FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to the FAQ page! Here you'll find some of our most frequently asked questions - and our answers to them.
The FAQs we'll cover are:
- Do you offer free consultations?
- Do you take any cases on contingency?
- What counties do you cover?
- Where is your office?
- Do I have to hire a lawyer for my divorce case?
- Do I have to hire a lawyer for my adoption case?
- Do I have to hire a lawyer for my traffic ticket case?
- Do I have to hire a lawyer for my DUI case?
- Do I have to hire a lawyer to get a restraining order against someone?
- Do I have to hire a lawyer for my custody case?
- Do I have to hire a lawyer for my child support case?
- Do I have to show up for court?
- What is mediation?
- How long will my case take?
- Should I just pay my traffic ticket? (Why hire a lawyer?)
Do you offer free consultations?
If you call us, you'll first speak with a Case Management Officer (CMO) who will find out more about you and your potential case. This first contact is always free of charge as it's our way to get to know you and your way to get to know us. If we decide we're a good fit, we'll go over next steps - which include price and fees.
If you would like to speak with an attorney at any time during the consultation process, we are happy to make this happen, and we do charge a consultation fee, usually by the hour.
Do you take any cases on contingency?
Usually, no, because Georgia law does not allow most family law or criminal defense cases to be taken on contingency. Contingency means that you do not pay for the lawyer's services until the case is completed and completed successfully. In that case, the payment comes out of whatever final money judgment you receive, usually at a set percentage between 33 and 45 percent. You are still responsible for filing fee and reimbursement costs to third-parties, but the bulk of the fees - those paid to an attorney to bring the case on your behalf - are handled by the contingency fee agreement, and you do not have to pay that out-of-pocket.
Now, here at Your Law Firm, we are allowed by Georgia law to take one type of case on contingency and we do take those cases on contingency: child support enforcement cases. This is a case of limited scope, where the only thing you are trying to do is to collect past-due child support from the other parent or party who owes you child support.
What counties do you cover?
We focus on serving our clients in the following North Georgia and Metro Atlanta Counties:
- Cobb County
- Cherokee County
- Forsyth County
- Dawson County
- Hall County
- Gwinnett County
- Lumpkin County
If you're not sure what county your case is in, but you know the city, we focus on taking cases in the following cities:
- Powder Springs
- Holly Springs
- Ball Ground
- Flowery Branch
- Peachtree Corners
On a case-by-case basis, we will consider cases in other counties or cities. If you would like to see if we're a good fit, contact our office and talk with one of our CMOs (Case Management Officers) to find out more.
Where is your office?
In our ever-increasingly virtual world, we are privileged to be able to operate via a mostly virtual office and remote work. So the best way to contact us is electronically or by phone, at this time.
However, we do offer in-person meetings by appointment only at our office space in Milton, Georgia. Contact us to schedule any in-person meetings.
Do I have to hire a lawyer for my divorce case?
Technical answer: no - you do not have to hire a lawyer in order to bring your divorce case before the courts in Georgia. You are always free to represent yourself in any court proceeding you are a party to.
However, since a divorce case covers a lot of complex issues, such as property division or child support payments, and issues that you cannot easily change later, such as child custody and visitation, we always recommend hiring legal counsel for your divorce case. Even if it is uncontested - meaning you and your spouse have already agreed to how things will be divided going forward.
We've seen too many cases where the original divorce was done "on the cheap" by not hiring an attorney, and then the potential client wants us to go back and fix the past. It's exponentially more expensive to do so, since the original divorce case is now closed, and Georgia has strict laws about what can and cannot be changed, and how often it can be changed. Sometimes, if it's dealing with property, you cannot go back and change the final divorce order - even if you and your ex agree. Therefore, hiring a lawyer upfront for the divorce can help minimize costly delays or potential mistakes, ensuring that the proceedings proceed efficiently and without undue stress for either party.
Do I have to hire a lawyer for my adoption case?
