Practice Areas

Practice Areas

  • Divorce
  • Alimony & Spousal Support
  • Child Custody & Visitation
  • Child Support
  • Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
  • Property Division
  • Grandparent's Custody & Visitation Rights

Divorce


Choosing to end your marriage by getting divorced is a difficult but often necessary course of action for many couples. Whether your divorce will be contested or uncontested, you need to seek reliable counsel. Our firm's Roswell divorce attorney, Allen Harris can help. Our ultimate goal is to guide you through your divorce and help you achieve the best outcome possible as efficiently as possible.


Ready for the next chapter of your life?


Individuals who choose to divorce will need to address matters such as property division, alimony, and child custody, support and visitation rights. When a couple is unable to come to an agreement, the court will decide these issues. Contested divorces are notorious for being difficult and challenging for both parties. Choose a divorce lawyer that can help you remain level-headed and counsel you so that you can make smart decisions for yourself and your family.


Allen Harris is qualified to handle your divorce case because:

  • He cares about every client that we represent.
  • He has more than 30 years of experience.
  • He is dedicated to the amicable resolution of your situation if possible, but is an experienced trial attorney ready to fight for your rights in court if necessary.
  • He provides you with knowledgeable counsel through the entire process.

Grounds for Divorce


Most divorces are granted on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If one party contends that there is no chance the parties can reconcile, a divorce can be granted on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken. 

Divorce may be, but is very rarely, granted on a fault ground. 


The following is a list of the fault grounds authorized in Georgia:

(1) Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity;

(2) Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage;

(3) Impotency at the time of the marriage;

(4) Force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage;

(5) Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the husband;

(6) Adultery in either of the parties after marriage;

(7) Willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year;

(8) The conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude, under which he is sentenced to imprisonment in a penal institution for a term of two years or longer;

(9) Habitual intoxication;

(10) Cruel treatment, which shall consist of the willful infliction of pain, bodily or mental, upon the complaining party, such as reasonably justifies apprehension of danger to life, limb, or health;

(11) Incurable mental illness. No divorce shall be granted upon this ground unless the mentally ill party has been adjudged mentally ill by a court of competent jurisdiction or has been certified to be mentally ill by two physicians who have personally examined the party; and he has been confined in an institution for the mentally ill or has been under continuous treatment for mental illness for a period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the action; and the superintendent or other chief executive officer of the institution and one competent physician appointed by the court, after a thorough examination, make a certified statement under oath that it is their opinion that the party evidences such a want of reason, memory, and intelligence as to prevent the party from comprehending the nature, duties, and consequences of the marriage relationship and that, in the light of present day medical knowledge, recovery of the party's mental health cannot be expected at any time during his life. Notice of the action must be served upon the guardian of the person of the mentally ill person and upon the superintendent or other chief executive officer of the institution in which the person is confined. In the event that there is no guardian of the person, then notice of the action shall be served upon a guardian ad litem, who shall be appointed by the court in which the divorce action is filed, and upon the superintendent or chief executive officer of the institution in which the person is confined. The guardian and superintendent shall be entitled to appear and be heard upon the issues. The status of the parties as to the support and maintenance of the mentally ill person shall not be altered in any way by the granting of the divorce; or

(12) Habitual drug addiction, which shall consist of addiction to any controlled substance as defined in Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 16.


Regardless of the reason that led to your divorce, you have the right to protect your rights as a parent, your assets and accustomed way of life. Our firm can help you safeguard your best interests throughout the entirety of your case and stand at your side every step of the way, even in court if necessary.


If you are considering filing for divorce or need assistance with your current divorce, please contact Harris Divorce & Family Law with a convenient office located in Roswell and serving all the Metro Atlanta counties.


Alimony in Georgia


How does the Court determine alimony?


Alimony is an award from one party for the support of the other when the parties are living separate. An award of alimony is made when appropriate in accordance with the needs of the party claiming a right to alimony and the other spouse’s ability to pay. Adultery and desertion may be asserted as a defense to the payment of alimony. 


In determining the amount of alimony, the court considers:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties
  • Assets of each party
  • Time needed for a party to acquire education or training
  • Contributions of each party to homemaking, child care and career building of other party
  • Condition of the parties, including the separate estate, earning capacity, and fixed liabilities and such other factors that may be equitable and proper

  

Whether you are involved in a messy divorce, or a peaceful separation, Harris Divorce & Family Law is ready and available to help you every step of the way. Each case and each client are very important to us, and we can exhaust all of our resources in order to find an effective plan of action and work to reach the desired outcome. 

