Tag Archive for: attorney

What To Do If You Are In A Wreck

There are over 6,000,000 motor vehicle collisions in the United States every year.  While no one ever expects to be involved in one, there are some things you should know in case you or a loved one ever end up in such a situation.

First – Don’t Leave

To begin with, never leave the scene.  In Georgia, it is illegal to leave the scene of a collision.  Even if the wreck was your fault, you should never make matters worse by fleeing the scene.

Second – Check on Those Involved

Once you have determined that you are okay, if you are able, check on the other people involved.  There may be something that needs immediate attention in order to prevent the situation from getting even worse.  For example, if the vehicle is leaking gas, everyone needs to get away as soon as possible.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, be sure not to move someone unless it is absolutely necessary.   There is a reason they secure football players to a stretcher before moving them off the field.  If someone has a spinal injury, movement can make things even worse.

Third – Secure the Scene to Protect Others

The Golden Rule tells us to treat others as we would like to be treated.  To that end, be sure to do what you can to let other motorists know what has happened.  For example, you can set out road flares (if you have them), put out hazards warnings, or just turn on your flashers, of even waive down other motorists before they get to the scene.  The last thing you want to happen is have more people involved if it can be avoided.

Fourth – Contact the Police and Exchange Info

Report the wreck to the proper authorities.  This may be as easy as calling 911, but be sure the wreck is reported.  Also, be sure that the vehicles involved stay where they are until the police arrive.  The location of the vehicles could be very important, especially in cases where people don’t agree on who was at fault.

When giving your statement, be sure to give accurate information.  There is no need to speculate or guess at what happened.  Tell law enforcement what occurred as best as you can recall.

If there are any witnesses, be sure you get their contact information too.  Don’t just depend that the officer will take it all down.  Be proactive.  To that end, be sure to get all of the witnesses’ addresses, phone numbers, and even emails if available.  Emails tend to chance less than addresses and cell phone numbers.

You should also exchange contact information with the other party involved as well.  This includes getting the name of their insurance company and their policy number.  The easiest way to document this may be to take a picture of their insurance card with your smart phone.  Speaking of photographs……

Fifth – Document the Scene (Photographs)

Its always a good idea to get photographs of the scene.  Use your smart phone to get pictures of the vehicles involved and any injuries you may have suffered.  Be sure to get photographs of the vehicles that show the body damage as well as some that include background information to establish the vehicles’ point of rest.   For example, is your car still on the roadway, or is it on the shoulder of the highway?  Also, is there a tree, bush, or house, that can be used in the background to establish where the vehicles came to rest?  Is there a mark in the highway that shows the point of impact?  All of this this information can be very helpful to any collision reconstructionist that may be hired at a later date.


Sixth – Report the Wreck to Insurance

You will also need to be sure to report the wreck to your insurance company.  Many policies contain a provision that they only provide insurance coverage to you if report the claim in writing within a “reasonable” time period.  This has been interpreted to mean anything from “as soon as possible,” to a certain number of days.  In either event, be sure to at least call your insurance agent to let him or her know or jump online and file a claim through the insurance company’s website.

Seventh – Seek Medical Care if Needed

After a wreck, it is not uncommon for adrenaline to pump through a person’s body.  This chemical dump of adrenaline can, and often does, mask many injuries to the point that the injury will not be apparent until hours after the collision.  In fact, many of our clients report that they did not feel any pain until they woke up the next day.  If you are injured, be sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible, either at the hospital or your primary care doctor.

Insurance companies like to argue that if you did not seek immediate medical attention, then you must not be hurt.  We all know this blanket statement is not true, but insurers do a great job of trying to minimize people’s injuries so they can have larger profit margins.

Eighth – Call The Kirbo Law Firm

You should also investigate and protect your rights.  To do this, call us at The Kirbo Law Firm for a free consultation.  We have decades of experience fighting with insurers to protect our client’s rights.  Let us help you avoid the delays that insurers attempt to put on your claim and ensure that you and your family are taken care of throughout your recovery.  Call us today.

Do I Need a Will?

In Georgia, if you pass away without a will, your estate passes to your closest heirs at law.  Passing away with no will is also known as leaving an intestate estate.  When this happens, Georgia law sets out who inherits your property.

Spouse’s Rights Under Intestacy Law in Georgia

If you are married, and leave no children or other living descendants, then your spouse will inherit your entire estate.  If you are also survived by any child, or other living lineal descendant, the spouse shall share equally with the children, with the descendants of any deceased child taking that child’s share, per stirpes; provided, however, that the spouse’s portion shall not be less than a one-third share.

