Family Law Workshops in Cobb County, Georgia

Some individuals do not have the desire or ability to hire a lawyer to represent them in a traditional fashion, but they may need legal help with a particular issue or portion of their case. 
The Cobb County Bar Association’s Family Law and Younger Lawyers Sections have worked together to provide a number of attorneys who will offer specific, limited legal services at set rates.  Information on this type of legal assistance will be provided to workshop participants. 

This workshop will assist you with the following case types:
* Divorce            * Paternity/Legitimation            
*Contempt         * Modification

Navigating through the legal system can be extremely difficult.  Each case is individualized by its own set of facts; however, there are some basic rules that all cases must follow which this workshop will address. 
No workshop can teach you everything you need to know about representing yourself in any legal action, but this workshop is designed to answer some of the basic questions you may have:
    What information do I need in order to file?   
    Are there mandatory forms that I need?
    How do I schedule my case for a hearing ?       
    What are the operating  procedures of the Court?

Forms for these case types will be available for purchase at the seminar. 
The cost for the forms are $15.00 per packet. Cash Only—Exact Change Required

For further information, please call the ADR office at (770) 528-1812.

2007 Schedule
Date
Time
Thursday, November 8th, 2007 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.



The location for all classes will be:

Cobb County Superior Court Building
(Building "D" 6th floor Jury Assembly Room)
30 Waddell Street
Marietta, GA 30090-9642
Driving Directions | Marietta Square Map

Parking is provided in the jury parking lot on the north end of Waddell St.

SOURCE: Clerk of Superior Court of Cobb County

Georgia man, a former judge, jailed in NYC for not paying child support

A disgraced former judge was taken from a courtroom in handcuffs and jailed Thursday after being arrested on a warrant because he has failed to pay more than $250,000 in child support.

The arrest warrant for the former Brooklyn judge, Reynold Mason, now of Hampton, Ga., was valid, Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Joan Lobis said.

"At this point I have no alternative but to direct that the order of arrest be executed," Lobis said.

Several people in court with Mason’s former wife, Tessa Abrams Mason, cheered when Lobis ordered sheriff’s deputies to jail Mason.

Abrams Mason said she was very surprised that her ex-husband had shown up.

Mason, a native of Grenada and reportedly the first Caribbean-born judge on the Brooklyn Civil Court, was elected in 1994. He was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1997. Soon afterward, he left his pregnant wife and their two children, Abrams Mason said, and she has been chasing him for child support since.

Abrams Mason, 47, said she married Mason, 57, in 1993. She said they separated in 1997 and divorced in 2004.

In 2003, Mason was kicked off the bench after the state Commission on Judicial Conduct found that the former landlord-tenant lawyer had improperly taken money from a client’s escrow account.

Abrams Mason and their children — a daughter, 16, and two sons, 14, and 9 — live off monthly workers’ compensation she gets after being injured on the job at Wal-Mart. Outside court, she showed an eviction notice she said she got Thursday.

Abrams Mason said she believes her ex-husband, now a real estate broker in Georgia, owes her about $267,000. She said she was surprised and disappointed that he went to court apparently with no intention of paying anything.

Her lawyer, Robert Z. Dobrish, said she had received child support payments totaling a few hundred dollars over the past couple of years.

Dobrish said Mason can spring himself from jail if he comes up with even a fraction of what he owes and a plan to pay the rest. He said Abrams Mason believes her ex-husband has hidden assets.

Mason’s lawyer, Homer Richardson, told the Manhattan judge his client had tried everything he could to raise some of the money he owes, including reaching out to friends and relatives for loans, but had failed.

Richardson said outside court later that his client, "a very depressed man," was arrested because he failed to follow up on his Jan. 5 application in a Brooklyn court requesting a reduction in $2,600 monthly child support payments.

SOURCE: Fulton County Daily Report

Enforcing Child Support

There are a number of legal actions you can consider if the parent that does not have custody (the "non-custodial parent") is not paying the child support that the court ordered, including:

File a "Contempt Action" in Court.
A parent who is behind in child support is in contempt of the court order. He or she can be ordered to pay what is owed (including the legal costs you have to pay to file the contempt action). The contempt action must be filed in the court that ordered the child support to be paid.

Get an Income Deduction Order.
An Income Deduction Order is the most effective way to collect child support. This orders the non-custodial parent’s employer to withhold the amount of child support from that parent’s paycheck. If you already have a child support order and it does not contain a paragraph about income deduction, you can go back to court and get the language in the court order changed if the other parent is behind in child support payments for more than the amount of one month’s support.

Contact Child Support Enforcement.
The Georgia Department of Human Resources has a Child Support Enforcement Division ("CSE"). CSE can help you get the court order enforced. CSE can also help you get a portion of the non-custodial parent’s tax refund if you request it by August of each year.