Technical answer: no - you do not have to hire a lawyer in order to bring your adoption case before the courts in Georgia. You are always free to represent yourself in any court proceeding you are a party to.
However, hiring the services of an adoption lawyer is always highly advisable. Adoption proceedings are extremely complex and involve many intricate legal regulations. Without the guidance of a skilled attorney, there can be serious consequences to misunderstandings or lack of knowledge about applicable regulations - even to the point of your case being dismissed and you not being allowed to bring it again before the court.
Also for your own peace of mind, an experienced legal professional can explain the process step-by-step and provide invaluable insight into the best course of action throughout the process. In the technical world of Georgia adoptions, best practice is to always hire counsel to represent you in your adoption case.
Do I have to hire a lawyer for my traffic ticket case?
Technical answer: no - you do not have to hire a lawyer in order to defend yourself in your traffic ticket case before the courts in Georgia. You are always free to represent yourself in any court proceeding you are a party to.
Yet while it is not mandatory to hire an attorney for your traffic ticket case in Georgia, there are certain advantages to doing so - especially since all traffic cases in Georgia are criminal charges, of the level of at least a misdemeanor, and sometimes even a felony. Because you can walk away from a traffic case with a criminal record, it's always best practice to get a lawyer.
A local traffic ticket lawyer can evaluate the evidence associated with your case and provide advice on how best to challenge or mitigate the potential consequences - including you having a criminal record, or having your license suspended. They can also advise you on any defense strategies or ways to reduce your charges that may be available.
Furthermore, hiring an attorney can help to ensure that all relevant procedural requirements are met and minimize delays in the proceedings. Failure to properly address a traffic ticket could result in serious long-term consequences, including license suspension or revocation and obtaining points on your driving record.
Do I have to hire a lawyer for my DUI case?
Technical answer: no - you do not have to hire a lawyer in order to defend yourself in your DUI case before the courts in Georgia. You are always free to represent yourself in any court proceeding you are a party to.
Like with traffic tickets, while it is not mandatory to hire an attorney for your DUI case in Georgia, the stakes of such a matter are high and can lead to serious consequences - such as losing your license for up to one year, jail time, and having a permanent criminal record.
Hiring a lawyer who can provide invaluable insights into the process, explain the applicable laws, and offer potential strategies for challenging or mitigating the related charges will put you at a huge advantage. Moreover, an attorney can help to ensure all procedural requirements are met and guide you through any court appearances or hearings. Without engaging the services of a legal professional, it may be difficult to build a strong defense against a DUI charge and there is a risk of being convicted with severe penalties, including jail time and hefty fines.
Do I have to hire a lawyer to get a restraining order against someone?
Although it is possible to pursue a restraining order against someone in Georgia without hiring a lawyer, there are several benefits of engaging the services of a legal professional to do so. An experienced attorney can provide invaluable assistance throughout the process, including completing and filing the necessary paperwork, and making sure your case is as sound as possible in order to give you the best chance of the judge granting the restraining order. Restraining orders are quick and usually a one-shot hearing deal - if you don't present your best case possible the first time, there's a chance the judge could deny it forever.
An experienced lawyer will provide guidance during court appearances, and represent your interests during hearings or negotiations with the other side or their attorney. Your lawyer can also help to ensure all procedural requirements are met, which could increase the chances of obtaining the desired outcome - to get the other party to leave you alone.
Do I have to hire a lawyer for my custody case?
Although it is possible to pursue a custody case in Georgia without the assistance of an attorney, it is not necessarily the best way to go. Child Custody is a serious matter in Georgia law, and if you bring your own case, you are required to know all the applicable laws and regulations governing such matters, just as if you were a lawyer yourself.
If you hire a lawyer to represent you, you can rest assured that they will take care of the procedural requirements of drafting and filing paperwork, provide you with guidance through each step of the legal process, and represent your interests during court or negotiation proceedings. Without engaging the services of an attorney, you may have difficulty building a convincing case and there is a risk of not obtaining the desired outcome - to be able to see your kids.