For example if, at the time of your death, you leave behind a spouse (Mary), and one child (Billy), then your spouse and child will each inherit 50% of your estate.

Example 2:  For a more detailed example, assume you leave behind your spouse (Mary), and two living children (Billy and Susie), and one deceased child (Bobby) who left a child of his own (Johnny – your grandson), then your estate would pass like this:  Spouse (Mary) would receive 1/3 of your estate; Billy, Susie and Johnny (your grandchild) would then equally divide the remaining 2/3’s of your estate.

Estates Without Spouses

If you pass away and are not survived by a spouse, your heirs will be those relatives who are related to you by the nearest degree in which there is a survivor;

  1. Children are in the first degree,  and those who survive the decedent shall share the estate equally, with the descendants of any deceased child taking, per stirpes, the share that child would have taken if in life;
  2. Parents of the decedent are in the second degree, and those who survive the decedent shall share the estate equally;
  3. Siblings of the decedent are in the third degree, and those who survive the decedent shall share the estate equally, with the descendants of any deceased sibling taking, per stirpes, the share that sibling would have taken if in life; provided, however, that, subject to the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection (f) of Code Section 53-1-20, if no sibling survives the decedent, the nieces and nephews who survive the decedent shall take the estate in equal shares, with the descendants of any deceased niece or nephew taking, per stirpes, the share that niece or nephew would have taken if in life;
  4. Grandparents of the decedent are in the fourth degree, and those who survive the decedent shall share the estate equally;
  5. Uncles and aunts of the decedent are in the fifth degree, and those who survive the decedent shall share the estate equally, with the children of any deceased uncle or aunt taking, per stirpes, the share that uncle or aunt would have taken if in life; provided, however, that, subject to the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection (f) of Code Section 53-1-20, if no uncle or aunt of the decedent survives the decedent, the first cousins who survive the decedent shall share the estate equally; and
  6. The more remote degrees of kinship shall be determined by counting the number of steps in the chain from the relative to the closest common ancestor of the relative and decedent and the number of steps in the chain from the common ancestor to the decedent. The sum of the steps in the two chains shall be the degree of kinship, and the surviving relatives with the lowest sum shall be in the nearest degree and shall share the estate equally.

Why Have a Will?

If the law takes care of where my stuff goes, then why do I need a will?  Well, maybe you don’t want the State controlling your stuff, or perhaps you would prefer to leave your property to other people, or in different amounts.  One of the major reasons people should consider making a will is if they have minor children.

Think About Using a Trust

When you have minor children, their share of your estate will be under the control of their guardian or conservator and you will almost certainly have no say-so in who that person or entity will be.  If you leave your children’s share in trust, however, you can control almost all aspects of what happens.  You can pick the trustee, you can explain how much money can be used by the trustee, and for what purposes, and you can decide when the property should pass to your children outright and free of trust, which may not be until after they have finished school and gotten a job (for example).

Trusts are also great tools for insuring you leave resources behind for any special needs children you may have.  One of the largest fears for parents with special needs children is what will happen to these children after the parents are gone.  Establishing a trust can help alleviate this concern somewhat.

What About Guardians for Minor Children?

You can also use your will to express your desire as to who you want to take over the care of any of your minor children should you no longer be here.  Would you rather people guess about who they think you would want raising your children, or would you prefer to ensure that such an important decision is set forth plainly so everyone involved, including the courts, know your wishes?

Wrapping Up

If you are at a point that you would like to know more about having a will for your family, please schedule a short conference with one of our Moultrie estate planning attorneys.  Even if you choose not to make a will right now, get as much information as you can and learn what options are out there, so when you are ready to make your will, you will be armed with the necessary tools.

Good luck and we look forward to hearing how we can help you.

Hurt At Work? Here’s What To Do.

In Georgia, if you are hurt while performing your job, you are most likely going to be entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits.  While there are certain types of employers that are exempt from these laws, such as agricultural employers, other employers with three or more employees are required to provide this coverage.

What Does the Workers Compensation Act Mean to Employees?

If you are hurt at work, while acting within the course and scope of your employment, then the employer’s Workers Compensation Insurer is required to pay for your reasonable medical expenses and even pay you while you are out of work.  In addition, you can receive these benefits regardless of whose fault the injury was.

