I need to learn about a QDRO

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jun 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (the QDRO) are the way that many retirement accounts and pensions are divided in a divorce. Many times, in a long-duration marriage like yours, a spouse is entitled to a portion of the other spouse’s pension. Generally, the longer the marriage, the greater the share of the pension the spouse is entitled to. Of course, retirement accounts and pensions can be quite valuable and therefore they can be highly sought-after.

My fiance is dead: What about child support for our kids?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jun 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

If there is not a will, the estate will go through the administration process according to state laws. This means that the assets will be distributed according to state statutes. It’s possible that his wife could actually inherit a large portion of his estate. In general, spouses who are still legally married but living apart are treated as married for purposes of splitting an estate. Unfortunately, as the fiancé, you will be entitled, most of the time, to almost nothing. You won’t be able to do such things as close his accounts or transfer his titles to yourself. Since you never married, the Georgia Department of Driver Services or bank will not allow that. The children, however, could share in his estate. As for child support for the other child, his child support obligation ended at his death. Neither the child support or college costs will be taken out of his estate. However, this child and your children (as long as they are your fiancé’s children) could be entitled to a part of his estate.

Where should I do my community service for DUI?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jun 01, 2017 | 0 Comments

Community service should be done at a legitimate charity, which is a not-for-profit. Only community service done at a charity is acceptable to the court, which will not accept any other community service. We’re glad you asked about volunteering at Goodwill. Goodwill is not accepted by the court because it is not a non-profit. To determine if a charity is non-profit and acceptable for the court, ask if the charity is a 501(c) (3), that’s the legal designation for a charitable organization. If it isn’t, find another place to perform community service.

Child Visitation: But he drinks, does drugs and has a criminal record

Posted by William H. Sherman | May 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

It is actually rare for visitation to be denied totally. Even for people who have battled alcohol and/or drugs and gotten into trouble with the law, a complete denial of visitation is rare. However, the court may order that visitation be supervised by a third-party or that it is in a public place. That is to ensure the safety and well-being of the child. In some cases, a professional “supervisor” must be used for visitation. The supervisor is there to make sure that everything stays calm during the visit and that the child is protected. It is up to the court to determine visitation if the parties can’t come to an agreement. The court will weigh the evidence presented and determine the parameters of visitation, just like it is up to a judge to award custody.

Marriage Counseling, Therapy & Divorce

Posted by William H. Sherman | May 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

Taking any action to better yourself is essentially taking action to better your marriage. This will not make you look bad to the judge. You are taking responsibility and improving yourself. Taking any action to better yourself is essentially taking action to better your marriage. This will not make you look bad to the judge. You are taking responsibility and improving yourself. Also, having a mental illness does not make you an unfit partner or father. Not handling and treating your mental illness can make it hard to be good partner, however. Many people believe that judges will think there is something “wrong” with them if they are attending counselling, but the truth is, there is nothing “wrong” with getting counselling. Counselling is a very effective way to mend relationships and work out personal issues. In fact, it is a useful tool for many people facing challenges or for those who are dealing with major life events and experiencing martial problems. Also, having a mental illness does not make you an unfit partner or father. Not handling and treating your mental illness can make it hard to be good partner, however. Many people believe that judges will think there is something “wrong” with them if they are attending counselling, but the truth is, there is nothing “wrong” with getting counselling. Counselling is a very effective way to mend relationships and work out personal issues. In fact, it is a useful tool for many people facing challenges or for those who are dealing with major life events and experiencing martial problems.

I'm a "weekend warrior" and I got a DUI

Posted by William H. Sherman | May 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

We’ve handled many DUI cases for weekend warriors, the type of person who might not drink at all during the week, but on weekends they let loose, and that could mean consuming alcohol and possibly doing drugs. Unfortunately, the judge and prosecutor do not care if you think being weekend warrior is “cool.” They do not care if you only drink on the weekend. In fact, I recently saw a police advertising billboard on GA400 that has little but the quote, “I only did it for the weekend,” on it. This is a statement police officers and judges hear often. They hear it so much that hearing it can make them become annoyed and believe you are not taking responsibility for your actions.