 

With more than 30 years of experience, Allen Harris comes highly recommended from our long list of satisfied clients. His extensive knowledge, and experience can give you peace of mind as we work to achieve a favorable outcome on your behalf.


Call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss the details of your case.

    

Child Custody and Visitation in Georgia


How are child custody and visitation rights determined?


One of the most difficult and emotionally charged issues between couples filing for divorce is often the determination of custody. Child custody can be "sole," "joint," "joint legal," "joint physical" or some combination.

  • "Joint custody" means joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or both joint legal custody and joint physical custody. In making an order for joint custody, the judge may order joint legal custody without ordering joint physical custody.
  •  "Joint legal custody" means both parents have equal rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child, including the child's education, health care, extracurricular activities, and religious training; provided, however, that the judge may designate one parent to have sole power to make certain decisions while both parents retain equal rights and responsibilities for other decisions.
  •  "Joint physical custody" means that physical custody is shared by the parents in such a way as to assure the child of substantially equal time and contact with both parents.
  •  "Sole custody" means a person, including, but not limited to, a parent, has been awarded permanent custody of a child by a court order. Unless otherwise provided by court order, the person awarded sole custody of a child shall have the rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child, including the child's education, health care, extracurricular activities, and religious training, and the noncustodial parent shall have the right to visitation or parenting time. A person who has not been awarded custody of a child by court order shall not be considered as the sole legal custodian while exercising visitation rights or parenting time.


The judge, in the exercise of sound discretion, may look into all relevant facts and circumstances in determining what is in the best interest and welfare of the child or children. Both parents stand on equal footing, with there being no presumption in favor of the mother or father. Generally, judges consider it important for the children to have as much stability as possible. The courts take into consideration the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent. The mental health and physical health of each parent are factors the court may consider. The court will likely consider which parent has spent more time with the child or children and which parent is most involved in the children's activities. Any fact relevant to a determination of the best interests of the children may be considered during the court's inquiry.


The parents may agree as to all issues of custody, and the court will follow such agreement unless the court finds that such agreement is not in the best interests of the children.

When a child has reached the age of 14 years, the child shall have the right to select the parent with whom he or she desires to live. The child's selection for purposes of custody shall be presumptive, unless the parent so selected is determined not to be in the best interests of the child.

When the child has reached the age of 11 but not 14 years, the judge shall consider the desires and educational needs of the child in determining which parent shall have custody.


Child visitation rights are also determined by the court based on the best interests of the children, if the parties cannot agree. The courts generally believe that both parents should be substantially involved in the lives of the children. A Parenting Plan which details the custodial arrangement, visitation and other rights relating to the children is entered in all cases with minor children.


Whether you are involved in a messy divorce, or a peaceful separation, Harris Divorce & Family Law is ready and available to help you every step of the way. Each case and each client are very important to us, and we can exhaust all of our resources in order to find an effective plan of action and work to reach the desired outcome.


Child Support


Guidance in Child Support Matters in Georgia


How is child support determined in Georgia?


Child support laws have evolved over the years and have become more dependent on specific family situations. In Georgia, we use an income shares model that utilizes the income of both parents in arriving at the amount of child support. Child support worksheets are completed in each case that will provide a calculation of child support. 


In addition to the income of each party, the following factors may also be considered: 

  • Health insurance
  • Child care costs
  • Travel expenses involved in visitation
  • Mortgage payments
  • Medical expenses
  • Extra-curricular activities for the child
  • Other extraordinary expenses

At our firm, we are committed to each client's case and helping each family gather all the necessary documentation and evidence to build a solid and sound case before the court. No matter how messy your situation might be, we are here to help every step of the way. 


Feel free to contact Harris Divorce & Family Law to schedule an appointment.


  

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements


A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is not about distrust or impending divorce, it is about planning and protecting the financial future of both parties. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are commonly used to establish the financial obligations of the parties if the marriage is subsequently dissolved and can be entered into either during the marriage or after the marriage.


Who Should Enter into a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?


