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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


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Types of Custody Resource

Deciding Factors Resource

Additional Resource

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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