Month: May 2019

Resuming Your Maiden Name after Divorce

Going back to your maiden name after a divorce is a deeply personal choice.  Many people wonder if it’s the right thing to do or not. Truly, it’s up to you. People who decide to return to their maiden name or keep their married name always have a reason as to why.  Here’s some of the common reasons people choose to go back to their maiden name or keep their married name.


Some women choose to return to their maiden name because they like it better. Sometimes it just sounds better on the tongue or when it’s read. Cauthen or Cheever? Williams or Willis? Occasionally the maiden name just looks much better on paper.

Sometimes marriages end poorly.  Whether it just didn’t work out or was physically abusive, many women are eager to return to their maiden names because they don’t want the reminder of a painful past. Even if their maiden name is less appealing, they may be in a hurry to go back to quickly erase all evidence of their abusive spouse from their home.  Sometimes going back to your maiden name is all about freedom and starting anew. Women feel as if going back to their life before their failed marriage will make them feel whole again.


Some women who have become mothers choose to retain their married names because they want to have the same last name as their children.  Many may also not want to have to deal with a statements and questions like, “Oh, you’re divorced” or “Why do you have a different last name than Billy or Suzie?” Sometimes, the choice to keep a married name may be made because you are known professionally by that name. For example, if a woman has built her whole career or her brand around her married last name, it may be too costly or risky to make the switch. Finally, the hassle of a name change alone can be the driving force behind staying put for some women, especially if they really don’t mind keeping their married name.  If you’re a woman who’s getting a divorce in Georgia and you wish to go back to your maiden name, the attorneys at Harmon and Gorove can explain how to do that as a part of your divorce before the divorce is finalized. If you need to speak with an attorney regarding the prospect of uncontested divorce please call our office today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced team of lawyers.

Using Headphones While Driving

Often, automobile and truck accidents happen because someone was distracted while driving.  Driving while distracted is one of the most significant causes of accidents across the entire world.  This is mostly because there are tons of actions that fall into the distracted driving category. The actions most commonly associated with distracted driving is texting and using electronic devices to transmit data or make phone calls.  However, those are certainly not the only things that can cause distracted driving. Eating behind the wheel, changing the radio station, even reaching down to scratch an itch can distract someone. One of the things that most people don’t think about when it comes to distracted driving is the use of headphones.  People use them for a myriad of reasons but in the State of Georgia, you are not allowed to use any device that impairs your hearing or vision while operating a vehicle. This is spelled out in Ga. Code § 40-6-250. The statute does allow earbuds or headsets that are used for purposes of communicating hands free. Basically, the statute is meant to protect our roads from drivers who can’t hear what is going on around them. For example, drivers should be able to hear other vehicles’ horns in the event of an emergency. Drivers should also be able to hear sirens of approaching emergency vehicles in time to clear the way. There are a variety of instances in which it is imperative that a driver be able to hear their surroundings. Even people on bikes and pedestrians should think twice before traveling with earbuds or headphones that prevent hearing the environment around them. The ability to hear approaching motor vehicles may be the only way to prevent a serious, life-threatening bicycle or pedestrian accident.

Because we deal with victims of serious auto accidents every day, we understand the importance of safety on our streets and highways. It only takes one second of distraction to cause a serious accident that could change lives forever. If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of another person’s negligence in a automobile accident, contact the injury lawyers at Harmon and Gorove today for a free consultation.

The pluses and minuses of settling out of court

Settling a personal injury or product liability case can happen a number of ways.  Some of those ways involve a trial, a jury and a courtroom while others do not. An out of court settlement basically states that the involved parties wish to avoid a long and costly trial where the outcome is unknown.  Often times, this happens when both parties and their lawyers (occasionally with the help of a mediator) negotiate a settlement that both parties feel is fair. The specific circumstances of each case is different and the preferences of the parties to the case certainly matter.  However, listening to an experienced personal injury attorney can help you make the decision as to whether you want to take a case to trial or you wish to accept an offer of settlement. Many cases are settled out of court in a fair manner because both parties ultimately accept the facts of the case.  However, we’ve come up with a good list of pros and cons for you to consider when you think about whether you should settle your case or take it to court.