DUI: I didn't think it had alcohol

Posted by William H. Sherman | May 04, 2017 | 0 Comments

Saying that you thought what you drank didn’t contain alcohol is not a good legal defense. Under Georgia law, it does not matter what you thought you drank or how much you drank. The law provides that if you are a “less safe driver” due to the ingestion of any substance, including alcohol and drugs, you can be convicted of DUI. So even if a person doesn’t realize that they drank alcohol, it doesn’t matter under the law. In your case, with a high blood-alcohol concentration (.176 and .172 are both over twice the legal limit), your explanation is unlikely to work because it is unlikely to be believed. It might be different, however, if your BAC (blood-alcohol concentration) was lower. In that case, if presented by a Forsyth County DUI lawyer in a proper context, a prosecutor and judge may have some sympathy for your situation.

Alimony: I had an affair

Posted by William H. Sherman | Apr 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

Under Georgia law, having an extramarital relationship can prevent alimony from being paid. This is a long-standing fact of Georgia law. If a man can prove that his wife had an affair, that can prevent the payment of alimony, even in a very long marriage. But remember, it has to be proven that the other party had an affair. That is not necessarily so easy to do. But of course, it can be done. The proof can be from text messages, emails, pictures or Facebook messages. There are actually numerous ways to demonstrate an affair. We have hired private detectives to prove infidelity. And sometimes the proof is obvious. We’ve seen a party to a divorce move in with a boyfriend and have a baby. That’s obvious infidelity. But just because someone has had an affair does not mean they won’t get some sort of alimony. We’ve had cases where cheating could be proven easily, but the other party, for various reasons, was fine paying some amount of alimony. He could have said no to any alimony, but he wanted his ex-wife to get some financial support. As a Cumming divorce lawyer, I can tell you each case is different.

I got a DUI after playing beer pong

Posted by William H. Sherman | Apr 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

Since a charge of DUI does not require any intent under Georgia law, your explanation that you were not trying to become intoxicated, merely win a game of beer pong, is not a valid legal defense. Beer pong is a very popular drinking game and we have had a number of clients who were arrested for drunk driving after playing. The fact that someone became intoxicated playing a game, watching a movie or T.V. or while enjoying a meal or at a party are not defenses. Indeed, the only thing that Georgia law is concerned with is if a motorist is a less safe driver because he or she consumed alcohol or took drugs (and that includes prescription drugs).

Divorce: My Husband won't treat his mental illness

Posted by William H. Sherman | Apr 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

When people fail to take their prescription medications, there can be behavioral problems that, in many cases, cause the deterioration of a marriage. So we have certainly dealt with your problem before. And as more Americans utilize prescription meds, there will be even more cases like yours. Common issues in a divorce include child custody, child support and alimony. If your husband is not fit to be around the children when he isn’t taking his meds, that can definitely influence child custody. A judge wants to do what’s in the best interest of the child, and if your husband is making derogatory comments to your kids, then a judge would base a custody decision, at least in part, on his nasty and hurtful statements. Someone making the statements you describe should not necessarily be around impressionable young people. As for his pension and 401 (k), those are often sources of negotiation in a divorce. Sometimes retirement accounts can have a lot of money, other times they have only a little. They can be split in many ways and we try to negotiate the best deal we can for our clients. To split many retirement accounts, you would need a QDRO. A QDRO (a Qualified Domestic Relations Order) needs to be drafted precisely and correctly or else it is not enforceable. We draft QDROs for clients when they are necessary.

Forsyth County DUI: I did the field sobriety tests

Posted by William H. Sherman | Mar 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

You were probably being videotaped because just about every Forsyth County patrol car is equipped with a video camera. “Looking bad” on a video of a DUI stop is something that can be addressed in several different ways. In your case, a recent traffic accident can cause physical issues that can make performing well on the field sobriety tests challenging. Of course, if you have physical limitations, completing the tests can be quite difficult. Your DUI lawyer needs to tell the prosecutor about the car accident. Besides injuries, other things, like the conditions of the ground upon which the tests are conducted can influence performance. If the tests are done on an incline, if the ground has holes or if the weather conditions are bad (it might have been raining, or it was very cold) then the results of the field sobriety tests could be called into questions.

QDRO: How pensions are divided in a divorce

Posted by William H. Sherman | Mar 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

In a divorce, a pension is divided using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, known as a QDRO. To split a pension you would need to have a QDRO in place. And it is very important that the QDRO is properly drafted. If it is not, there can be major problems in the future. Pensions are assets and are thus often the subjects of negotiation in divorces. Sometimes pensions can involve a large amount of money, other times they are only a small percentage of an individual’s assets. We have seen many situations where pensions are the subject of negotiations between divorcing spouses.