While receiving benefits without having to prove fault may sound like a good deal for the employee and a bad deal for the employer, there is a trade off.  In exchange for having to provide benefits to employees regardless of fault, the employer receives immunity so that, except in rare circumstances, it cannot be sued because of the employee’s injuries, even if the employer was negligent.

First Thing To Do – Tell Your Employer You’re Hurt.

If you get hurt at work, the first thing you need to do is let your employer know.  Sometimes, this may only require you to tell your immediate supervisor.  However, if that person is not available, then make sure you tell someone as soon as possible.  Georgia law requires that an employer receive the notice of injury within 30 days.

Second – Get Medical Treatment if Appropriate.

After you have provided notice, your employer will likely want to know if you need medical treatment.  Pursuant to the Workers Compensation Act, your employer should have a “Posted Panel of Physicians.”  This posted panel is usually in a break room or other public area and it will list several medical providers that are approved “work comp” doctors or medical practices that are covered by the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurer.

If you are told to see a doctor, make sure it is one of the providers from the posted panel.  If you go to someone off the panel, the insurer may attempt to deny coverage for that visit leaving you holding the bag.

Of course, in emergency situations, you can also go directly to the emergency room for treatment and those charges will still be covered.   Also, if your employer does not have a posted panel of physicians, you can go to any doctor of your choice and the employer will still have to pay since it did not have a posted panel of physicians.  The main thing, however, is to know that you have choices.  You do not have to go to only the doctor the employer wants you to.  You have choices.

Third – Keep Your Employer Informed of Your Condition.

After meeting with a doctor, you need to let your employer know what the doctor said.  If you are going to be out of work, let your boss know.  They still have a business to run and they need to know whether to expect you back or not.  You will need to get written verification to your employer if you are going to be out of work.

If you can return to work, the employer also needs to know of any limitations you may have to work under.  Again, be sure to get these limitations in writing from the doctor so you can give a copy to your employer.

Fourth – Fill Out State Forms

In Georgia, an employee that has been hurt at work must file a WC-14 Notice of Claim with the State Board of Workers Compensation.  This form can be found here.  This form must be filed within one year of the date of injury, although there may be extensions to this time period in certain situations.

Fifth – If You Have a Serious Injury, Seek Advice from a Workers Compensation Attorney

If you are able to return to work shortly after your injury, then great.  You may want to call us to be sure that you have received everything you are supposed to, though.  For example, if you suffered an injury that leaves a permanent impairment, the insurer is required to pay you additional monies for the permanent injury.  We can help you determine what that amount should be.

If, however, your injury is more serious, and you are going to need extensive medical treatment and/or extended missed time from work, you may want to get help from a qualified attorney.  Here at The Kirbo Law Firm, we have decades of experience in these types of cases and will be happy to discuss the facts of your case with you to be sure you are comfortable with all of your options.

Contact us today.

Fam Law: Child Custody and Support

If you’re looking for resources about child custody cases, chances are you’re looking for answers, support and guidance from a great family law attorney. Our dedicated Moultrie legal team at Kirbo Law Firm have organized a good amount of info to help guide you through this tough time. We know how important family is, and the need to protect your children. Take the time to research and read everything you can so you know what to expect as you move through this difficult time. We can start with the basics.

The Different Types of Custody

Physical and Legal Custody

Physical custody is generally given to one parent whose child lives with them full time. Legal custody is shared with the non-custodial parent in which both parents have the right to make decisions about the child’s education, religion,health care

Sole Custody

This occurs when a parent gets full custody of their child, this occurs most often when the other parent is abusive or absent.

Joint Custody

Joint Custody is when a child spends equal or almost equal amount of time with both parents. Joint custody is the cause of some controversy and is only allowed if both parents can cooperate and make joint decisions in the child’s best interest.

Split Custody

Split custody occurs in the instance of several children in which one parent has physical custody of some of the children and the other parent has physical custody of the others. This is generally considered an unfavorable option.

Unmarried Parents

If the parents are not married, the mother wins custody unless the father takes additional measures to be granted custody.

Factors in deciding custody

  1. What the child wants, depending on his/her age and maturity
  2. Age and sex of the child
  3. Health of the parents
  4. Relationship with others who reside in the house
  5. Stable home environment
  6. Any evidence of parental drug, sex, emotional, or alcohol abuse

Responsibilities of the Custodial parent

  1. Keeping the child in good hygiene
  2. Teaching them basic necessities. For example, walking, talking, reading, writing,
  3. Feeding the Child
  4. Purchasing clothes and laundry responsibilities;
  5. Making sure the child has healthcare
  6. Buying clothing for the child

Custody Laws

If you’re wondering how you can get custody of your child, you will most likely have to go to court. Of course, parents are able to make the decision if they can come to a mutual agreement. Although if someone changes their mind, it’s much harder to enforce the decision made. Going to court is the safest option if you want your custody written. However, each state has their own laws regarding custody and those should be reviewed first. Check out thebalance.com and see their guide to each state’s laws.