  1. Fewer Costs. The cost of a jury trial can multiply quickly.  Between hiring experts, travel costs and display materials the fees add up fast.  This doesn’t include the higher attorney costs incurred as well. You could also miss a great deal of time away from work and be tied up for months or even years before seeing any real payoff in your case.  You could even end up in a worse financial position than you were in before the trial.
  2. Less Stress. The pressure of taking a case to trial isn’t just on the attorney, it’s also experienced by the client.  This stress can take a serious toll on people. An out of court settlement reduces that stress significantly.
  3. Privacy. Taking a case to court involves a great deal of disclosure and if privacy is a concern of yours, know that trial documents in a case that actually goes to trial are a matter of public record.  If there are potentially embarrassing things that you don’t want made public, you can keep a great deal of that out of the public eye by settling the case out of court.
  4. Finality. A lot of people do not realize that the outcome of a trial can be appealed by the losing party. However, when settling out of court, the final outcome usually can’t be appealed. Additionally, if a case does go to appeal, it will certainly drag the case out over a substantially longer time, which will only lead to more time between you getting the money you deserve and significantly higher legal expenses.


  1. Fear of Settling. Occasionally, you just can’t get the satisfaction you want out of settling a case.  This can lead to people being unfulfilled with the settlement for reasons that don’t even involve money.
  2. The Unknown. Perhaps one of the biggest negatives of taking a case all the way to a jury trial is the fact that a group of complete strangers will decide the outcome of your case.  You can NEVER predict a jury and anyone who tells you they can is lying and you shouldn’t hire them. With an experienced attorney they can however more easily predict a settlement.  A good PI attorney has experience in settling and trying cases. As the song, “The Gambler” goes, you gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. A good PI attorney knows.
  3. Purpose. Each case has its own unique merits and many lawsuits are filed for very personal reasons. Some cases involve circumstances that deserve to be made public for the good of the country as a whole or the challenging of a unjust law. If a case is settled out of court, the awareness of the issue can often go unnoticed.

At Harmon and Gorove, our attorneys have each client’s best interests in mind and will be transparent with advice given. Our lawyers have many years of experience in both trial cases and out of court settlements and will work with you to not only giving you peace of mind during the process, but will also work valiantly in making sure you achieve the justice that you deserve.

The Rings, After the Divorce

There are a lot of decisions that have to be made when a couple decides to divorce.  There are marital debts and the division of assets that must be discussed and negotiated.  What do we do with the wedding videos, pictures and other momentos? Do I hold on to the dress? Who gets the dog and who gets the cat?  I want the sofa and you want the bed. One of the things that often gets overlooked is what to do with the rings. The wedding rings hold a great deal of symbolism and quite possibly, monetary value.  

There are lots of options for dealing with now unwanted wedding rings and lots of questions as well.  Does the woman automatically hand her wedding rings back to her soon to be ex considering that he gave it to them.  Do exes keep the rings to give to their children one day when they get married? Do they go down to the nearest pawn shop or jewelry store and ry to get as much monetary value from them as possible.  Honestly, there’s no one right answer. What works for you may not be what someone else does and you have to make your own decision based on your personal feelings.

All things considered, what are my options?

The feelings you have about your wedding rings are very personal.  Some people may look back and remember, “the good times” in the relationship.  Some people, especially those with children may want to hold on to the ring(s) to pass down to children due to sentimental value.  On the other hand, if your marriage was tumultuous, stressful or even abusive, you may have no desire whatsoever to hold on to a reminder of just how tough things were.  

Here are some possible options for what to do with your rings:

  • You can always give the ring back to your spouse.
  • You may save the rings and give them to your children when they decide to get married.
  • You can sell the rings and use the money to make some positive steps like paying off debt, investing in yourself, or buying something special.
  • You can have the ring melted down and used to created a new piece of jewelry.
  • You can sell the rings and donate the money to charity, especially if you were in an abusive relationship.

Even if the rings remind you of a bad marriage, it doesn’t mean you should toss them into the nearest body of water. They’re likely worth some money, so it’s more productive to sell them and use the money for something positive.

If you find your marriage is struggling and you and your spouse have decided to end it, give the attorneys at Harmon and Gorove a call today to discuss how we can help you file an uncontested divorce to end your marriage in an amicable and cost effective way.

Three Parts of a Basic Estate Plan

Every person, no matter how significant they may feel their assets are, absolutely needs to have a well thought out estate plan that covers three very basic documents that will serve your best interests and make the lives of those you care about that much easier when the time comes. The three main planning instruments you should have include a durable power of attorney, a health care directive, and a last will and testament. These instruments will cover an array of subjects in our lives and our family’s lives after we pass away and should be taken very seriously, regardless of what you believe you may leave behind.

Power of Attorney


The first thing you need to include in your estate plan will be a power of attorney. This allows you to designate a person of your choosing to manage your property, assets, and finances during your life in the event you are incapacitated and unable to act in your own interest. A power of attorney carries a lot of weight and gives someone almost complete control of your financial life and should be vested in a trusted individual you can be sure will act solely in your best interest should a time come where you can’t handle these situations yourself.

