Thursday, September 17, 2015

Happy Constitution Day!

"Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine brave men on September 17, 1787, recognizing all who, are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens."

 "The U.S. Constitution established America's national government and fundamental laws, and guaranteed certain basic rights for its citizens." "The United States Constitution is the world's longest surviving written charter of government." "Empowered with the sovereign authority of the people by the framers and the consent of the legislatures of the states, it is the source of all government powers, and also provides important limitations on the government that protect the fundamental rights of United States citizens."

 Fun Constitution Facts:

Signed in 1787, "but it wasn't until 1788 that it was ratified by the necessary nine states."

 "George Washington and James Madison were the only presidents who signed the Constitution."

 "For 61 years, from 1804 to 1865, no amendments were added to the Constitution."

"Only one amendment to the Constitution has been repealed: the 18th (Prohibition)."

"Since 1952, the Constitution has been on display in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Currently, all four pages are displayed behind protective glass framed with titanium. To preserve the parchment's quality, the cases contain argon gas and are kept at 67 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 40 percent."

 Read the original Constitution of the United States here:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How Much Does It Cost to File My Divorce?

Divorce cases are filed as Domestic Civil Cases in Superior Court. Filing fees to the Superior Court vary by county, see list and links below for the most recent filing fees as of August, 2015.

The filing fee is paid to the Clerk’s office for the filing and processing of your case. If your case requires service of process by the Sheriff, there is a separate fee to the Sheriff’s office of $50.00 per person, per address. 

If your county is not listed above, call the Clerk of the Superior Court in your county for the most recent fees.

This is an update to the prior post: How Much AreYour Legal Fees For A Divorce?.

Contact the Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation and start your divorce process.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Do I Need a Living Will (ADHC)?

Yes, everyone should have a living will. This legal document allows you to set-up guidelines for your healthcare in the event you can't make the decisions yourself. A living will, durable power of attorney for health care, and advance directive for health care (ADHC) are all the same document. Since 2007, Georgia has combined all of these documents into the ADHC.

"You have the right to control all aspects of your personal care and medical treatment, including the right to insist upon medical treatment or direct that medical treatment be withheld or withdrawn. If you cannot (or do not want to) communicate your health care decisions for yourself, you have the right to choose someone to make health care decisions for you. You also have the right to state your treatment preferences if you have a terminal condition or are in a state of permanent unconsciousness. The Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care Act gives you an opportunity to choose someone to make health care decisions on your behalf and to make a clear expression of your decisions regarding health care if you are in a terminal condition or state of permanent unconsciousness by executing an advance directive for health care."

Georgia has a standard ADHC form anyone can use. The form and instructions for how to execute the document can be found in this handout from Georgia Department of Human Services.

Read more about ADHC:

Contact the Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC to discuss your advance directive for healthcare.  770.466.2700

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How Much Are Your Legal Fees For A Divorce?

Divorce in Georgia requires a filing fee to the Court and attorney fees.

Filing fees for divorce in Georgia vary by county and are approximately $205. 
    - $204 Gwinnett County
    - $205 Alcovy (Newton and Walton Counties)

Attorney fees vary greatly from firm to firm and even from case to case. Some attorneys offer flat rates, while others require a retainer and bill against it hourly. Divorce situations vary greatly from case to case which in turn can impact your attorney fees. It is important to inquire about legal fees before you enter into an attorney-client relationship so you know your financial responsibility. Your attorney should give you an estimate of their fees, preferably in writing before you start.

The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC offers flat fees for a variety of legal services. This process allows you to know your fees before we even begin. Although the firm attempts to provide flat fees for most services, every case is different and may not completely fit into the schedule provided below:

    - Uncontested Divorce Document Production - $1,000
    - Uncontested Divorce with Child(ren) Document Production - $1,500

Additional flat fees can be found at (Rates for July 2015)

Contact the Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation and obtain a quote for your legal needs.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Independence Day 2015

Independence Day is one of the most important federal holidays in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence, which declared our independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.  “Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument.”

“What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in ‘self-evident truths’ and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.”

In the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson describes why the Declaration is necessary:

"The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”

"He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us."

"For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments .”

"He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people."

"He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands."

“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

Although celebrated on July 4th every year, “July 2, 1776 is the day that the Continental Congress actually voted for independence.”

In honor of this important holiday these local government offices will be closed:

"The Newton County Judicial Center and the Walton County Government Building will be closed on Friday, July 3, 2015, in observance of Independence Day. ”

Gwinnett County Judicial Center is, "closed on legal holidays.”

"All Barrow County Government Offices" will be closed on July 3, 2015.

"In observance of the July 4th, Independence Day Holiday, Oconee County offices and facilities will be closed all day on Friday, July 3, 2015."

The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC will also be closed around July 4th in honor of this wonderful holiday, so be sure to email the office to set-up your free initial consultation.

Why July 4 and not July 2?

July 2, 1776 is the day the United States of America became independent, but we celebrate two days later; Why?
The founders knew there needed to be a unifying document explaining the reasons for independence and not just a vote.
"July 2 Congress voted for independence and proceeded to debate the wording of the Declaration, which was, with the notable deletion of Jefferson’s vehement condemnation of slavery, unanimously approved on the evening of July 4. Every Fourth of July, America celebrates not the actual act of independence (proclaimed on July 2) but rather the public proclamation of the principles behind the act."
On July 4 we celebrate both Independence and the unified Declaration of Independence.