When seeking a divorce, spouses are asking the court to grant a judgment to end their marriage. Generally, a court will require a legal reason for the divorce. Each state has different criteria for determining what is required for a divorce. Moreover, divorce is not always the only option, and the judge can order a judgment of separation, which means the couple will remain married (maybe they do not meet the current requirements for divorce), but they will live separately.
Deciding to get a divorce is never an easy option and can be made more complicated when children and joint assets are involved. Regardless of the situation, it is generally a good idea to hire a divorce attorney before beginning any proceedings. The Georgia divorce attorney at The Law Office of C. Payne has the experience and understanding to help individuals through the entire divorce process.
How a Georgia Divorce Lawyer Can Help
Each state has created specific requirements for divorce, which entitle one spouse to ask the court to dissolve the marriage. The benefits of requesting the court to end the marriage based on fault or no-fault can be explained by a divorce attorney.
Even though divorce is a difficult process, a lawyer can make it less stressful. In order to help spouses focus less on the marriage’s destruction, your divorce attorney can talk to you about matters that will affect your future, such as child and/or spousal support and child custody concerns. A lawyer can also act as a mediator between the parties, which allows the divorcing spouses to limit their interactions.
A divorce attorney ensures both spouses reveal any and all assets in order to fairly divide the marital estate. It is common for one partner to have handled the finances in a marriage, and the other spouse may not be aware of the couple’s obligations or assets. A divorce attorney can assist in gathering documentation and identifying assets and liabilities to ensure that these assets are fairly represented in the divorce settlement.
The Georgia Divorce Process
Understanding the divorce process can make the proceedings easier for both parties. It is important that everyone knows what they are seeking before filing for divorce or as soon as possible thereafter. The most important aspect of a Georgia divorce is that the state requires the couple to be considered separated by the law before they can seek a divorce. The criteria set by Georgia do not require the couple to reside in separate residences to be considered separated, but it does require that they no longer share a bedroom, no longer engage in a sexual relationship with one another, and that they do not intend to carry on a marital relationship.
Next, after separation has been established, both parties should hire a divorce attorney to help them understand the legal complexities involved with divorce proceedings. An attorney is beneficial in many ways and will also serve as your representative both in and outside of court.
Once an attorney has been obtained, the parties will need to decide what type of divorce they will file. Georgia has two types of divorce, contested and uncontested. Additionally, Georgia does offer one more type of divorce known as a no-fault divorce. This is generally used when one party to the divorce refuses to sign the papers or respond to the complaint.
After choosing the type of divorce that is most appropriate in your particular case, your family law attorney will advise you about when the best time to file for divorce is. Typically, a lawyer will advise their client to file for divorce before the other party does because this gives the filing party more control. Additionally, the party that files first will be labeled the plaintiff, which grants them the right to speak first and last at court proceedings. The one main downside to filing first is the fees associated with filing a domestic action, which will generally cost around $200.
Finally, before actually submitting the petition for divorce, the filing party will need to establish their grounds for divorce. Under Georgia law, there are 13 statutory grounds for divorce. The most common out of the thirteen are adultery, willful infliction of pain (cruel treatment), irretrievably broken marriage, and abonnement/desertion. Once a ground or grounds for divorce has been established, the party can then file their petition for divorce. An attorney can help establish when and where to file this important legal document that gets divorce proceedings going.
Contested Divorce in Georgia
When parties cannot agree on whether to seek a divorce or the terms and specifics of the separation, this is called a “contested divorce.” The facts that are in dispute typically relate to the division and allocation of property, monetary assets, alimony, child support, and/or child custody. Before a divorce is decided and finalized in a contested divorce, the parties must go through a number of lengthy and frequently difficult stages. In an uncontested divorce, there are less steps, including acknowledging service of the divorce complaint, exchanging a maximum of a few documents, and appearing in an uncontested hearing to conclude the process. Contested divorces take longer to complete and are ultimately decided by the court, not by the parties’ consent.
Uncontested Divorce in Georgia
Even in the best-case scenario, divorce can be traumatic. However, a long, complicated proceeding is not always necessary. One can save money and time by obtaining an uncontested divorce (sometimes known as a “complete divorce”) in Georgia. If the couple can agree on how they will handle the legal, financial, and practical aspects of ending their marriage, then an uncontested divorce is the answer.
Three fundamental elements must be met by the parties in order to petition for an uncontested divorce in Georgia: state residency, agreement on the grounds for the divorce, and agreement on the issues at hand. The parties must come to agreements on all issues before applying for an uncontested divorce in Georgia.
Even with an uncontested divorce, it is beneficial to have a divorce lawyer because they can help draft an agreement for the parties based on their mutual understanding of the divorce. It is best to have a written agreement that is signed by both parties and attach this when filing for divorce. Even in the best of situations, it is always best to have everything in writing.
The Divorce Attorney at The Law Office of C. Payne
If you are separated and considering a divorce in Georgia, you should contact the Georgia divorce lawyer at the Law Office of C. Payne. Our legal team can help you from beginning to the end of your divorce proceedings. Contact us today by phone at (404) 393-9457 or online to get started on your case.