Russell H. Hippe, III has practiced law in Georgia for over twenty years. Attorney Hippe has extensive experience in all areas of divorce and family law, but focuses on divorce services including discreet legal strategies for high-net worth clients. He has successfully litigated divorce-related matters including custody and visitation disputes, alimony and property division disputes, and post-divorce modifications and contempt actions. Attorney Hippe is currently only taking the following cases: high net-worth property division cases, complex property division cases, cases involving alimony, disputes, business division disputes, and cases involving custody and child support disputes infinite hereto.Family Law
Family law attorneys handle a number of matters in addition to divorce-related issues. People with safety concerns for themselves or their children due to the actions of a former partner or other person can take action to secure their safety by having a lawyer secure a Temporary Restraining Order against the person. Lawyers can be instrumental in cases in which parents are trying to resolve paternity disputes or fathers are attempting to formalize a relationship with their child. Parents or the loved ones of a child with concerns for the welfare of the child in a custody or other matter may benefit from the services of an attorney with a working knowledge of the Department of Family and Children’s Services.
In general, the primary legal matters to address as part of a divorce include division of marital property, awarding of alimony, custody matters, and child support. Divorces can be uncontested, contested, or partially contested. Divorcing spouses who resolve all matters related to the end of the marriage prior to notifying the court of the desire to divorce, up to and including the signing of the divorce agreement and all applicable legal documents, will have successfully concluded an uncontested divorce. A contested divorce is a lawsuit and usually takes place in front of a judge. While custody matters are decided by a judge, either divorcing spouse may request that a jury decide issues dealing with alimony or division of marital property. Retaining a seasoned Atlanta divorce lawyer with extensive trial experience is crucial in the event a divorce will be contested. Partially contested divorces reserve unresolved matters for a lawsuit or arbitration.High Asset Property Division
Divorcing couples with a high net worth may be faced with a number of complicated scenarios, possibly requiring the hiring of people with specialized training to help determine the value of marital property. A valuation expert or appraiser may be needed to value the interest in a business venture or a rare antique. In the event a spouse suspects the other of deliberately hiding assets, a forensic accountant may be needed to uncover various financial transactions. The timing of transfer of assets between spouses prior to the divorce being finalized for purposes of reducing a spouse’s tax liability represents an area in which divorcing spouses could benefit from having a lawyer with knowledge of current tax laws.Complex Property Division
Contributions to retirement accounts by either spouse during the course of the marriage are considered marital property and need to be taken into account when dividing assets in an equitable manner. If a retirement account is subject to division, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order most often must be drafted by a divorce lawyer in Atlanta in order to split the account and make ownership modifications. The recipient of the split account can utilize different methods to accept the funds, depending upon what is deemed allowable per the terms and conditions of the retirement account. In a trial scenario, adjustment of marital property between the spouses or other forms of compensation may be considered by a judge to prevent the division of a retirement account if doing so would be an overly complex endeavor.Business Interest Evaluation and Division
A privately held business venture, including partnerships, corporations, and other closely held entities, entered into jointly during the marriage is, generally, considered an asset and subject to division in the event of divorce. In addition, if one spouse held sole ownership of or interest in a business prior to the marriage, and efforts on the part of either spouse resulted in business or interest appreciation, then that appreciation is subject to division. If the value of the business is significant enough, associated financial records and other information must be analyzed to determine the value of that ownership interest, therefore impacting the division of that interest. An Atlanta divorce attorney with knowledge of valuing business interests can be quite helpful when trying to make sense of complicated marital property matters.Alimony Claims and Defenses
Calculation of alimony is based on a number of factors, including need, income of each spouse, the means of one spouse to pay the other, length of the marriage, and the judge’s inclination. A spouse may receive a temporary award of alimony until modification or the determination of permanent alimony. A number of considerations are weighed when deciding an award of permanent alimony, including the standard of living that the spouse is accustomed to, length of the marriage, and contribution by each party during the marriage. In some circumstances, alimony may not be awarded, including instances in which the spouse requesting alimony has been found guilty of adultery.Forensic Income Investigations and Defenses
The process of hiding income and assets can be used to artificially reduce child support or alimony payments and the amount of marital property subject to division. Hidden assets and income can take numerous forms, including cash, insurance policies, bonds, mutual funds, and annuities. A spouse who owns a business, for example, may attempt to reduce the actual value of the business to reduce the amount of marital property. A person suspicious of their divorcing spouse’s activities can find that the hiring of a forensic accountant can be quite helpful. Forensic accountants have a number of techniques and tools at their disposal to locate hidden income and assets, often reviewing tax returns, financial transactions, loan applications, public records, and other information.Discreet Privacy Protection for High Profile Clients
Celebrities and others subject to significant media exposure and general public curiosity have legitimate concerns when contemplating the end of a marriage. Divorce filings are a matter of public record and can be accessed by anyone. Fortunately, divorcing couples have some options for keeping the details of a divorce confidential. A couple’s decision to make use of a confidentiality agreement can minimize the amount of information disclosed in public divorce filings. Details regarding alimony payments, division of marital property, child custody, and other information will be encompassed in a written agreement, drafted by a divorce attorney located in Atlanta, that is shielded from the information found in public record files. Alternatively, the divorcing couple could hire a private judge or mediator to decide unresolved divorce matters. This approach prevents the details of a divorce from being disclosed in open court.Custody and Child Support
If spouses cannot come to agreement regarding child custody, the court has exclusive authority to decide awarding of custody, based upon what is in the best interest of the child. Matters of custody are weighed using a number of factors, including the love and emotional ties the child has with each parent, the ability of the parent to care for the child, and the health of the parent. Georgia law requires the incomes of both parents to be considered when determining the amount of child support. A formula is used to determine the amount of support. Adjustments are possible, and can be for various reasons, including the combined income of the parents, travel expenses if the parents live far apart from one another, and whether one parent can add the child to their health insurance plan.Contact a Dedicated Family Law Attorney Today
Russell Hippe has been recognized by numerous organizations as being one of the top family law attorneys in Atlanta. If you are contemplating divorce and would like to speak with a divorce lawyer in Atlanta, or are trying to resolve another family law matter, please contact Russell Hippe today to discuss your concerns with an experienced, compassionate legal professional. Contact us today.
Russell Hippe speaking at the State Bar of Georgia on the Georgia Rules of Evidence in February of 2018