“Alabama. Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida,

Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine,

Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana,

Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina,

North Dakota, Ohio,Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina,

South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington,

Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming”

What If I want to move away with my child?

  1. Firstly, the court needs to decide if the relocation would be in the best interest of the child. If they decide it’s not, you might have to stay.
  2. While first getting child custody, it’s helpful to create some kind of agreement than that if the desire to relocate comes up, it’s already agreed upon with visitation schedules already planned out.
  3. In some states, you as the custodial parent are required to give written notice of the intention to move to the noncustodial parent 30 days before the move. In this notice should be information regarding the new living situation. In some states, the non-custodial parent needs to agree to the move, if they don’t agree they can file a motion to stop the relocation. However, if they don’t respond within the 30 days, you are able to move.

If the non-custodial parent objects, it may go to court and there are several factors determining if you are able to move.

  1. Distance from your original location can change the outcome of your move.
  2. Proof that the move is happening because of good intentions, and not to spite your ex. Ways to show this are:
    1. New job
    2. Family lives near the new residence
    3. It’s more affordable
    4. Education system is better for the child.
    5. It’s in the child’s best interest
  1. A proposed visitation schedule is required by most states. Usually the child will see the non-custodial parent over holidays and breaks from school. Having a schedule ahead of time may help your case.
  2. In regards to the money it takes to travel the child between parents, if you are the parent moving away, you will most likely have to be okay with paying the majority of those costs. If you are, make that known in court.

To talk to a child custody attorney about getting custody or moving away, contact us here at Kirbo Law Firm located in Moultrie, Georgia.

Child Support

Child Support comes in once custody is assigned. Usually the non-custodial parent will have to give a portion of their income to the custodial parent as child support.

How is it determined?

Usually, child support is issued by family court. They create a number to be paid based on several factors

  1. Payers income and cost of living
  2. Decrease in custodial parent’s income
  3. Child support already being paid from a previous marriage
  4. If the non-custodial parent is already paying child support to a previous marriage
  5. Increase in child’s needs
  6. How many children there are
  7. What health insurance costs
  8. If a parent has to pay union dues

However, there are different guidelines for Child Support by state. Check out the National Conference of State Legislatures guide to those guidelines.

How do I get Child Support?

  1. First, you must be the custodial parent.
  2. Then you should go to court to get a Child Support Order.
  3. In the case of a Joint-Custody. If during the marriage one spouse made a significant amount more than the other, they may have to pay some child support to the parent making less.
  4. Hire your own attorney to help figure out how you will get paid and how much. You can speak to one here. Usually child support enforcement agencies and the court will work together to create a child support system. Child Support will ultimately be issued by family court.

I’m not getting the Child Support I’m owed, What do I do?

  1. Contact Kirbo Law Firm, your Moultrie Attorney. Child Support is usually court-ordered, and they will have to pay. However, if it still persists to be a problem, the court can take more drastic measures. In some states, the parent who isn’t paying child support can have their wages withheld. If it continues, several other actions may be taken, such as the jail time, seizure of property, interception of tax refunds, freezing bank accounts, suspension of driver’s license, and more.
  2. If the non-custodial parents lives out of state, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act enforces them to still pay child support. Child Support Orders may be sent to the non-custodial parents employer who can take the money out of the paycheck. It is illegal for a parent to refuse to pay child support
  3. If the non-custodial parent seems to have disappeared, you can hire someone from the Office of Child Support Enforcement to try to locate them here. There are several pieces of information of the non-custodial parent to have on record in this event
    1. SSN
    2. Noncustodial parents friends, family, employers, coworkers
    3. Financial references
    4. Copy of the Child Support Order
    5. Police, parole, or probation records
    6. Non-Custodial parents past addresses
    7. Childs Birth certificate
  4. The NCSEA released a list of different states child support enforcement agencies that can help.

To get more information on obtaining child custody or child support, you can speak to one of our family Law Attorneys here at Kirbo Law Firm, located in Moultrie, Georgia.

