Dorthy R. Sachs
Family Law
O’Kelley and Sorohan Attorneys At Law, LLC is uniquely situated to best meet your needs. We have sixteen Atlanta area locations to make meeting with you as convenient as possible. Our attorneys have over twenty years’ combined experience in representing clients in family law cases. While we recognize that sometimes litigation is unavoidable, the best people to make decisions in family law cases are the parties themselves. We encourage settlement of family law cases when that approach is the best alternative and have the resources and experience to help you reach the best possible settlement for your case. When a hearing is necessary, however, we have the experience and knowledge of the law to be zealous advocates for our clients.

Family law is the term for all types of law relating to a couple and their children. This includes divorce, child support enforcement (also called Motions for Contempt), and modification of child custody, visitation, and/ or child support. When two people who are not married to each other have children, the actions to determine child support and child custody and visitation are called “Paternity” and “Legitimation”. These actions can be filed as two separate actions, or together in one. Family law also includes adoption actions, child guardianship, motions for contempt, and domestic violence actions.

A frequently asked question is ‘Why do I need an attorney? I just want to file a simple divorce action?’ Family law legal actions are very complex, emotionally-charged court actions. No matter what type of legal action you need, dealing with your ex- or soon to be ex- can be a highly stressful time. Hiring an attorney to help you through the process can diffuse a lot of your stress. While this may be your first legal action, it won’t be the first legal action for the attorney you select. At O’Kelley & Sorohan, Attorneys at Law, LLC, we will make sure that you are well-educated on the law relevant to your case, and keep you fully informed, every step of the way. Let us do the worrying for you.

Additionally, you may not realize everything to which you are entitled. Your spouse may deliberately or inadvertently mislead you when dividing your assets or setting parenting time. A lawyer should know the laws of Georgia and how the Judges in your County typically handle cases like yours. A lawyer is there to protect your rights, and to make sure you get the best possible result.

You also have a lawyer to steer your case through the legal system as efficiently and as quickly as possible. Family law cases in Georgia often require specific paperwork to be completed before you can have a hearing or otherwise move on to the next stage of your case. A lawyer will prepare all the necessary paperwork to ensure that everything is handled correctly as soon as possible.

Finally, an attorney will make sure that your documents are complete, and protect you now AND in the future. As attorneys, we see the bigger picture. Sometimes, people get focused on making sure the document they draft addresses their current problems. An attorney will also make sure that your documents will be able to change over time. The needs of your 3 year old will be very different than the needs of your 8 year-old or 13 year-old. Your custody and visitation paperwork needs to be specific and clear, but also flexible in certain areas to be able to adjust to your changing needs. When dividing assets and debts, your agreement needs to say what happens if everything doesn’t go according to the present plan. A good family law attorney will have the experience to make sure your documents protect you.

Another concern for potential clients is what to bring to the initial consultation. The first thing you should bring is a clear idea of how you want your case to proceed, and what type of attorney you want. Do you want a bulldog, aggressive attorney that will fight it out with the other attorney in court for as long as it takes? Do you want an attorney that will settle your case as efficiently as possible, with the largest settlement possible? Do you think it is possible for you and your ex or soon-to-be ex to work out the details of the case with a mediator? Most family law attorneys offer a free initial consultation because the first part of your meeting should be to determine whether you and the attorney are a good fit. Make sure that the attorney understands your goals for the case. Talk to the attorney about who will be your main contact person for the case and how the firm bills for your type of matter. Make sure the attorney is knowledgeable about family law in general and your case in particular. If you are comfortable with the attorney, let him or her know that you are going to hire them. If you both have time, you can then talk about the specifics of your case. Typically, attorneys charge for this time, as they are giving legal advice about your situation.

When you first start to talk to the lawyer about the specifics of your case, you will need to have specific information. In a divorce case, you need to have information on your family’s monthly expenses and income. In a case dealing with child support, you need to know both parents’ income and the children’s expenses. The more of this type of information you can bring to the consultation or give to the lawyer ahead of time, the more specific the advice the lawyer is able to give you in return.

Finally, even though you may not want the evidence presented in court, if you have any damaging evidence about the other side in the case, it is best to show it to your attorney and discuss it with him or her. If you believe that the other side may have any damaging information about you, you want to tell your attorney about it as soon as possible. After all, it may or may not be relevant or presented to the Judge, but you want your attorney to know about it so he or she can respond to questions. If you don’t tell your attorney it can damage your case or your relationship with your attorney if he or she doubts your credibility.
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