Domestic & Family Law
Legal Attorney for Domestic & Family Law Cases
Hello, I am William Henry Clerke IV. As an experienced Marietta family law attorney in Georgia, I offer premium, professional and personalized services in all areas of family law. I have extensive experience representing a diverse client base of mothers, fathers, husbands, and wives. Through this widespread representation, I have developed an understanding of the varied perspectives involved in family law and applied this knowledge to your unique situation.
While the issues surrounding many family law cases are complex, they do not need to be confrontational. I understand that anyone faced with a divorce, child custody case, or other family law issue is dealing with high emotions and uncertainty in their future. I make it my mission to protect your legal rights while minimizing unnecessary conflict and distress.
I am available to represent clients throughout the state of Georgia, in addition to members of the military and clients living out of state or abroad. I specialize in the following categories of family law.
If you are seeking representation from an experienced Marietta, Georgia Family Law Attorney, feel free to contact me today at (770) 612-0909 or complete the contact form provided on this site to schedule your free consultation.
Common Types of Family Law Cases
A divorce is one of the most stressful events any individual will face throughout their life. I have a non-judgmental yet aggressive approach when handling divorce cases for my clients. My primary goal is to enforce your legal rights and prevail in your representation, regardless of the circumstances initiating the divorce.
A court of law is the only entity that can grant a divorce decree, dissolution, legal separation, nullity, or other forms of terminating a marriage. In addition to the termination of the marital estate, the court also has jurisdiction to resolve residual issues relating to the existing marriage which include, but are not limited to custody and visitation rights, division of property of the marital estate, spousal support, child support, restraining orders, etc.
The area of property and debit division is one that can be complicated, and you must hire a competent attorney to assess your particular situation. With over 20 years of experience and acute attention to detail, I can analyze your case and ensure that you receive everything you are entitled to.
Any property acquired during a marriage, regardless of whose name it is under, is eligible to be divided. Marital property can include items such as real estate (including a home bought in contemplation of marriage), pension plans, vehicles, bank accounts, income tax refunds, and household furnishings. In contrast, property inherited by one spouse is not defined as marital property. The most common examples are a family business or an estate.
In circumstances where you are contractually bound with your ex-spouse on a debt, a creditor can seek the payment of that debt in full from your share of the marital property even if the divorce decree assigns the debt to your ex-spouse. Certain support obligations may be deemed non-dischargeable by a bankruptcy court or in state court, depending on the terms of your divorce decree.
A prenuptial or premarital agreement (often referred to as a “prenup”) is a written contract created by two individuals before their marriage. This agreement lays out all individually owned property such as homes and businesses, family assets, stocks and bonds, savings accounts as well as debts.
It specifies what will and will not remain individually owned property after the legalization of marriage. Prenuptial agreements also address whether spousal support will be paid in the event of a divorce, and the desired distribution of individually owned property upon death. Some states do not allow prenuptial agreements to modify or eliminate the right of a spouse to receive court-ordered alimony at divorce.
However, a prenuptial agreement can dictate a degree of compensation. One important factor that cannot be stipulated in a prenuptial agreement is child support. A couple cannot lawfully agree in a prenuptial agreement that either party will in no way be obligated to pay child support.
Custody typically refers to a combination of physical custody and legal custody. It is the charge and control of a child and includes the right to make all major decisions encompassing education, religious upbringing, training, health, and welfare. Multiple aspects influence the award of custody, and the accurate presentation of your court case is among the biggest factors assessed. If you are awarded the child or children as a primary custodial parent, you are directly responsible for the impact on their well-being and development.
Child support is a periodic payment made to a custodial parent from a non-custodial parent to help compensate a child’s living expenses, including food, clothes, shelter, and any other related debts. The obligation to provide support for minor children cannot be waived by either parent and is a right of the child, not the parent.
Every state has developed guidelines that determine the amount of child support a custodial parent is entitled to.These guidelines are derived from factors such as the amount of time spent with the child, the income of both parents, and the standard of living the child is to which the child is accustomed. The court may allow deductions to determine the final amount of child support owed in the event of catastrophic medical expenses or if travel expenses are required for visitation.
When one parent is awarded sole custody, the non-custodial parent is required to fulfill his or her child support obligation by making set payments. The custodial parent meets his or her support obligation through the custody itself. In the instance, when parents are awarded joint custody in a divorce, the support obligation is shared and calculated based on a ratio of each parents’ income and time spent with the child.
When a custodial parent wishes to relocate, the court requires that he or she give the other parent a pre-determined amount of notice before the potential move.This enables the non-custodial parent to address the court and request orders restraining the relocation of the child.
Since the adoption of the UCCJA (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act) by all 50 states, family law courts are required to defer jurisdiction to the home state of the child.This alleviates the problems that existed before the UCCJA, when parents would relocate to jurisdictions that favored their situation, trying to gain leverage in a custody tug-of-war.
Alimony is financial support paid from one separated spouse to the other. It can be either temporary or permanent and paid in one lump sum or installments depending on the circumstances of the situation. It is designed to provide the lower-income spouse with money for living expenses over and above the money provided by child support. It is determined at the discretion of the judge rather than state-sanctioned guidelines, as is the case with child support.
Judges take into consideration multiple factors when determining whether or not to grant alimony.This differs from state to state, but typically includes the parties’ relative ability to earn money both now and in the future, their respective age and health, the duration of the marriage, the type of property involved, and the conduct of the parties. Generally speaking, alimony is only awarded when one spouse has been economically dependent on the other for the majority of a lengthy marriage.
Adoption is the process in which a person or child becomes a legal member of a family different from their biological family. After the final order of adoption has been ruled by a court of law, the adoptive parents are granted the same rights and responsibilities as parents whose children are born to them.
The adopted child gains the same rights as birth children concerning inheritance, child support, and other legal matters. In the majority of U.S. jurisdictions at the time the adoption is finalized, the adopted child’s name is legally changed to reflect the inclusion into the new family, and the court orders the issuance of a new, amended birth certificate.
The philosophy of Divorce Mediation is to focus on solving problems, not fighting the fight. This alleviates the needles expense of litigation and circumvents distress placed on children of the separating couple. The process is voluntary, creating a non-threatening forum to allow the couple to build an agreement that is suitable for both parties’ financial and personal future.
Each participant makes an honest attempt to accommodate the needs of the other, without sacrificing their own. The strength of this process involves both parties to maximize their efforts, developing a collaborative solution cooperatively, thus avoiding a trial.
Legally establishing paternity can have a significant impact on divorce settlements, property division, child custody, child support, and the ability to relocate out of state. Paternity includes all matters related to proving the parentage of a child or children.
In the case of married couples, the paternity of a child is assumed to be the spouse, unless a court order or judgment is stating otherwise. Regarding unwed parents, paternity can be established by signing an Affidavit of Parentage or by filing a paternity action with the court. Determinations of paternity can also have a crucial impact on interstate conflict between unwed parents.
If you or a loved one is involved in a divorce or child custody case, you must seek the expert assistance of an experienced Marietta, Georgia Family Law Attorney. Contact me today at (770) 612-0909 , or complete the contact form provided on this site to schedule your free consultation.