Phone: (229) 985-1955   Fax: (229) 890-2487


Mom & Child Image

Child Custody Image

Money Image

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Types of Custody Resource

Deciding Factors Resource

Additional Resource

Family Law: Marriage

You’ve all heard the tale as old as time, kissing in trees leads to marriage which leads to babies, which all leads to a happy life. However, marriage is a bit more complicated than that. In fact, there are a lot of legal aspects that need to be considered when getting married. Here at Kirbo Law Firm of Moultrie, Georgia, we understand those complications and would like to help you. Here’s our guide to what you need to know about the marriage aspect of Family Law.

The Basics: Requirements

  1. Each state has its own set of specific laws, but many of them overlap. Here is a list of some of the most common requirements:
    1. There must be consent given by both parties with full knowledge of what is happening
    2. You cannot marry immediate blood relatives, although you can marry second cousins in every state.
    3. In most states you must be 18 years old to consent to marriage. However, some states allow younger with parental consent
    4. Both parties must be mentally healthy enough to understand marriage and what is required of it.
    5. Proof of ID is required
    6. You do not need to be a resident of most states to get married there
    7. Both spouses, the person who officiated, and one or two witnesses over the age 18 must sign the marriage certificate

License: Common Requirements

  1. A Fee ranging from $10 to $115 dollars.
  2. A blood test is rarely required to check partners for diseases. It’s mostly obsolete now but some states like Montana still require it.
  3. Some states enforce a waiting period before receiving a requested marriage license. These are usually under a week and are just to ensure it’s what the couple really wants.
  4. Some states also require a waiting period after receiving the license. The longest waiting period is 3 days.
  5. You must use your marriage in a certain amount of time depending on your state. It can go as quickly as 10 days to 1 year. Some states do not have an expiration for you license. Check out usmarriagelaws.com list to see each state’s specific laws. 

Knowing What’s Yours

  1. There are two types of property laws that differ depending on what state you live in. Most states are Common Law Property States. Common Law essentially means that if one person in a marriage solely buys somethings in their name, it’s theres. If an asset is bought under both parties names, then the assets are in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship. So whichever partner survives inherits the entirety of the property.
  2. The other type of state is the Community Property State. Only several states follow these rules, but it essentially states that any assets acquired over the course of the marriage are owned by both parties. The only exceptions are items acquired before the marriage or gifts given to one person during the marriage

Want a Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial Agreements (prenups) often have a bad connotation to them, as if the parties involved don’t trust one another. That’s not always the case though, as prenups are a safety precaution in a world where not everything always goes your way. There are many benefits to them, such as:

  1. Protecting each parties assets
  2. Set the financial responsibilities during a marriage
  3. Protection from the debt of the other party
  4. Ensuring someone besides your spouse else will inherit certain assets or income in the event of your death
  5. How assets will be divided in the case of someone’s death
  6. Set the financial responsibilities during a marriage
  7. Figuring out how everything is split in the event of a divorce making a divorce a lot quicker and painless.

How do you get a Prenupial Agreement?

Prenuptial agreements can be created on your own, but it’s advised (and in some states required) to get a family law attorney for each party to look over and review the prenup. It must be a written agreement and It also must be presented to a court. A judge reviews and decides if the prenup is fair and meets state requirements. Obviously, the prenup must also be signed before some time before the marriage takes place.

What can not be included in a Prenup?

  1. Illegal activities
  2. Giving up alimony rights
  3. Anything involving child care
  4. Financial incentives encouraging divorce
  5. Personal matters

Something to Note: Prenups can cost upwards $2,500 but in the event of a divorce, would be a lot more cost effective and better than letting a judge divide up your assets. Contact one of our Moultrie Family Lawyers today if you want to learn more about getting a prenup.


Changing Your Name

When you get married, there’s the option of changing your last name to the last name of your spouse. However it doesn’t just come with marriage. There are several steps you must take first. Usually you need to petition the court to change your name, an order describing the cause for the name change, and a decree to legally change your name. It also requires a fee upwards of $200. Don’t forget to notify important organization’s of your new name. Some places not to forget include

  1. Social Security Administration
  2. IRS
  3. DMV
  4. Banks + Credit Card Companies
  5. Mortgage and Loan Companies
  6. And remember to change your passport as well.

What’s a Common Law Marriage?

Common Law marriages are a way for two parties to have a valid marital status without going through a legal marriage ceremony. What is required of this can vary from state to state, but generally proof of a long lasting relationship, eyewitnesses to your relationship, deeds showing joint company, joint ownership of bank accounts, and more are ways to validate a common law marriage. This is mostly accepted only for a relationship between a man and woman, there are a few states who allow common law marriages for same sex couples. Each state has their own requirements and can be checked out here.

