Sunday, September 17, 2017

Happy Constitution Day 2017

"On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document they had created."

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

See prior blog posts for more information and fun facts: 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 2, 1776 Congress officially votes for Independence

Independence Day 2017

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Declaration of Independence.

“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.”

In the Declarationof Independence Thomas Jefferson lists various reasons why Independence is necessary, just a few are listed below:

  • "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 .”
  • "For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies."
  • “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.”
Read the full transcript of the Declaration of Independence at
Independence Day is one of the most important federal holidays in the United States commemorating the Declarationof Independence, which declared our independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Although celebrated on July 4th every year, “July 2, 1776 is the day that the Continental Congress actually voted for independence.”

The founders understood the importance of the their actions. In a letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776, John Adams stated, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society.

Local County Governments will be closed in honor of this wonderful celebration. Independence Day Court Hours 2017.

The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC also will be closed Monday, July 3, 2017 and Tuesday, July 4, 2017 to celebrate this wonderful holiday of independence. Send a confidential email directly to attorney Bechtold for legal information

Independence Day Court Hours 2017

Most County Governments in Georgia are closed on Tuesday, July 4th in honor of our nation's Independence. Below is a list of local county hours. 
"The Newton County Judicial Center will be closed on Tuesday, July 4, 2017.  The Walton County Government Building will be closed on Monday, July 3, 2017, and Tuesday, July 4, 2017, in observance of Independence Day."

Barrow, Gwinnett, and Rockdale County Governments will be closed on Tuesday, July 4, 2017.;; Gwinnett County Courts are, "Closed on legal holidays."

The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC also will be closed Monday, July 3, 2017 and Tuesday, July 4, 2017 to celebrate this wonderful holiday of independence. Send a confidential email directly to attorney Bechtold for legal information

Friday, May 26, 2017

Do I Need to Attend a Parenting Class?

If you have a shared minor child and plan to be divorced in the State of Georgia you will likely be required to attend a parenting class or seminar. Requirements, schedules, and fees vary by county. “The superior court judges, under whose authority the program shall function, may require any or all parties to attend an educational seminar of no more than four hours in any domestic relations action before the court.” Georgia Superior Court Rule 24.8(B).

The goal of this program is to assist the parents in understanding the impact of divorce on children, reduce potential conflicts, and offer practical solutions to future problems. ” “The seminar focuses on the developmental needs of children, with emphasis on fostering the child's emotional health during periods of stress.”

Information on local county parenting classes are listed below:

Alcovy (Newton and Walton Counties):
  • Fee: $25.00, cash or money order
  • Attendance: Divorce action must be filled with the Court prior to attending the class
  • Completion: Must be attended by both parties within 60 days of the filing date of the divorce
  •  Location: Social Circle Public Safety Building in the Community Room, 138 E. Hightower Trail, Social Circle, Georgia 30025 
  • Dates: 2nd Thursday (Plaintiff) and 3rd Thursday (Defendant) of every month 
  • Time: 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
  • Schedule, based on filing date: 
  • Additional information:

Gwinnett County:
  • Fee: $40.00, cash or money order
  • Attendance: Can be attended at anytime
  • Completion: Must be completed within 31 days of service of the original complaint upon the original defendant
  • Court Note About Attendance: “Appropriate action, including but not limited to contempt, may be taken upon a party's failure to successfully complete the seminar.”
  • Location: Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Conference Room A West Wing, 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046
  • Dates: 1st, 2nd, and 4th Thursday a.m. sessions and 3rd Thursday p.m. session 
  • Times: 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. / 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. 
  • Schedule: 
  • Additional information:

Be sure to check with the filing Court for your parenting class information, requirements vary by county.

Contact the Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC to discuss your family law case, all new consultations are free. Call or email me directly today: 770-466-2700,

What are the Fees for Divorce?

Divorce fees vary by state, county, and law firm. In all divorce cases in Georgia, you will have a filing fee paid directly to the Clerk of Court. Filing fees in Georgia vary by county, below is a list of local Superior Court filing fees:

If you have a shared minor child with your spouse, you may also be required to attend a parenting class/ seminar for an additional Court fee. Programs and fees vary by county. See my post on parenting classes here:

Finally, you will have attorney fees for your divorce. Divorce situations vary greatly from family to family which in turn impacts your attorney fees. “Be sure to get your fee arrangement in writing from your attorney before you enter into any attorney-client relationship.”

The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC offers flat fees for uncontested divorce cases. This process allows you to know your fees ahead of time. 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
If your divorce turns into a contested divorce, meaning that you can not reach an agreement with your spouse, then The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC works on a retainer fee agreement. Your starting retainer will be based on your case and is billed against at $200/hour (rates, May 2017 Every contested divorce is different and it is difficult to determine final legal fees, however, it is important to get an estimate from your attorney before you enter into any attorney-client relationship.

Contact the Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation and obtain a quote for your legal needs. 770-466-2700,

Friday, May 19, 2017

Are There Different Types of Legal Fee Agreements?

Yes. “There are a variety of different methods through which a lawyer might charge for legal services, and usually the type of case dictates the type of fee agreement.” Lawyer fees are generally either flat, retainer, or contingency.
  • Flat Fees: Seen when litigation is not involved, provides a set price, often used with document production or review cases. “Some lawyers feel that a flat fee arrangement lets everyone relax and makes for a better attorney-client relationship. You won’t feel reluctant to call or email with a question, and the lawyer can take the time necessary to listen to your concerns and explain things to you without feeling like the meter is running.”
  • Retainer Fees: Used in litigation cases, acts as a deposit, billed against by attorney at an hourly rate, total fees can vary. “The money is placed in an account separate from his operating account, and he bills his time against it as the case progresses.”
  • Contingency Fees: Used in litigation cases, often in Plaintiff's cases, not used in family law cases, total fees can vary. “The lawyer's fee is based on a percentage of the amount awarded in the case. If you lose the case, the lawyer does not get a fee, but you will still have to pay expenses.”

The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC offers all of the above fee agreements depending on your case and legal needs. See website for flat fee pricing and hourly rate.

“At the outset of your case -- and certainly before you officially hire your lawyer -- you need to understand how the attorney will be paid, and get a ballpark estimate of the total cost of the attorney's services and related expenses.” Be sure to get your fee arrangement in writing from your attorney before you enter into any attorney-client relationship.

The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC offers free initial consultations for all new clients. Contact me directly to schedule your consultation and discuss which legal fee agreement is best for you: 770-466-2700,

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

May you have a brighter tomorrow with new opportunities. Happy 2017!

Contact The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold at today to schedule your free initial consultation in the new year.