Once a child reaches the age of 14, Georgia law provides that he or she has the ability to select which parent they would like to live with. In the event that a child makes such a selection, the trial court must analyze whether the parent that the child is choosing to live with is a fit and proper person to have custody. Unless the court makes a finding that the parent is unfit, the child’s selection is controlling and the trial court has no discretion to act otherwise.

A child who is at least 14 years old may also elect not to visit with the noncustodial parent. However, this is not as absolute as an election regarding custody. Rather, when a child elects not to visit with a parent, the trial court has supervisory power over that election. In that case, the trial court will consider the wishes of the child, but will ultimately determine whether or not to award visitation rights based on the best interests of the child.

Children under the age of 14 may also be given an opportunity to express their wishes to the court. Specifically, Georgia law provides that a child who is 11 to 13 years of age can make their selection known to the court. In that case, the court must consider the desires of the child, but the court ultimately has complete discretion to make a custody determination and the child’s desires are not controlling. Rather, the election of a child between the ages of 11 and 13 will likely be one factor among many to be considered by the court.

It is important to understand that this is only a summary of basic Georgia law regarding child selections in custody cases. There are many considerations in any case involving custody of a child and also many ways that a judge can utilize his or her discretion with regards to these selections. If you are facing a situation where a child election may be an issue, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help you analyze all of these issues and determine the best way to proceed with your case. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, please call us at (912) 764-9055.

Each year thousands of high school students graduate and move away from home to attend college.  These newly minted college students not only need to pack shower shoes for the dorm, but also need to prepare an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) before leaving the nest.

Eighteen year olds are considered adults in the eyes of the law and under the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Parents have no right to obtain their child’s medical information without consent.

In Georgia, anyone eighteen years of age or older can execute an Advance Health Care Directive. The AHCD allows someone to spell out their treatment preferences if they become incapacitated and designate an Agent to act on behalf of the person making the AHCD. Perhaps most importantly for parents of a college student, the AHCD also grants the Agent access to medical information, including information covered by HIPAA. No parent wants to receive a call at 2:00 AM telling them their child has been hurt and is in the hospital, and definitely does not want to be told by an ER nurse that they are not permitted to give you any information. If your child has an AHCD, this could save you, as a parent, a lot of time, undue burden and worry.

Call our firm today to assist you and your child to plan accordingly and give you peace of mind as your child leaves home.

If you sustained an injury on property owned by another person or a corporation, it is important to get to an attorney experienced in the area of premises liability.

An experienced attorney will know the right questions to ask in order to assess whether you have a valid claim and the best way to move forward with your case. Each case is unique and, therefore, it is important to seek a legal opinion regarding the facts specific to your case. However, listed below are the basic elements of a successful premises liability case so that you will know what to expect when you meet with your attorney.

Negligence.

In order to be successful in a premises liability case, you must show that the property owner was negligent in some way. The classic examples of negligence include liquid spilled on the floor or a broken handrail on a staircase.

However, there are infinite ways that a property owner can be negligent and only an experienced attorney will be able to tell you if the particular facts of your case constitute negligence. Additionally, whether the property owner is considered negligent or not may depend on the reason you were on the property. For example, a customer shopping in a public store is owed a greater duty than a salesperson who enters the property for his or her own purposes. Therefore, it will be easier to show that the store owner was negligent in a case involving the customer rather than the case involving the salesperson. Your attorney will know to find out the reason you were at the store and be able to advise you accordingly.

Injury.

Even if the property owner was blatantly negligent, you do not have a viable case unless you can show that you were somehow injured. Some common examples of injuries resulting from premises liability include:

  • Head injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Dog bites
  • Drowning and other swimming pool injuries
  • Assault or robbery resulting from inadequate security
  • Parking lot accidents
  • Elevator and escalator injuries
  • Injuries related to faulty crowd management
  • Injuries from toxic chemicals or fumes

Causation.

Finally, you must prove that the property owner’s negligence caused your injury. Even if you are badly injured, property owners (and their lawyers) will try to argue that something other than their negligence caused the injury.

A simple example of this type of argument would be a property owner claiming that the injured party’s choice of footwear was the cause of their fall. However, there are infinite excuses that defense attorneys will try to assert to keep from paying for your injuries. Only an attorney experienced in premises liability law will know to expect these kind of tactics and be able to prepare you to defend against them.

If you or someone you know has been injured on property owned by somebody else, please call us today for a free evaluation of your case.

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