Have any other questions or would like to hire an attorney? Contact us here at Kirbo Law Firm, and we’re happy to set you up with one of our Moultrie family law attorneys.

Phone: (229) 985-1955   Fax: (229) 890-2487

The Divorce Guide

Everything You Should Know About Divorce

Although divorce rates are lower than ever before, 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States end up getting divorced. Divorce is so commonly thrown around that it seems like it’s pretty simple because everyone gets them. There’s actually a lot of complicated legal steps involving divorce attorneys that go into the legal side of divorce. Here at Kirbo Law Firm, our divorce attorneys recognize this can already be a difficult enough time, without the heartache and stress of not knowing what the end result will be – that’s why we’ve compiled a list of steps you should take in an effort to help you what getting divorced actually entails from the decades of experience we have as Moultrie Divorce and Family Law Attorneys.

First, before getting into the legal parts of Divorce, we might as well mention the option of an Annulment.


Annulments end a marriage like a divorce does, but it states that the marriage never happened. Depending on your religion, Annulments might be required for you to remarry. According to howstuffworks.com, there are four grounds for annulment. 

“1. fraud or misrepresentation (for example, one spouse may already be married to someone else or may have withheld the fact that he or she can’t have children)

2. concealment (for example, the spouse may have concealed a drug addiction, prior criminal record or having a sexually transmitted disease)

3. inability or refusal to have sexual intercourse with his or her spouse

4. misunderstanding (for example, differing ideas of lifestyle or desire to have children)”

If you feel you meet the requirements for an annulment, you may want to try that first.

Different Types of Divorce

Contested Vs. Uncontested

  1. Uncontested: A divorce is uncontested if the spouse who was served
    1. Doesn’t respond to the divorce request
    2. Doesn’t legally dispute the spouses decisions
    3. Agrees to everything their spouse requests
  1. Contested: If an agreement is settled for all issues, then it is contested and the couple will usually have to take their issues to divorce court. They may solve it during negotiations though (Most cases are settled out of court, only 10 percent go to court)

Default Divorce

If you serve your spouse with divorce papers and they are not responded to within the amount of time required, a judge can grant you everything you requested. However, if the spouse cannot be found to be served, a “service by publication” can be filed and the divorce request would appear publicly in local papers where your spouse was last located. This can take a while to get a response to.

Fault Vs. No Fault

When filing for divorce, there is usually a decision between having a fault or no fault reason. A fault could be, for example, adultery or abuse. However, no fault is most used reason and the most common phrase when describing why the marriage failed is “irreconcilable differences.” According to Alllaw.com,

 “All jurisdictions allow for some type of no-fault grounds such as “irreconcilable differences”, but only a few states still consider fault grounds for divorce, such as adultery or abandonment. Your lawyer can tell you whether fault grounds are available in your state, and if so, whether or not it makes sense to file for divorce on fault grounds.”

Mediated Divorce

In the case of a mediated divorce, A mediator is hired to serve as a neutral party to help both spouses discuss negotiations and decisions. They do not decide like a judge would but help both parties come to an agreement.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is a mix between a mediated divorce and a standard divorce. Each party hires a lawyer that work together to settle the case. Each lawyer gets all the information from their party (legal information, financials, etc). The lawyers get together and discuss possible resolutions. If the decisions they come up with are opposed by either party, they will have to go to divorce court and hire new divorce attorneys.


With an arbitration divorce, a private judge is hired by both parties and makes a decision like a judge would. However, you must abide by his decision whereas you may be able to appeal with a judge.

Disclaimer: You may start out a divorce one way but it goes in another direction. In the steps below you will see how a contested divorce could go to a mediated divorce to a trial divorce.

The Steps to Divorce

Filing a petition

  1. There are two different things you can file for. You can at first file for a legal separation or just go for the outright divorce. Most states require you are separated, living and sleeping in different locations. This is different than legal separation.
    1.  Legal separation requires a petition from a divorce attorney to the courts when one spouse leaves the family residence. This agreement is meant to ensure that both parties and any possible children are protected. Some states outlaw legal separation, and in that case you can request a hearing as to why you’d want a legal separation. There are certain benefits to doing a legal separation, which can range from not being sure you want a divorce to wanting to keep the benefits of the marriage. Check out some of the benefits here at liveabout.com
    2. If you decide to get a divorce, you must start the process with a document called the “Original Petition for Divorce” and you would file that with your local court clerk. In this petition should also be listed any relief the party feels they are owed. You also must list a reason you are file for divorce. Even if both parties want the divorce, one person must actually file for divorce, and that person will be known as the petitioner and the other is the respondent. The petition is then served to the respondent, and once they are served they have 30 days to hire a divorce attorney and respond to the divorce. Here is where Liveabout.com states,

“Either party may ask for restraining orders, protective orders, or temporary orders pertaining to child support and alimony.”

