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A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2016 | Divorce

You can find out just about anything on Google or YouTube. I am pretty proud of myself when I’m able to figure out what’s wrong with my phone or I’m able to fix a small plumbing issue. Thanks, Inten1et.

I don’t let it go to my head though. You can watch YouTube videos of surgery, but I haven’t performed one on myself or on anyone I know. No one has volunteered strangely enough. There are some things I know are clearly above my head.

You know what else you can Google? Law. The problem is that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing because it’s those people who believe they know more than they actually do who can easily make a misstep. And a little misstep can have lasting and costly consequences.

Sure, you can google about alimony, but do you really understand the law about it? First of all, are you sure that what you’ve googled applies to Georgia, or are you reading a blog written by someone in California and you’re actually reading about laws that don’t apply to you? Are you sure that what you’re reading hasn’t been overruled by the new law? Are you sure that you’ve read everything about the various factors, the broad discretion of the court and the great difference between judges?

I bring up alimony because I’ve seen unrepresented parties agree to pay alimony to the other party (who had the attorney) when it would normally have been flat out denied, and I’ve conducted many consultations where the client believed he or she had to pay alimony when there were strong arguments that the client didn’t have to pay a dime. Not then. Not ever.

These people believed that they had to pay alimony because they worked and made a comfortable living while the spouse did not work or worked minimally or worked for a lower income than the client. Those are certainly factors judges consider when deciding whether or not to award alimony. Judges also consider, however, the length of the marriage and whether the other party is capable of working, among many other factors.

I saw one person agree to pay alimony even though the wife was able-bodied, educated, and capable of working, and the parties had only been married for a very short while. I had a client who believed that she had to pay alimony to her husband to balance out their incomes because she made significantly more, but he made a comfortable living on his own and one of the factors the Court considers is whether the party asking for alimony actually has a need for it. 

What about child support? Yes, you can google a worksheet, but are you; sure you have the most recent one? Do you know what deviations you’re able to receive? Do you know if your other children qualify you for a decrease in your child support? Do you know how to answer the questions in a way that the judge will accept your child support worksheet? Do you know what your judge approves and what your judge does not?

To understand the applicable law and all the ways that it impacts your c .se, you absolutely need an attorney. Otherwise, you are swi1mning blind and your opposing counsel is having a blast shooting fish in a barrel. (That fish would be you.)

Om· firm specializes in family law. We write a lot of blog posts but wouldn’t have to read all of our blog posts and then google everything yourself. (Although you probably should read all of our blog posts just for the enlightenment an sheer pleasure of it.) We offer free consultations. That is a very sweet deal.

Call our firm to set up a consultation so that you can know your rights, ,our options and your best plan. A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing. B sure to arm yourself well and invest in you and your future with a team with first cl ‘ss knowledge.

Jennifer McCall