Emory Law: Advanced Legal Research: Homework Assignment One
Professor Elizabeth Christian
You are a new associate at a small Georgia firm that focuses on tax law. A daughter of one of your boss’s friends may be filing for divorce and wants someone she knows to handle it. Divorce law is not your boss’s area, so he turns to you to bring him up to speed.
The client’s name is Melanie and she is a substitute teacher at a local elementary school. Her husband, Ashley, has an outside sales job with a national corporation and has to travel and stay overnight at least once or twice a month in neighboring states. Melanie and Ashley have been married for 3 years and live in Decatur, Georgia. Melanie has reason to believe that Ashley is seeing a former girlfriend, Scarlett, and she wants to know what some of her options are.
Directions: Write up your answers in a quick Memo format addressed to the Partner from you: (To, From, Regarding, Date). To answer his questions, tell what you found and where you found it. On a second page, for each question tell me how you found the answer. If you performed electronic searches, tell me what database and search terms you used, etc. If you used a print resource, how did you find the answer? Write clearly so that I can retrace your steps if necessary. It is possible that some of the questions involve statutes, too. Please attach any copies of cases you cite in your memo with the pertinent language highlighted. You do not need to attach copies of any statutes. I am also not interested in any in-depth research pertaining to alimony. Lastly, please consider your writing style. Your memo should be to the point, easy and interesting to read, as well as well organized. Your homework will be due at the beginning of next week’s class.
1. Your boss wants to know if Melanie can go after Scarlett for “alienation of affection” for breaking up her marriage. Is this possible?
2. What are the grounds for divorce in Georgia? Is adultery one of the grounds? Melanie’s husband does say that she nags him and can be critical. Is there a Georgia case you can find where this behavior would give Ashley grounds for divorce?
3. Melanie plans to hire a private investigator. She knows the name of the hotels where her husband usually stays in each city, so it should not be that hard to build a case. She is still worried, though, that adultery is hard to prove. Does adultery have to be proved in Georgia by direct evidence, or are there other ways to prove it? Find two cases that might help in this instance.
4. The private investigator has warned Melanie that if he finds something, she should be aware of the doctrine of condonement. Melanie doesn’t know what that means, and neither does your boss. What does it mean, and where did you find the answer? Is this something that Melanie needs to be concerned with in light of her case?
5. Melanie has very little money. Would it be possible for her to get the Georgia court to make Ashley pay for her attorney’s fees?