Do I have to hire a lawyer for my child support case?
Although it is possible to pursue a child support case in Georgia without the assistance of an attorney, engaging this type of legal representation can be invaluable. Child support cases are very technical, and depend a lot on preparing evidence of what the other party did or did not do, and what they did or did not pay. You will want to make sure you have the best case possible to present to the judge - and an attorney can help you gather all the information and evidence in order to do so. They will also come up with a sound, legally-backed argument in support of your demands.
Whether it is seeking to change the amount paid by you or your ex (up or down), or seeking to collect on past due support, it is always best practice to hire legal counsel to represent you. Without the help of an attorney, you may have difficulty obtaining the desired outcome and could risk not receiving the necessary support for your children.
Do I have to show up for court?
Yes - in Georgia, all parties involved in a case must appear in court unless the judge specifically excuses them.
If an individual fails to show up for court in a civil case (like an adoption or custody or divorce case) or does not respond to a notice from the court, a default judgment may be entered against the individual which could drastically affect their rights and the outcome of their case. It is important to attend all hearings unless otherwise specified by the court.
If someone does not show up for their criminal charges case (such as traffic tickets or DUIs), then the court can suspend their driver's license until the do, or even worse - issue a Failure to Appear (FTA) bench warrant for their arrest.
Sometimes, the judge will allow your lawyer to appear for you - but at any time the judge can change their mind and require you to show up, even if you live out of state. So make sure you are aware of all court hearings, in any type of case, and that you constantly communicate with your legal counsel to determine if and when you need to be there.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternate dispute resolution (alternative to having a judge decide the case) that is a requirement in Georgia for all domestic relations cases to at least try.
Mediation is a process where parties in conflict are brought together under the guidance of a neutral third-party mediator to help facilitate discussion and negotiation and ultimately the goal is to reach an agreement. Mediation is designed to help parties craft creative and mutually beneficial solutions with the end goal of delivering a legally binding settlement that both sides can be satisfied with.
Sometimes, it works, and sometimes, it doesn't. It's still required in Georgia for most civil cases, such as a divorce or a custody dispute. Even if a full agreement is not met, sometimes we see a partial agreement on issues is met. This helps keep costs down as well, since we will only be holding a full-on court hearing on the outstanding issues, if a partial agreement is made in mediation.
How long will my case take?
No two cases are alike, and it is impossible to guarantee how long a specific case will take. Generally speaking, domestic relations cases can last anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on factors such as the complexity of the issues involved, the willingness of each party to cooperate in the process, and other external variables - such as the judge's schedule or the mediator's schedule. For criminal charges, even traffic tickets, the case can take as long as few months to several years as well, depending on the nature of the charges, how much evidence there is, and how big the judge's caseload is ahead of your case. The key to any court proceeding is to be patient.
Should I just pay my traffic ticket? (Why hire a lawyer?)
While it may seem more convenient to simply pay your traffic ticket in Georgia without consulting with a lawyer, this can be a risky decision. A knowledgeable attorney can help you evaluate whether the ticket is justified and advocate on your behalf to have the prosecutor reduce or dismiss the charges. They can also provide guidance through the process, understand which defenses can be applied in your particular case, and negotiate on your behalf to minimize potential fines and other penalties. If you pay the fine, you lose the benefit of these potential defenses or negotiation strategies, and could end up with more points on your license than expected, or even a suspended license. The court and prosecutor do not have to tell you what it means to plead guilty to your ticket and pay the fine. Therefore, engaging an attorney's services for your traffic ticket case can save you both time and money in the long run.
We hope this FAQs page has been helpful in informing you about the common questions and our proposed answers to legal matters we've seen in Georgia. If you have more questions, feel free to contact us and start a conversation about your legal matter.