Tonight’s post on the essential subject of venue was written by our Savannah divorce attorney, David Purvis.
Over the past two years, I have been constantly struck by the number of bi-nuclear families in Georgia in which one parent lives in the Savannah area and the other parent lives in metro-Atlanta. As two of the major cities in the State, the connection makes sense. At some point after the divorce, one of the parents took a job opportunity in the other city or family obligations required a move. The parents now exchange the children in Macon or in Dublin for weekends, holidays, and summer vacation.
The unique aspect of our firm is that we can represent parties locally in either Savannah or metro-Atlanta. The first question in any of these cases is in which county should the contempt or the modification be filed? Legally, this location is known as the venue of the case.
For a contempt action (one party is alleging the other has done or not done something in violation of a court order), it is typically filed in the county that issued the original order that has been violated. But not so fast. A new amendment to a Georgia statutes went into effect July 1st allows for the court where the Defendant lives to have concurrent jurisdiction. So depending on what the contempt is for, you could file in at least two different counties.
It gets even murkier with determining venue on modification of custody and visitation cases and a number of factors can be at play in making the correct determination for venue, including how long it’s been since one of you has moved.
And this is all just within the State of Georgia – an entirely different set of laws gets implicated when one party lives in another state or another country!
Sound confusing? It certainly can be. That’s when a free consult can come in handy with a knowledgeable family law attorney who can help navigate the venue laws. The added benefit is that regardless of whether you’re in Savannah or you’re in Atlanta or your case is in the other city, you can meet with an attorney in person. Need to file in the other location? We handle that all the time. Need an attorney in the other city? I’d much rather refer you to someone on my team that I know will handle your case with attention and care.
So if you’re driving from Savannah to Dublin every other weekend or Atlanta to Macon, or some other point in between, and you are considering your options for change, give us a call today to schedule your free consultation.