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Rachel Aliza Elovitz
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Rachel Elovitz’s Answers

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  • I am seeking to get a divorce, but I can not afford the cost. How do I get a waiver for my divorce fees?

    My husband has been in prison for three years now, he has two more years to serve. He went to prison 2 months after we were married. We had prepared ourselves for this separation. I have since then moved to Georgia while he is still in North Carol...

    Rachel’s Answer

    Call your local Bar Association - if you are in Stone Mountain, then it's probably the Gwinnett Bar Association and ask for a pro bono referral. They probably have a website and contact number in line. You can also try making the same inquiry re a pro bono appt with the Georgia Bar at 404-527/8700.

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  • My ex-husband hasn't paid alimony or lump sums ordered to pay for past bills. He now lives in Hawaii and has a good job.

    He doesn't have any property or anything of value. It's been almost a year since he was ordered to pay $1300/month plus $31,000 in fees here in Georgia. He is 11 months behind now and I discovered he moved to Hawaii and verified where he is work...

    Rachel’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    It has long been the rule in Georgia that an application for contempt must be filed in the court that rendered the decision. In divorce cases that means that the contempt action generally must be filed in the court that entered the divorce decree. The legal theory that gives the court which entered the decree the right to punish for contempt is that every court has the power to compel obedience to its own judgments.

    In the Buckholts case (251 Ga 58), the Georgia Supreme Court found that it was necessary in the context of divorce and alimony cases to depart from the general rule that a contempt action must be brought in the offended court. In that case, the Supreme Court held that where a Superior Court other than the Superior Court rendering the original divorce decree acquires jurisdiction and venue to modify that decree, it likewise possesses the jurisdiction and venue to entertain a counterclaim alleging that the plaintiff is in contempt of the original decree. That rule was reiterated in Crutchfield v Lawson in ?2014.

    In your case, it doesn't sound like any modification action is pending. The court that would have subject matter jurisdiction and venue jurisdiction would be the court in which the original decree was entered.

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  • I live in Atlanta, Georgia and was married in Dayton, Ohio and my wife still lives there. How do I get a divorce?

    Been separated since February 2009

    Rachel’s Answer

    It depends on a few answers to a few questions:

    1. How long have you been in Georgia? You said that you've been separated since 2009, but that does not mean that you've been in Georgia that entire time. Have you been here more than six months?

    In Georgia, the court does not have jurisdiction to hear your divorce case unless you have been a bona fide resident prior to filing your petition/complaint for divorce.

    2. Are you simply seeking to dissolve the marriage? Or are there other issues that need to be resolved? By other issues, I mean are there issues of alimony, equitable division of property, custody, child support...?

    If you are simply looking to dissolve the marriage and not requesting any other relief, then you need only show that the court has jurisdiction over the "res of the marriage." The court can render a judgment "in rem" with respect to the marital property located within its territory.

    3. If you have been in Georgia more than six months, but there are issues other than the dissolution of your marriage that need to be tried, then you could still proceed here if your wife was willing to waive any objection to venue and personal jurisdiction.

    Personal jurisdiction over the defendant is required if the person filing for divorce, the petitioner/plaintiff, is seeking relief other than the grant of a divorce.

    Do you know if your wife would be willing to waive any objections to venue or personal jurisdiction?

    If you don't know the answers to these questions or do not understand these legal concepts (and candidly, even if you do), it would be wise for you to retain a family law attorney to represent you.

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  • How can I have the cs amount changed since he is now working?

    He was unemployed when we went to court and the judge told him to pay 165.54/month. He does not pay. My question is, doesn't that amount need to be increased since he is working now? How do I do that?

    Rachel’s Answer

    You need to speak with an attorney about:

    1. Filing a petition for citation for contempt.

    2. Filing a modification action, if the CSW indicates that a modification would be appropriate.

    If you cannot afford an attorney, you might try going through the Division of Child Support Services.

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  • Can I lose custody if I only have a part time job?

    I'm looking for a day shift job so I can be home with my daughter during the nights. I have a job currently but it's night shift and it's from 10 pm to 7 am five days a week. My usual days of are Tuesday and Wednesday . I'm on maternity leave with...

    Rachel’s Answer

    1. Original custody determinations are base on what is in a child's best interest.

    2. The factors the court considers in determining best interest are listed in Official Code of Ga Annotated 19-9-3.

    3. It might concern the court that the father of your child sleeps in the same room with his 11 year old daughter.

    4. It will likely (should) concern the court that you are not able to be at home with your newborn at night. Ii you can change your schedule, you might think about doing so. if you cannot, have a plan for someone responsible to watch your child while you're working.

    5. Talk to an attorney about filing an action for paternity and support. If you cannot afford an attorney, google DHS' Division of Child Support Services.

    6. Speak to an attorney about the implications of your boyfriend filing a petition for legitimation and custody. You need to understand the difference in legal custody, physical custody, and the kind of parenting time that would be appropriate in your situation. You need to be thinking about a parenting plan.

    7. If would be wise to meet with a child specialist / therapist / developmental expert about the kind of custody and parenting time schedule / arrangement that would inure to the benefit of your newborn.

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  • How do I proceed to get visitation rights for a child in another state?

    My grandson has lived in another state with his father for the past nine months. His mom, my daughter is deceased.

    Rachel’s Answer

    I am so sorry for your loss.

    You need to speak with an attorney in the state and county in which your son-in-law and grandson reside about what that state's law is concerning grandparent visitation - whether it is a right afforded grandparents, and if so, what the legal burden is and whether you can likely demonstrate that legal burden in any grandparent visitation action.

    Best to you

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  • I am innocent of domestic violence but da is offering dpa

    I am innocent of domestic violence but da is offer dpa after all the deposition are done

    Rachel’s Answer

    You have not asked a question. Do you have an attorney? If so, speak with him / her about any concerns / questions you have. If you do not have an attorney, you should retain one ASAP. If you cannot afford one, seek representation through the public defenders office.

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  • Filed uncontested - Now suddenly in an emergency hearing situation

    I filed as the plaintiff in what I thought would be an uncontested divorce, however, critical issues since the filing of the complaint and agreement.. The marital home I'm in is going to be auctioned off for his failure to make the house payments,...

    Rachel’s Answer

    You can file a motion asking the court to reject / set aside the agreement based on his fraud and misrepresentations, but he is going to claim that you had the ability to do your due diligence and did not.

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  • Are there any ways to speed up a divorce if you have been separated for over three years?

    No legal separation was filed and we have one child

    Rachel’s Answer

    No sooner than if you were married 12, 23, or 33 years. The earliest is 31 days with the other side's consent and an agreement resolving all issues...equitable division of marital assets and debts, legal and physical custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, attorney's fees...

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  • Once a father is legitimized, can he take his child when ever he wants without permission of the mother? Keep her long periods?

    I have a 1 yr old, have not received any child support. Just occasional drop off of food. I let him spend time with her every weekend for the simple fact that i want my daughter to bond with her dad. I filed for child support back in January have ...

    Rachel’s Answer

    The legitimation establishes the legal relationship between a father and child. It allows the child to inherit from the father as if born in lawful wedlock. It allows the father to serve as a placement resource for the child if he or she were taken into state custody. It allows the father to seek parenting time or custody of the child. What kind of time depends on that to which the two of you agree in any mediation or collaborative process or what the judge determines if you go to trial. Even if you resolve the issue in mediation or through some other ADR process, the Judge still has to approve of any agreement reached. An award of parenting time or custody has to be based on the child's best interest.

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