Tip to remember: If you are filing for divorce, make sure to do it in your state of residence. Some states have adopted the Uniform Divorce Recognition Act, which requires the filing to be in the state where both parties reside. If you state has this policy and you file in another state, your state of resident won’t recognize the divorce.

Image result for kirbo law firmTemporary Divorce Orders

Once the petition is dealt with, the court can issue orders that are temporary as an outline for actions that must be taken until the last divorce hearing. This is usually done for the needs of the spouses. If one spouse depends on the other for money to pay the bills or for time to take care of the kids, then the court will order that a certain amount is paid or that the children are taken care of. These temporary orders are usually completed within a few days and lasts until the last court hearing. If the person filing the temporary order is also the person filing the petition, these can be done at the same time. Some examples of what might be requested are,

1. “Request for temporary custody of minor children and for temporary child support

2. Request for exclusive use of the marital home

3. Request for exclusive use of motor vehicle

4. Request for injunction to make sure health insurance isn’t canceled

5. Request for injunction to make sure neither party can access a joint investment/brokerage account until the further order of the court

6. Request for award of attorney’s fees, meaning one spouse pays the other’s fees

7. Request for spousal support or alimony“

Service of Process

The person who files for divorce needs to also file for a document that shows that a copy of the divorce petition was given to the other party, this document is known as a Service of Process. Two common ways to do this are to have the Service arranged to go to the other parties divorce attorney, while the other way is having a process server giving it to the spouses place of employment. The latter is usually considered rude.

Negotiations, Responses,and Discovery

Once the other party receives the service of process, they need to file a response to the petition. If a divorce was filed for on grounds the other party doesn’t agree with, they may dispute those grounds in response and come back with a defense. There is also the “Discovery” portion of the process. Discovery is the time to gather information about either parties in the divorce. During this time, divorce attorneys for both parties will request a list of items from the other party that must be responded to within 30 days. There is a list of questions sent to the opposing side that must be answered, as well as a list of written facts that the party receiving must either admit or deny. This is also where a person will respond with what they feel they deserve in regards to property, financial support, child custody, or other issues.

Note: When child custody is involved, a custody petition must be filed separately from the divorce filing itself. Remember to make the best interest of the child the priority here.

Request for Production

  1. This is the part used to gather documents from the respective parties that could be statements of income, bank statements, etc. This is often a place that delays the divorce process as people have trouble giving out their personal information. However the party who receives a request for production must respond with the documents in 30 days.
  2. If two parties are having a hard time negotiating custody of the children, often the court orders mediation, the help of a social worker, or other court employees to represent the children.


Each party will give the other parties divorce attorney a sworn testimony. They will also take testimonies from witnesses to the marriage. You have to be careful here because anything said during this deposition may be used in court if the negotiations don’t have a resolution and both parties end up in divorce court. If you do end up going to trial, the divorce will last longer and cost more money. It’s always advised to try to not go to trial.

Divorce Mediation

First you will go to divorce mediation before having to go to court. Both parties and their divorce attorneys come together to discuss conflicts and negotiations and try to come to a conclusion. There is another divorce attorney present, which is a court appointed “mediator.” He is there to be in the middle of the two parties.


In the case of the mediation failing, you will go to trial or divorce court. Both parties argue their case before a judge. You should always discuss what you will say and your strategy with your divorce attorney. After the trial, the judge will make a decision based on both testimonies and usually give a response within two weeks. If there is no response in that time, you should contact your divorce attorney.


  1. Once the judge makes a decision, both divorce parties will have to sign a document including the final decision of the divorce. This is called the Order of Dissolution. Read the document line by line and decide if there’s anything you’d like to change and you can request it. Pay attention to the wording, loopholes exist.
  2. If you are still unhappy with the outcome, you may file a motion to appeal the order and try again. You will be given the same judge in that hearing though and you rarely will get approved to go to trial again. If you still feel that strongly about it, you can file an appeal with the state appellate court.
  3. Remember, quick divorces can be common if there are no children or marital assets to split. However, when children and assets are involved, you shouldn’t be surprised if it takes longer than you’d like. It’s a lot of back and forth paperwork and negotiations with someone you’re trying to divorce. It may take a few months. Hopefully each party is reasonable and that’s all it takes.