Can I have a jury trial for my DUI in the Sandy Springs Municipal Court?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Mar 05, 2017 | 0 Comments

A person charged with a DUI in Georgia can elect to have a trial. They can have either a jury trial or a “bench trial,” which is a trial in front of a judge. With a jury trial, a jury determines guilt or innocence. With a bench trial, guilt or innocence is determined solely by a judge. You cannot have a jury trial in Sandy Springs. Sandy Springs has a municipal court, and jury trials are not available in municipal courts. Jury trials are only available to a defendant in state court or superior court. In your case, you can elect to have a jury trial, and that trial would be held at the Fulton County State Court in Atlanta. To have a jury trial, you would have to “bind-over” your case from the Sandy Springs Municipal Court to the Fulton County State Court.

Do I have to pay child support even if we were not married?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Mar 01, 2017 | 0 Comments

It does not matter that you were not married to the woman; you still have to pay child support for your child under Georgia law. It also does not matter that your relationship was very brief. The length of a relationship is not relevant. If you are the father of a child, you have to pay child support. To determine your child support obligation, we would need to complete the “child support worksheet.” The child support worksheet, which is created by the Georgia Child Support Commission, incorporates the guidelines used to determine child support in Georgia. The guidelines involve issues like gross income, the cost of children’s health insurance, childcare expenses and extracurricular activities, among others. You certainly need a Georgia child support lawyer who works with these guidelines regularly to help determine what your obligation could be.

QDRO: What about my 401 (k)?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Feb 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

To apportion a 401 (k) after a divorce the parties would use a QDRO (a Qualified Domestic Relations Order). A 401(k) is a very popular retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. It is tax-advantaged because it lets workers save and invest a piece of their paycheck before taxes are taken out. Taxes aren't paid until the money is withdrawn from the account in the future for retirement. In a divorce, it is commonplace to negotiate a split of the 401 (k). Sometimes it is split equally, other times it is not and the money is divided between the parties pursuant to a negotiation (for example it is divided 60/40 or 70/30 or 80/20). The division of the 401 (k) is determined by the parties and their divorce lawyers. However the 401 (k) is split, a QDRO is necessary to do it.

DUI: I didn't think I'd get drunk because I was eating

Posted by William H. Sherman | Feb 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

Eating food while you drink does slow down the alcohol getting into the bloodstream. But it doesn’t prevent it. So you will feel the effects of the alcohol, and it will register on “blood-alcohol tests,” although it may be delayed. On an empty stomach, the alcohol moves quickly through the stomach, kidneys, lungs, liver, and the brain. With food, in your stomach, the progression slows down. If you drink on an empty stomach, you will become intoxicated more quickly than if you had been eating. Again, just because you were eating doesn’t mean that the alcohol will have no impact on you. It will generally just take a longer time for the alcohol to be absorbed into your blood stream.

Do I need a divorce lawyer?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Feb 08, 2017 | 0 Comments

If you are getting divorced you should hire a good divorce lawyer. An attorney can guide you through Georgia’s complex divorce law and advise you on such important issues as child custody, child support, alimony, as well as the valuation of assets and how to best split up marital debts. Every day we get calls from people who tried to do their divorce themselves, without hiring an attorney, and made mistakes that came back to haunt them. And these errors are often very costly financially. They can also impact a person’s ability to spend time with their children. The best time to contact a divorce lawyer is before a divorce is even filed. That way you can discuss the best tactics and strategies to get the best results possible for your situation. But if you’ve been served with a divorce action, you definitely need to speak with a divorce attorney immediately.

I got a DUI in Alpharetta, but I live in another state

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jan 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

We have helped many out-of-sate clients with DUI charges in Alpharetta. Many times we can negotiate with the prosecutor and have the prosecutor approve of a “call-in/write-in” probation. And then we make the request to the judge and the probation officer. That enables our client to not have to come back to Alpharetta for probation. They just check-in with their probation officer over the phone and via the mail. They save a lot of time and money. Many times a client can complete all of their probation requirements in the other jurisdiction and not have to do them in Georgia. They can complete community service, DUI School and other probation conditions in their home state.

Divorce: Can I keep the money in my retirement accounts by filing bankruptcy

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jan 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

In many divorce situations, retirement accounts become parts of the negotiation. They can be valuable assets that both parties want. Sometimes, depending upon the type of account involved, a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is used to split a retirement plan or pension. Filing bankruptcy, however, will have no impact on the division of retirement accounts or a pension in a divorce. While retirement accounts are exempt under the bankruptcy laws, filing bankruptcy will not help you protect those accounts in a divorce, as your spouse may have a claim to some of the benefits. You seem to be mixing-up the bankruptcy and divorce laws. Please call us and we can discuss the best ways for you to handle your retirement accounts in a divorce situation.

