issues that make them unable to properly parent the child. The grandparent must show that the child has been abused or neglected. In juvenile court, a parent may have the right to a court-appointed attorney. If the court finds that the child is dependent and places them in the custody of the grandparent, the court might order the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) to provide services to the parent to rectify their issues causing dependency. For example, if the cause of the dependency is a substance-abuse issue, the court might order DFCS to obtain substance-abuse treatment for the parent and monitor the parent’s compliance. Alternatively, the court might not involve DFCS but issue an order giving the parent certain conditions they must meet to regain custody. If the parent is willing to consent to the grandparent having custody of the child, then the best course of action might be obtaining a temporary guardianship through probate court. We know these options might initially seem confusing, especially if a custody situation is fraught with tension to begin with, but here at Atlanta Divorce Law Group, our attorneys will assess the facts of your specific situation and determine the best course of action for all involved. To all the grandparents who have offered support and encouragement to their kids and grandkids during some of life’s toughest moments, we want to issue you a special and genuine thank-you. Happy National Grandparents Day! 678-203-9893

–Sara Khaki



How to Trust Someone New After Being Cheated On A MISTAKE THAT CAUSES THE MOST DAMAGE

Infidelity certainly isn’t a fun topic to discuss, but with over 30% of the married population admitting on the General Social Survey to cheating on their spouses, it’s a topic that warrants a little probing. Whether you’ve been cheated on, done the cheating, or know someone who has experienced either, you know the stress, anger, and insecurity that follows. While some relationships are able to work through the infidelity, strengthening their marriage in the process, others can’t survive the emotional and/or physical betrayal and end in divorce. But what happens afterward? After struggling through the pangs of infidelity, will you ever be able to trust someone new? Here’s the short answer: Yes, you will, but not without some effort. If you feel you’re ready to start dating again or are struggling with insecurities in your new relationships, here’s some advice to keep in mind. First, remember that you are not the only person who has been cheated on. Thousands of people have struggled through the same devastation and were able to find love again.

Every act of infidelity is painful and often creates lasting emotional damage, so you have to find a way to start talking about emotional damage before dating someone new. Working with a therapist, counselor, or a close friend, or even finding online forums filled with other infidelity “survivors” is a good place to start. Once you meet someone new, you can still expect to feel insecure at times. If those feelings rise up, you need to communicate them with your partner from a rational place. Let them know what you’re feeling and why and work together to brainstorm ways to work through it together. Furthermore, remember that your new partner is not your former spouse. Unless they have given you reason to feel skeptical, then it’s your past relationship causing the mistrust, not your current one. It’s difficult not to feel cynical after being betrayed, but you can learn to trust someone new. If you need help with that process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us so we can connect you with one of our Concierge partners.

How to Keep Your Family Close in a Busy World STAYING CONNECTED

If you feel like you’ve hardly seen your kids since the school year started, you’re not alone. Americans are way too busy — from childhood onward, we’re always running hither and thither, packing in as many after-school activities, work-related meetings, and social engagements as possible. It’s a problem so pervasive that it has a name: time scarcity. Families feel time scarcity keenly after school starts in September, when children’s schedules explode with engagements. But all hope for close ties isn’t lost; there are ways to stay connected with your spouse and kids, even in an increasingly busy world. Here are some ideas from counselors, teachers, and psychologists who claim to have mastered the art. REMEMBER YOUR RITUALS Rituals make up the backbone of individual families and society at large. Most people wouldn’t dream of abandoning their holiday traditions, so why forgo the smaller rituals that bring families together? Whether it’s eating dinner at the same table each evening,

watching a movie together every Thursday night, or going on a monthly getaway, make sure these traditions aren’t canceled. If your family doesn’t have many rituals, a great way to connect is to start some. MAKE EVERY MOMENT COUNT As cliche as it sounds, when you don’t have much time together, it’s crucial to be present for every minute of it. If you have a rare half hour at home with one of your kids, make a point to spend it in the same room and try to start a conversation. If you squeeze in a romantic dinner with your spouse, turn off your phones before the food comes. Listening to each other without distractions will strengthen your relationship. HUG IT OUT Physical contact is vital for closeness. When you get the chance, hug your kids, hold hands with your spouse, and do physical activities as a family, like hiking, biking, or even playing group sports. It’s been scientifically proven that physical closeness leads to emotional closeness, so if you’re low on time, take advantage of that shortcut!