Healthcare Directive


The second thing you should look into is a health care directive. A healthcare directive is essentially a type of a power of attorney that deals only with health care decisions. A healthcare directive allows you to appoint a trusted person to direct your medical care and make important end of life decisions should you be unable to.


Last Will and Testament

The third and most essential piece of estate planning is your last will and testament. A last will and testament is the most basic mechanism used to transfer property to family and friends upon our death. There are numerous other ways to pass along our assets and other parts of our estates, including various forms of trusts, a last will and testament is still necessary to direct our loved ones whom we leave behind about our final wishes including whether we wish to be buried, cremated or shot off into space, types of memorial services and other ways in which we want to be remembered.

It is important to understand that these are just the essentials of an estate plan and what you will ultimately need will vary depending on what your leave behind and who you wish to leave it to. Significant assets like large bank and investments accounts, your home or other real estate assets, your business, and other valuables like expensive jewelry or art may need even more extensive estate planning that satisfies everything from family dynamics and business partners to tax and legal considerations.

If you find that your basic estate planning is not where you want it to be, schedule a no pressure, complimentary consultation with one of our attorneys today so we can go over your wishes and create a basic estate plan that will leave you with peace of mind and your family with valuable information about your wants and desires when the unthinkable happens.

Timing Bankruptcy: How Often Can I file?

Timing Bankruptcy is very important and can have an impact on when and what types of cases you can file. The first thing you must realize is that there isn’t a set number of times a person can file for bankruptcy in their life, if you’re eligible to file, you can do it.  Just because you CAN file 5 or more times in your life, doesn’t mean you can actually get what is called a discharge of your debts. A discharge is the complete and total wipe out of your debt that comes upon completing a bankruptcy.

The biggest thing you must consider if you have to file for bankruptcy more than once in you life is timing bankruptcy correctly. If you completed a previous bankruptcy, whether it was a 7 or a 13, you have to wait a certain amount of time before you can receive a discharge in another bankruptcy. There are a number of factors that determine when and if you can file another bankruptcy and receive a discharge:

  • Which type of bankruptcy you file previously
  • When you filed the bankruptcy (ie. what date)
  • Whether your bankruptcy was completed (discharged), dismissed (voluntarily or involuntarily) or dismissed with prejudice (you can’t file bankruptcy again for a set period of time because of something you might have done.)

There are restrictions on timing bankruptcy as well.  When or whether you are eligible to discharge your debt again depends on whether you filed a 7 or a 13, when you filed that case, whether you received a discharge in that case and what kind of bankruptcy you want to file now.

  • If you file a Chapter 7 and want to file another Chapter 7: If you have filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and received a discharge, you must wait 8 years to the day of the date you last filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.  In other words, if you filed a Chapter 7 on May 1, 2010, you wouldn’t be eligible for another Chapter 7 until May 1, 2018.
  • If you file a Chapter 13 and want to file another Chapter 13: If you complete a Chapter 13 case and your debts are discharged you must wait 2 years from the date that your previous Chapter 13 was filed in order to file for and receive a discharge in a new Chapter 13.  This usually isn’t an issue though because it takes a minimum of 36 months to complete a Chapter 13 Plan. Generally speaking, you can file for a new Chapter 13 case pretty much immediately after your first Chapter 13 is closed.
  • If you file a Chapter 7 and want to file a Chapter 13: If you filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and received a discharge, you can file a Chapter 13 case and be eligible for a discharge if the case is filed at least 4 years after the date you first filed your Chapter 7. One important thing to keep in mind is the fact that if you file a Chapter 13 after you complete a Chapter 7 and are discharged, you can still use a Chapter 13 to get caught up on debts that are of a high priority like mortgage deficiencies or missed auto loan payments even if you aren’t eligible for a discharge.
  • If you file a Chapter 13 and want to file a Chapter 7: If you completed your Chapter 13 case and received a discharge, you must wait 6 years from the date your Chapter 13 was filed before you may obtain a discharge in a Chapter 7 case.  There is an exception to this rule though. If your previous Chapter 13 was a 100% case, meaning that you paid your unsecured creditors back in full you may be eligible for a discharge in a Chapter 7.

The only way to know for sure which type of Bankruptcy you are eligible for and if timing bankruptcy correctly is in your interest is to speak with a competent and compassionate Newnan Georgia bankruptcy attorney. Our attorneys at Harmon & Gorove can offer you a completely free consultation in a judgement free and comfortable environment. We can review your current financial status and tell you exactly what would work best for your situation.  Whether it is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy or no bankruptcy at all.  We always look out of the best interest of our clients.  If you think Bankruptcy can help get your finances back on track, contact our office to schedule a free consultation today.