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Family Law

This area of Law holds a special place inside of our office.Whether it be a joyous adoption or a rough divorce our family is here for yours. Family Law encompasses many things such as: child custody, divorce, legitimation, adoption, and child support. We have handled these issues for 30 plus years and through knowledge and experience we work to achieve the best result for our client.

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One of the happiest things lawyers (and Judges) get to do is help people with an adoption. When you adopt a child, you create a new parent-child relationship, and a new family. There are not many things better than that. We have handled adoptions from newborns to teenagers. Often times the adopting party is a stepparent or grandparent. whatever the case, it is a joy to be part of the process of providing a child a forever family.

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One of the toughest chapters of life anyone ever goes through is a divorce. The emotional and psychological toll of the process is tremendous, on both the husband and wife, as well as children and extended family. You need a lawyer to help guide you through these difficult waters. A divorce sets you on a new path in terms of your personal life as well as your financial life. You cannot afford to make a mistake.

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Child Custody and Support

The child custody process is often the most emotionally stressful aspect of a family law case. While you can regain lost assets, you can never get back time lost with your children. Given the cost of living in today's environment, establishing a proper amount of child support is important for both parents. If you are seeking to establish child support or or defend against a support action, call our office today to discuss your case.

Explanation of Child Support in Georgia 

The state of Georgia uses a guideline worksheet to determine how much child support should be paid to the parent. The guidelines are considered for fairness after filling out the “income shares worksheet” and comparing it to the parent’s situation. Although the guidelines are strongly relied upon to set the child support, they are still only guidelines. The court often looks at a number of factors that persuade judges to deviate from the child support guidelines. We clearly present the unique circumstances of your family to ensure that you fully recover the compensation your children deserve.

The factors that go into the income shares model include:

  • The income of each parent

  • The number of days that the child spends with each parent

  • How many children there are

  • Any special needs of the children

  • The costs of daycare

  • The costs of health insurance for the children

Legal and Physical Custody

There are two types of child custody in Georgia:

  • Legal custody, which is the right to make important decisions about issues such as your child’s medical care, education and religious upbringing.

  • Physical custody, which is where your child will live.

Legal custody is usually shared, unless there are strong reasons why one parent should not have input into decisions. Many different physical custody arrangements are possible. In most cases, the child has a home base with one parent and then sees the other according to a visitation schedule. However, 50-50 joint custody plans are possible, as are split custody plans where each parent has custody of one or more children.

Fathers Rights

  • Many fathers going through divorce or the breakup of an unmarried relationship assume that they will be at a disadvantage in a dispute involving child custody, especially if their children are young. However, times are changing. Today, moms and dads are on more equal footing in family court.

  • At the Law Office of Andrew C. Dodgen, we represent men who need help preserving their relationships with their children. We firmly believe that it is important for fathers to be involved in the lives of their children. We help dads obtain joint child custody plans and even sole child custody when it is appropriate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I am getting divorced. Do I need an attorney?

A. It ordinarily is a good idea to consult with a lawyer about major life events or changes, such as a divorce. Your Lawyer protects your rights. He keeps current with the laws concerning marriage, divorce, marital property, child custody and visitation, and family support.

Q. What are the legal grounds for obtaining a divorce?

A.The grounds for divorce depend on the state, and may be based on no-fault or fault ground. A no-fault divorce is one in which neither the husband nor the wife officially blames the other for the breakdown of the marriage. In Georgia you must show the marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no possibility of a reconciliation.  The list of grounds for a fault-based divorce may include: adultery, physical cruelty, mental cruelty, and desertion.

Q. Who determines how assets are divided in a divorce?

A. First it must be determined what is marital property. Property you had at the marriage, inherited, or recieved by gift is generally not subject to division as marital property. Generally, spouses are free to divide their property as they see fit in what is called a "marital settlement agreement," which is a contract between the husband and the wife that divides property and debts and resolves other issues of the divorce. Although many divorces begin with a high level of acrimony, a substantial majority are settled without the need for a judge to decide property or other issues. However, if the division of property cannot be settled, then the court must make the determination. In Georgia, the Court makes an equitable (fair) division of the marital assets. 

Q. How do courts determine who gets custody of children in a divorce?

A. If the parents cannot agree on custody of their child, the courts decide custody based on "the best interests of the child." Determining the child’s best interests involves many considerations which must be considered in total. 

Q. What is joint custody?

A. Joint custody has two parts: joint legal custody and joint physical custody. A joint custody order can have one or both parts.

Joint legal custody refers to both parents sharing the major decisions affecting the child, which can include school, health care, religious training and extracurricular activities. 

Physical custody refers to the time spent with each parent. The amount of time is flexible, and can range from a moderate period of time for one parent, such as every other weekend, to a child dividing the time equally between the two parents’ homes. In situations where the time spent with both parents will be divided equally, it helps if the parents live close to one another.

QDo grandparents have visitation rights to their grandchildren?

A. A grandparent has a right to seek visitation with their grandchildren under certain circumstances. Every case is different. We can help you evaluate this tough question. 

Our Attorney Can Help


If our FAQ didn’t answer your Family Law questions, please contact us today by calling 706-324-5606 or emailing us at We have years of experience representing families in their time of need, and would like to work with your family as well.

If you would like to make a Family Law appointment please click below

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