That’s All You Need

Going through a divorce can be a difficult, tedious and heartbreaking process. That’s why you should hire the best Moultrie lawyers who will do everything they can to make it a quick and seamless process that results in your best interest. Here at Kirbo Law Firm, we want to do that for you. Contact us now if you have any questions or are looking for a divorce attorney in Moultrie, Georgia.

Phone: (229) 985-1955   Fax: (229) 890-2487

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Family Law

What Exactly Is Family Law?

The term “Family Law” sounds pretty broad. In it’s simplest definition, Family Law “deals with family-related issues and domestic relations” Most commonly, this is associated with issues relating to divorce and child custody. However, divorce is more a subset of family law, and there are many other fields and issues involved in it. So, what is covered by a Moultrie attorney that works in family law?


You already know divorce requires a divorce lawyer, but maybe you haven’t considered what work goes into the marriage in the first place. The main ways family law deals with marriage are:

  1. Marriage License
  2. Who Owns What?
  3. Prenuptial (Agreements about property, finances, and almost anything you can think of made before a marriage)
  4. Same Sex Marriage laws
  5. Age of Consent

In regards to the first three subjects, it would definitely be helpful to have a Moultrie Family Law Attorneys help.

Divorce and Alimony:

Getting divorced almost always involves divorce attorneys and divorce lawyers. For more information about what goes into a divorce, check out our other blog post here. Alimony is another subject related to divorce. Alimony occurs when one spouse is required to financially support the other spouse after a divorce takes place. This again, takes a lawyer of family law to handle.

Child Support & Custody:

Family lawyers and the court are involved in the calculating how much child support is owed, college expenses, medical expenses, and other financial decisions. They also are involved in deciding where the child will primarily reside. They try to make these decisions based on the best interest of the children regarding living arrangement and financial support.

Adoption & Fostering:

Our Moultrie family lawyers come into play here by guiding clients through the adoption process and determining if someone has the eligibility to adopt. Fostercare is even more complicated with the many issues foster children face. They have to determine foster parents want to foster for the right reasons and will be taken care of in their foster home.

Marital Property:

Marital Property goes hand in hand with marriage and divorce, and even the death of a spouse. Our Moultrie family lawyers deal with who owns what if one of these events occur.


Emancipation laws are set in place to help determine if a child is mature enough to live apart from their parents and to be independent. Family law helped establish the rights and privileges of a child who is successfully emancipated; such as the ability to enter into contracts and leases, keep money earned, get married, agree to medical treatments, and more. These rights can vary by state. A minor must file a petition with the court to begin this process.

Parental Rights:

Parental Rights range from liability of a parent’s child to the termination of rights for their child. Family Law makes parents responsible for non criminal yet malicious activity and damage done by their children. In regards to termination, the grounds for it may be found here. These rules were set in an effort to protect children. Of course a lawful proceeding by an attorney needs to take place before rights are terminated.


Paternity must be established sometime after the child is born, but if it’s not soon after it can lead to some complications. For example, if an absentee father leaves his hometown of Moultrie, Georgia, and then years later decides he wants to come back into his child’s life, he has to try to establish paternity first to have rights to the child. Other times, a man may want to challenge his own paternity to see if the child is really his. If a husband and wife have a child, the husband is presumed to be the father, but in the case of infidelity, he can challenge his rights to his child.

Domestic & Child Abuse:

Cases like these are handled in a criminal court but also involve family law intervention as well. Family Law deals specifically with laws by state defining what child abuse is and laws regarding reporting possible abuse cases. There is a list of people who are required by law to report suspicion of abuse.

Reproductive Rights:

Reproductive Rights revolve around an individuals right to reproduce and maintain good reproductive health. Laws regarding birth control, abortion, artificial insemination, and others are in this category and are regulated on state level and change quite frequently. Family Law also involves the distribution of reproductive information in schools.

We’re Here To Help

Here at Kirbo Law Firm, we’re dedicated to protecting your rights. Any one of these issues is sensitive, if you’re going through one of them  you deserve strong representation and a firm that cares. Contact our Moultrie Family Lawyers today if you’re in need of help.

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