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Debra Rickles

Debra is a graduate of the Emory University School of Law, and has twenty years experience in family law, personal injury, probate, and general litigation.


Contact Information
Phone: 770-622-6887
Fax: 770-844-9130
Address: 106 Pilgrim Village Drive
  Cumming, GA 30040
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Attorney at Law Questions Answered by Debra Rickles »
Section: Attorney at Law
Q:  At what age is a child an adult in Ga and able to choose where they live?... without going to court..just becoming old enough by law to live where they choose.
A:  the age of majority in georgia is 18, so at that time the child can choose where they want to live, if they are not out on their own. however beyond that ,at age 13-14 the child can make an election to live with either parent by signing an affidavit and filing an action in court. the standard used to be that the election would control unless the parent was unfit. now the law is that the court will give the election great consideration, and even talk to the child. the final determining factor is best interest of the child, but i have found that most judges still will honor the child's choice.  i hope this helps you with your situation. if you have any other questions please feel free to give me a call.

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Section: Attorney at Law
Q:  My wife was at an event with our kids. She had our small dachshund zipped in her jacket. A teenage girl was bitten by our dog. She was petting the dog, and all was fine, and then she suddenly leaned in, and the dog, who's never bitten anyone, was startled. He bit her on the face. I don't think the nip was very serious, but her mother is talking reconstructive surgery and all kinds of liabilities. I rent, so I have no homeowners insurance, and have few assets. How much liability am I looking at here?
A: 

The key factor is that the dog has never bitten any one before. There is a one bite rule unless the owner knows the dog has an "aggressive propensity" Further your dog was secured, not running lose and the individual made contact with the dog. Given these defenses under current Georgia Law you should be protected. However every fact pattern is unique so you should definitely consult counsel, and do not make any voluntary payments until you do so. I hope this answer was helpful.

 

 

 


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Section: Attorney at Law
Q:  My wife and I have been married for almost 5 years she has two daughters from her ex ages 13 and 11. We have been talking about me adopting them for sometime now and wondered what it would take and what or how it would happen. He has paid his child support for the most part on time for last couple of years with the help of State granishing his wages (for a while he would quit his job when the state caught up with him). He has not physical seen them in almost three years somewhat on his part and some on ours. He still has about 10k in back child support to pay to be caught up. I have heard that even if he has not paid back all of the back support by the time they turn 18 he would be off the hook for it. Is that true? Also if I adopted them would that free him of all the back support or whould he have to repay that? I have heard different answers from different people. With him paying support but not seeing them does he have any real grounds to contest me adopting them? I have been told if I wait till the oldest is 14 and she gives me her consent to adopt her he would not really have a chance to fight it at that point. Please help shed some light on this subject for me I have gotten to much conflicting info to know what is correct anymore or not.
A:  There are many aspects to step-parent adoption. First let mae say congratulations for being such a wonderful father to these girls. As to the adoption the critical issue is whether his parental rights would need to be terminated. My belief is no, since he has no contact with them, is in arrears, and has made no voluntary payments of support. Therefore I would proceed without attempting to terminate. He will have to be served with the papers and he can attempt to fight it.A 14 year old does not have the ability to terminate parental rights, although she does have input into visitation issues. As to the support issue, it is difficult to say without looking at the garnishment orders. I t is possible that the back support will continue, but all current and future support ends with the adoption order. Please feel free to contact me at my office 770 622-6887 if you need further information. Best wishes to you and your family.

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Section: Attorney at Law
Q:  My son and his girlfriend was not married when their daughter was born. His name appears on the birth certificate as the father. By his name being listed as the father does he also have legal rights in regards to his daughter?
A:  Georgia requires a petition to legitimate be filed in the superior court of the county where the baby resides in order to insure your sons legal rights to visitation, and legal custody. His name on the birth certificate does not insure those rights. The mother also has the right to seek child support as an action to establish paternity. if your son wants to be certain that he will be a legal parent he should take action as soon as possible.

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Section: Attorney at Law
Q:  My Ex was responsible for a lease payment on a home we used to reside in. He still owes the leasing company money for moving out early on the lease. Upon renting the home i was on lease but the lease was approved on his income salary because i had none. The debt was sold to a collector who is now trying to garnish my wages because they cant locate him to serve him. What can i do to stop this process. I was never under any finacial obligation to pay the lease on the home when it was occupied, i need help please
A:   It is always very upsetting when you think you have someone out of your life, and an unexpected problem occurs . unfortunately as you are on the lease the leasing company has the right to go after you. however I would demand a copy of the lease and a history of every payment. further they have to obtain a judgement  before they can do anything. my advice is tell them that you will not under any circumstance talk to them again. if they continue to call you after that tell them they are violating the fair credit act. if you are served with a lawsuit contact counsel to assist you in answering in the time allowed. good luck to you.

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Section: Attorney at Law
Q:  Can a company who gave you hours 10 years ago decide now to switch those hours and put you dept under a new manager who hates everyone and makes your life a nightmare?
A:  it sounds like you are not very happy with your job! I hate to tell you that unless there is some specific contract stating your work hours, your employer may make whatever changes deemed necessary in their opinion. However, after 10 years i am sure you are a valued employee. Perhaps you could speak to someone about how these policy changes are affecting the company morale. good luck!

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