Sandy Springs DUI: I really don't want a DUI

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jan 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

Just telling the prosecutor and judge you don’t want a DUI is really not the way to best handle the case. It isn’t a thoughtful, smart and winning defense to the charge. Obviously, no one wants a DUI, but the way to prepare for it is to hire a Sandy Springs DUI lawyer who knows the best strategies to use and is familiar with the prosecutors and the judge. The defense of any DUI case involves gathering as much information as possible about the arrest. We want to know information including why the car was stopped, how our client looked on the field sobriety tests and what the BAC of the blood or breath test was. The police must, under Georgia law, follow certain protocols and procedures for a proper DUI arrest. We make sure that they are followed.

Will I have to go to jail for a Woodstock, GA, DUI?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jan 09, 2017 | 0 Comments

First of all, the city of Woodstock does not have a jail. Woodstock inmates are housed in the Cherokee County Jail. As for how much jail time you may have to serve, that depends on a number of factors. You write that this is your third DUI arrest. But we would like to know when the other arrests were. When were your first and second DUI arrests? The longer back in time the better. If they are both from, say, 20 years ago, that is certainly better than if they were from 2 years ago. Technically, Georgia has a 10-year look-back period for previous DUI arrests. Then again, maybe there is a major flaw in the prosecution’s case and the DUI charge will be dropped or reduced. To make an assessment of your case, we need to do an investigation that includes thoroughly reviewing the police report and the video of your stop and arrest.

I need a paternity lawyer in Atlanta

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jan 08, 2017 | 0 Comments

The good news is that paternity can be easily determined with a DNA test. A DNA test is extremely accurate and is used throughout the United States to prove paternity. A DNA test works because we all inherit our DNA from our biological parents. Half comes from our mother and half from our father. Simply put, a DNA paternity test compares a child’s DNA pattern with that of the alleged father to determine if there is a match. When done properly, the test is about 100% accurate. Of course, if you are proven to be the father, then you will be ordered to pay child support. But if you are not the father, then you would have no child support obligation under the laws of Georgia.

Divorce: Financial infidelity in Sandy Springs

Posted by William H. Sherman | Dec 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

Financial infidelity is a major cause of divorce. When a spouse feels that the other spouse has been dishonest, it can cause a severe rupture in the relationship. We have had many cases where a spouse secretly opens credit card cards in the other spouse’s name or takes loans from banks, credit unions or finance companies by forging the other spouse’s name. Not only can these actions cause divorce, but they may also be illegal. Forgery, of course, is a crime. Sometimes the debt that has been charged has to be divided in the divorce and is paid back over a number of years. Or sometimes the debt can be a negotiating point in the divorce. With the prevalence of credit cards and other debt instruments, we as divorce lawyers see financial infidelity on the rise.

DUI: What about blood tests?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Dec 22, 2016 | 0 Comments

Blood tests are considered the most accurate method of measuring blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Usually taken at a hospital or a police station, a blood test is admissible as evidence under Georgia law. The analysis of the blood is done at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Division of Forensic Sciences lab. There are 7 lab locations throughout Georgia. If a person doesn’t agree to take a blood test, an officer can try to get a warrant for a blood test. With a valid warrant signed by a judge, the police can forcibly take your blood. Since the body metabolizes alcohol at a steady rate after drinking, the time that passes between drinking and collecting the blood sample will affect the results. Therefore, the police want to have the test conducted as quickly as possible from the time of a driving incident.

DUI: I wasn't drunk, I was just sleepy

Posted by William H. Sherman | Dec 11, 2016 | 0 Comments

Being sleep deprived can impact a person’s coordination, balance and general appearance. If you haven’t slept in a while, you certainly can appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Academic studies have shown that exhibiting signs of being tired can cause some people to think that an individual is drunk. Interestingly, there is a sleep disorder known as “confusional arousal” that may affect as much as 1 in 7 Americans. This disorder can lead to confused or inappropriate behavior — such as answering the phone when an alarm goes off — or sometimes even violence. It seems to occur when someone is woken suddenly. They are startled being awake and can exhibit strange behaviors. So there is definitely a basis to believe that a law enforcement officer may think that someone is intoxicated when that person is simply very tired.

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