If the absent parent is receiving workers’ compensation benefits, CSE can contact the Workers’ Compensation Board, get information about the case and pursue collection of child support through garnishment of that parent’s Workers Compensation benefits. CSE can also collect child support from the absent parent’s unemployment compensation.  O.C.G.A. § 34-8-198.

Get a lien.
If you know the absent parent owns real or personal property, talk to an attorney about getting a lien on the land and the house or about levying on personal property. 

A lien is a claim you have on someone’s personal property (car, boat, T.V., etc.) or real property (house or land) for payment of a debt (such as child support).  When a lien is placed on real or personal property, the lien must be satisfied (paid off) before the absent parent can sell the property.

To levy is to seize (take) personal property in satisfaction (payment) of a legal claim.

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Contempt Motions Must Generally Be Filed in Original Court: Jacob v Koslow

The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that the trial court in this appeal from the Superior Court of Cherokee County did not have jurisdiction to entertain a petition to hold a spouse in contempt of a divorce decree entered in Fulton County in the absence of a petition to modify the decree. Justice Hugh P. Thomspon wrote the court’s unanimous decision in Jacob v. Koslow, S07A0517.

The ex-husband filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings or, alternatively, a motion to transfer his ex-wife’s Cherokee county contempt action to Fulton county. The Supreme Court held that the trial court lacked jurisdiction, because the ex-wife did not seek to modify the parties’ original Fulton county divorce decree. The decisions in Buckholts v. Buckholts, 251 Ga. 58 (1983) and Corbett v. Corbett, 236 Ga. App. 299 (1999) (where the new court had the jurisidiction to modify, and therefore also had the jurisidiction to enforce), do not generally expand jurisdiction in divorce cases to allow punishment of a husband or wife for contempt of an order or decree rendered in another county.

Georgia Contempt/Enforcement of Orders FAQ

What is Contempt?
Contempt means the willful violation of a Court Order.

What are the defenses to Contempt?
Either that you did not violate the Court Order, or that the violation was not willful.

What are Contempt cases usually about in family law?
They are usually about failure to comply with an Order requiring support payments (either alimony or child support. They can also be about the failure to follow Orders relating to custody or visitation.

What happens if the Court finds that someone is in Contempt?
The offender can be ordered to cooperate or face incarceration The Court can even order incarceration until cooperation begins. This may mean payment of all or part of the support owed, or cooperation on terms of custody or visitation. The Court can also require the offender to pay the other side’s attorney’s fees.

Can the Court punish someone for Contempt?
Yes. The Court can not only take steps to ensure cooperation, it can also hold someone in criminal Contempt and punish them by making them pay a fine and/or serve up to twenty days in jail for each violation, as punishment (even if they decide to cooperate or pay all owed monies).

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Enforcement of Support

CONTEMPT

Whenever one party to a support order is not in compliance, the other party may file a Complaint for Contempt in the same court that issued the support order. The party not in compliance with the court order must come back to that court to defend the action, even if they have moved away. The court has continuing jurisdiction to enforce its own order. The court has the power to enforce by putting the non complying party in jail until they comply. They may also allow compliance by monthly payments through payroll deduction or direct pay, using the threat of jail to enforce the order. The court may also award attorney fees to the party bringing the action.

GARNISHMENT

If you know where the non paying party works, a garnishment can be a faster and less expensive way to collect support. A garnishment for support will continue until the support obligation is current. Any payments received will first be applied to the current month’s obligation. Any surplus payment will reduce the arrears owed. The costs are relatively low compared with litigation in the divorce court. Although the garnishment action will allow the costs of filing to be added to the balance owed, there is no provision for attorney fees.

AUTOMATIC WAGE DEDUCTION

All new and amended orders of support are now subject to automatic wage deduction orders that provide that the amount of support, whether current or arrears, shall be deducted from the payers wages until the obligation is over. If you have a Georgia support order that qualifies, you only need to submit a wage deduction order to the Judge who rendered the support order, and it will be effective upon presentation to the employer.

BEWARE OF SCAMS

Although Family Law attorneys are barred by law from taking a contingency contract for the collection of future support, there is an exception made to this law which has come under recent scrutiny. It is not unlawful to take a percentage of past due support when it is treated like a collection case. Most Family Law attorneys will NOT take a large share of your support payments. However, there are some lawyers who do this, and they advertise that they will collect your support, and that you will not have to pay until they collect. This is NOT always the best way to collect. If your case is relatively simple, or can be handled by one of the above methods, the fees may be relatively small, or even paid entirely by the delinquent party. There are many reputable family law attorneys who will collect your child support for little or no money down, and will still not take a great percentage of your support. Always ask if there is a less expensive way to handle your case before you turn it over to these collection agencies who will take 30-40% of your much needed support payments.

SOURCE: DivorceNet