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Subject matter areas of family law


Family law is the name given to the branch of civil law that a family lawyer or a family attorney covers including the legal relationships among family members, including husbands, wives, parents, children, and domestic partners. Roland Mumford, a family law attorney, specializes in the family law relationships which encompass the following:




The term divorce refers to the dissolution or the legal end of a marriage. Georgia has its own requirements governing when a divorce may be granted, including a residency requirement and grounds or a reason for the divorce. There are both fault-based and no-fault based grounds for divorce. One common ground is “irreconcilable differences.” The state of Georgia has specific statutes with respect to the division of the marital property, alimony, child custody and visitation, and child support.




Child custody refers to custodial awards or determinations involving a minor child. These determinations involve who has the right to make decisions about the child, or legal custody, including decisions about education, religion, medical issues, and discipline, as well as where the child will live, or physical custody. With “sole custody”, you alone have legal and physical custody of your child. In a “joint custody” arrangement, you and your ex-spouse share legal and/or physical child custody. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, a court will likely make a child custody decision based on the “best interests of your child.”




Child support payment is a court-ordered amount that the non-custodial parent must pay to the custodial parent to cover a proportionate amount of the child’s expenses, including housing and utilities, food, clothing, education expenses, and other costs. Both parents have an obligation to support their children, both before and after a divorce. Georgia statutes set out guidelines as to how courts calculate child support payment, and child support orders may be modified only by another court order. Roland Mumford, as a child support lawyer, will be able to answer any child support payment questions including the strict adherence to child support guidelines.




Domestic violence law and the term “domestic violence” usually refers to crimes involving domestic abuse, such as child abuse and child neglect, spousal abuse or domestic-partner abuse, and elder abuse. Domestic abuse isn’t just physical; it also covers the threats, emotional abuse, harassment, and stalking that a spouse, partner, or date uses to control someone else’s behavior. The abuse can be directed against anyone: children, former partners, roommates, and parents, but it is most typically directed against women. Domestic violence is a crime in all 50 states. However, in addition to cooperating with the prosecution of criminal charges, the victim of domestic violence can file civil charges.




Guardianship or conservatorship is a legal relationship between a competent adult or “guardian” and a person who is no longer able to make his own responsible decisions or “ward.” such as the legal guardianship of a minor child. The legal guardianship is appointed by a court and can be authorized to make legal, financial, and health care decisions for the ward. The guardian must regularly report to the court and may be removed if he or she does not adequately take care of the ward and adhere to the guardianship law, and conservatorship law regulations.




Paternity is the legal acknowledgment of a parental relationship between a father and his child. A child born to a wife during a marriage is legally presumed to be the husband’s child, but this presumption can be rebutted with evidence to the contrary. A determination of paternity for putative fathers can be established through a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, a court petition, or estoppel over time. Scientific evidence, such as blood and DNA tests, is used to establish or deny parentage of a child in paternity suits. Once paternity is established, a child is entitled to the legal rights of a child born within a marriage, including support from both parents, medical and life insurance coverage, and inheritance protection.




In a marriage of relatively brief duration (under five years), the courts most often assume that:


  • Each party has kept the same ability to support themselves from prior to the marriage.

  • While some brief adjustment period may be needed, each spouse should be expected to be substantially independent and self-supporting within a short time after the divorce. This assumes that each party can simply continue in, or reenter, the workforce as a full-time employee on short notice. This is an assumption that is unrealistic if one of the parties is required to provide primary care for a child (or children) of the marriage.



In a marriage of longer duration, extended spousal support (and in some cases even lifetime alimony) may be appropriate. A court calculating alimony in these cases will usually take into consideration:


  • The receiving spouse’s assumed earning capacity

  • The property and debts received by each spouse

  • The physical and mental health of the receiving spouse

  • Any disparity in earning capacity of the spouses





Visitation is the legal term for the right of a non-custodial parent to visit with their children. Typically, the non-custodial spouse has legal visitation rights to child visitation or parenting time unless the family court finds that visitation is not in the best interest of the child. Tennessee statutes offer courts discretion in their approach to visitation and child visitation rights; although, it generally consists of alternating weekends and some holidays. The amount of time and visitation schedule is stated in the final divorce agreement and may be modified by further court order.

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