More couples are entering into prenuptial or postnuptial agreements simply because they do not want a court telling them how to divide their assets should they decide to separate. Whether a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is right for you depends on your unique situation. For example, if you are a young couple just starting out, will have about the same income during the marriage,  and will accumulate most of your assets during the marriage, a prenuptial agreement may not be right for you. 

However, you should certainly consider entering into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement if:

  • You own a business
  • Have significant assets
  • Have children or grandchildren from a previous marriage
  • Expect to receive a large inheritance
  • There is a significant difference between your income and that of your spouse 
  • You expect a sizable increase in income.

We understand that each person has a long list of questions and expectations that need to be addressed before they can make an informed decision as to whether or not a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is necessary for their unique situation.   


Harris Divorce & Family Law has extensive experience in drafting prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and is ready to address your concerns and answer your questions.


Property Division in Georgia


Georgia follows the doctrine of "equitable division of property" in determining how marital property will be divided. The purpose behind the doctrine of equitable division of property is to be sure that property accumulated during the marriage is "fairly" distributed between the parties. Equitable division does not necessarily mean that marital property will be distributed equally, (50/50) between the parties. The court or jury has wide latitude in determining what constitutes equitable division of property. Factors that are routinely considered include: (1) any prior marriage of either party; (2) the age, health, occupation, and vocational skills and employability of each party; (3) the contributions or services of each spouse to the family; (4) the conduct of either party during the marriage; and (5) the amount and sources of income, the estate, debts, liabilities, and needs of the parties as well as the opportunity of each to accumulate assets in the future by employment or otherwise. Many of the cases we handle involve substantial assets or closely held family businesses. 


Our attorneys have years of experience in helping value and divide assets including, but not limited to:

  • Business valuations
  • Retirement funds including IRAs, pension, 401(k)s, etc.
  • Investments including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.
  • Life insurance policies
  • Intellectual property
  • Physical property including homes, condos, timeshares, commercial property, furnishings, art, etc.
  • Vehicles
  • Trusts

Harris Divorce & Family Law has the knowledge, expertise, and resources needed to obtain the best possible result for you, whether by settlement, or trial, if necessary.

  

Grandparent’s Custody & Visitation Rights in Georgia


Grandparent’s Custody Rights

 

Grandparents may intervene in a divorce case and seek custody. To prevail in a custody case, a grandparent must show that an award of custody to a parent would harm the child. There is a presumption in favor of the parent. The harm that a grandparent must show to prevail in a custody case is either physical harm or significant long-term emotional harm; not merely social or economic disadvantages.


Grandparent’s Visitation Rights

 

A grandparent has a right to intervene and seek visitation rights in a case concerning divorce of the parents or a parent of the child. Grandparents cannot bring an action for visitation when the parents are not separated, and the child is living with both parents. In cases in which the child is not living with both parents, the court can grant grandparents reasonable visitation if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the health and/or welfare of the child would be harmed unless such visitation is granted.


Allen Harris has knowledge, experience and expertise in handling cases involving grandparent’s custody and visitation rights.

Our Approach

Our law firm strives to help the client understand and navigate the family law process. We recognize that at times this can be a very emotional experience. We will help you through these procedures with dignity and respect. We fully appreciate the value of mediation and negotiation as a way of our clients taking charge of the outcomes of their cases. We recognize the benefits of resolving issues in a manner that limits the natural contentiousness associated with litigation. We are always zealous advocates for our clients.

Legacy of Success

Allen Harris and Harris Divorce & Family Law Firm has been working  for 30+ years and has a proven track record of success. We use that experience to help you down a path to the results you need. See what past clients have said and then schedule your free consultation today.

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Our Team

Allen F. Harris

Allen Harris draws on his decades of experience in family law to provide Georgia families with knowledgeable legal guidance through complex situations.  From divorce and child custody to alimony and prenuptial agreements, Allen F. Harris focuses on providing compassionate counsel, while zealously advocating on behalf of his clients.


[Divorce Attorney/Divorce Lawyer]

Allen F. Harris - Super Lawyers

Experienced Legal Counsel

Whether the client's goal is to protect assets, assure a fair division of assets or protect the best interests of children, Harris Divorce & Family Law attorneys will create a case-specific strategy to help achieve the desired goals.  Harris Divorce & Family Law has years of experience in high-asset cases.



Paralegal

Our paralegal and office manager will work directly with you to get you in contact with the services that you need.