A FRESH TAKE ON THE DRAMA TRIANGLE The Book We Recommend to Anyone Facing a Big Transition

Long before the days of smartphones, laptops, and Netflix, books were the hot entertainment pastime. In the Elizabethan era, Shakespearean folios brought readers to tears; in the 1850s, Melville’s fictional whale terrorized characters and readers alike. Now, in modern times, readers can go online to buy any novel they want and its words will magically appear on their Kindle in seconds. While access to literature is infinitely easier than it was long ago, here at ADLG, we think it’s safe to say that books are the one invention that has truly stood the test of time. In honor of National Read A Book Day on Sept. 6, we want to talk about a publication that resonated with our team so much that we often offer copies to clients in times of need. David Emerald penned “The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)” nearly 13 years ago in the hopes of offering readers a deeper look at how they approach moments of transition in their lives. Emerald’s empowerment paradigm stems from a psychological theory created by Dr. Stephen Karpman known as “the drama triangle.” This triangle consists of three roles: victim (primary role), persecutor (who the victim blames for their suffering), and the rescuer (who tries to take away

the victim’s suffering). When relationships mimic the drama triangle, a lot of dysfunction occurs. In a way, all three of these roles need one another to survive. Without a persecutor, there’d be no victim, and without a victim, there’d be no rescuer, etc., and the vicious cycle repeats. “The Power of TED” offers a positive alternative to this dysfunction by giving people a choice to live out their lives in a healthier way. Through an allegorical narrative, Emerald suggests three

new roles for the triangle: creator (instead of victim), challenger (instead of persecutor), and coach (instead of rescuer). What emerges from this book is a resourceful way of living our lives and relating to others, which ultimately increases our ability to make better choices regardless of our circumstances. If you’re looking for a good read, facing a momentous transition, or needing help to create something new out of your struggles, rather than succumbing to victimhood, we couldn’t recommend this book more.


WHAT OUR Peers Are Saying!

Featuring Geoff Smith, A Mortgage Broker Who Understands!

Our legal team has compiled a list of community partners whom we trust to provide you with great services at fair prices, all in hopes of helping you approach the new version of your life with a little more confidence! This month, we are featuring Geoff Smith, a mortgage banker with a strong passion for helping his community and working closely with people

For a law group, there’s perhaps no better compliment than when fellow attorneys maintain enough trust in our expertise and work ethic to refer their clients to us. While we are always looking for ways we can collectively improve, peer referrals (like the one featured below) help us know we are on the right track. “As a lawyer, your reputation is on the line all the time. I personally take my reputation very seriously, and I have no hesitation referring my clients to ADLG. In fact, I have done so many times. If you need a great legal team to assist you in your next life transition that includes divorce, I highly recommend you call Atlanta Divorce Law Group!” –Victoria C.

and their families to ensure they live comfortably in fantastic homes and neighborhoods here in the booming Atlanta area. What makes Geoff stand out as a mortgage banker is that he works one-on-one with his clients to understand their entire life picture and determine the best financing solution for their own unique situation.

If you’re going through a divorce, there’s a good chance you might be on the lookout for a new home. The process can feel overwhelming at times, but with Geoff’s expertise, you’ll be moving in no time! To get in touch with Geoff, you can contact him directly at 678-779-5066, or send him an email at!

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3510 Old Milton Parkway Alpharetta, GA 30005

Inside This Issue

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An Ode to Grandparents

A Mistake That Causes the Most Damage: Infidelity


How to Keep Your Family Close in a Busy World

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A Fresh Take on the Drama Triangle

Here’s What Our Peers Are Saying!

ADLG’s ‘Big Little Lies’ Series: Season 1, Episode 5 Recap

ADLG’s ‘Big Little Lies’ Series: Season 1, Episode 5 Recap

Family Law Theme: Infidelity

As you’ve likely noticed in recent newsletters, the ADLG team launched a new blog series to extrapolate the plethora of family themes addressed in the first season of the dramatic hit TV series “Big Little Lies” in preparation for the amazing second season, which was released this summer. Below is a condensed recap of the fifth blog and episode “Once Bitten.” This intense and poignant episode presents the audience with several themes related to family law, but the one we want to focus on this month is Infidelity . Main character Madeline is having

an extra-marital relationship with her director, Joseph. The exact extent of the relationship isn’t clear, but we see Madeline and Joseph kissing at the theater, and there are flashbacks to them kissing in a car sometime in the previous year. As it relates to family law in Georgia, the word “infidelity” is sometimes referred to as adultery, which is when a married person “voluntarily has sexual intercourse with a person other than his [or her] spouse.” While Georgia is a state that allows for no-fault divorces, adultery is one of the 12 at-fault grounds for divorce. Courts may grant

a total divorce if the spouse can prove the other party committed adultery during their marriage. If the infidelity is proven, it can financially impact the divorce in terms of alimony (the spouse who committed adultery may be barred from receiving alimony or spousal support) and/or the equitable division of marital property (taking the affair into account when deciding the division of assets). It can also impact impending custody hearings. In addition to infidelity, the other family law issues in this fifth episode include domestic violence (shown through Celeste’s and Perry’s marriage), rape (shown through Jane’s past experiences), therapy (demonstrated through Celeste and her therapist), and the notion of maintaining or managing “passion” in marriage (shown through Celeste, Madeline, and Renata). To read about the family law themes explored in this episode and others, or to see the themes foreshadowed in “Once Bitten,” be sure to go to


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