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The divorce process can work in a variety of ways, depending on the circumstances of your case. Below is a generic overview of the basic divorce process: One spouse files a complaint for divorce in the appropriate county The complaint for divorce is then served, by law on the other party. This can be accomplished by agreement or through law enforcement. The party being sued for divorce has 30 days to file a response for the complaint for divorce. Either party may request a temporary hearing to resolve matters of child support, custody or spousal support on a temporary basis. During this time the parties may exchange information about all aspects relating to each other as it pertains to their divorce, via a process called discovery. At this time the parties may exchange settlement offers or attend a formal mediation where a neutral party hopes to facilitate a settlement of all matters before trial. If the parties are unable to settle their case they may request a trial before a judge or a jury
By law the state of Georgia can only grant a divorce 31 days after everything has been filed. Therefore, technically, it is possible to get divorced in 32 days, but this occurs in the rarest of circumstances and typically applies to uncontested divorces. The length of the divorce process is really based on the complexity of the case. Some examples include, the inability to agree on any aspect of their divorce, parties with complex financial assets and battles over child custody. Before a court will grant a divorce, every issue pertaining to the spouse’s marriage needs to be resolved and the conduct of the parties during this process can greatly shorten or lengthen the divorce process.
Once again, this answer depends on the circumstances of the party. Costs can vary based on the ability or inability of the parties to come to an agreement on their divorce issues. Generally, the more the parties agree upon the less they will spend on their divorce.
Yes. Georgia allows for parties to represent themselves in a divorce action.
While not required, hiring an attorney for your divorce action is recommended. The divorce process can be extraordinarily complex. It should come as no surprise that licensed attorneys who are going through the divorce process hire divorce attorneys to represent them. The divorce process can be an emotionally draining experience. A good attorney will provide the proper guidance and legal expertise needed to protect your rights and relieve the stress and frustration associated with the divorce process. For example, even the most skilled surgeon would not perform surgery on him or herself.
Hiring an attorney you feel comfortable with is the first step. You should be prepared mentally, emotionally and financially to proceed if possible. Start building your support network of family and friends you can depend on during this time. Start preparing as much information as you can pertaining to your family’s assets including but not limited to tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, investments account information, mortgage statements, appraisals, etc.
The state of Georgia does not require a specific separation period prior to filing a divorce action. You just have to be living in a bona fide state of separation. This does not mean that you have to be living in separate homes and in fact don’t have to even be sleeping in different beds or bedrooms. Bona Fide state of separation essentially means you are no longer having sex with each other.
Imagine a situation where you and your spouse have resolved all issues regarding your divorce. You have separated your assets, dealt with the house and decided the custody arrangement of your children. In this case, you decided you only need an attorney to put your agreement into a legal format and file the appropriate paperwork on your behalf. While the attorney cannot represent both you and your spouse, the attorney can prepare all the documents for your signatures and assist you with obtain your divorce as constructed by you and your spouse.
The state of Georgia determines custody based on the best interests of the child standard. The court will look at and consider almost any evidence relevant to making that determination. In more complex cases, the court will look to a Guardian Ad litem (an expert who is appointed to represent the child’s best interests), therapists, and/ or custody evaluators to assist in the determination. The court will take into consideration the child’s wishes at ages 11-14 and the court will allow a 14 year old or older child to elect where he or she wants to live. Of course, the 14 year old (or older) child’s election is a rebuttable presumption.
Child support is calculated under the Georgia Child support guidelines. See O.C.G.A. §19-6-15. Child support can be calculated for either for temporary or permanent support. The parties’ gross income from all sources is calculated in a child support worksheet to determine child support.
We are often asked “Who is the best divorce attorney in Georgia?” or “Who is the top lawyer in Atlanta?” and similar questions. The reality is that there are many excellent attorneys who focus on the practice of family law. The best attorney is an experienced lawyer that you feel comfortable with, keeps you apprised of the current status of your case and the next steps involved, and who you feel responds to your questions and concerns in a timely manner while also providing insightful and strategic guidance and/ or advice.
In Georgia there are 13 grounds for divorce with the most common ground being that the marriage is irretrievably broken (referred to as a “no-fault ground”). Irretrievably broken is similar to the term “irreconcilable differences” that many other states use for a no-fault divorce, but importantly, they are not the same and a divorce in Georgia cannot be granted using the “irreconcilable differences” phrase. Other than the ground that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the 12 grounds for a Georgia divorce are known as fault grounds. The most common fault grounds that parties pursue when seeking a divorce are the grounds of adultery and cruel treatment. O.C.G.A. §19-5-3 lists the 13 grounds for divorce in Georgia. It states: The following grounds shall be sufficient to authorize the granting of a total divorce: (Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity; (Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage; (Impotency at the time of the marriage; (Force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage; (Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the husband; (Adultery in either of the parties after marriage; (Willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year; (The conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude, under which he is sentenced to imprisonment in a penal institution for a term of two years or longer; (Habitual intoxication; (1Cruel treatment, which shall consist of the willful infliction of pain, bodily or mental, upon the complaining party, such as reasonably justifies apprehension of danger to life, limb, or health; (1Incurable mental illness. No divorce shall be granted upon this ground unless the mentally ill party has been adjudged mentally ill by a court of competent jurisdiction or has been certified to be mentally ill by two physicians who have personally examined the party; and he has been confined in an institution for the mentally ill or has been under continuous treatment for mental illness for a period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the action; and the superintendent or other chief executive officer of the institution and one competent physician appointed by the court, after a thorough examination, make a certified statement under oath that it is their opinion that the party evidences such a want of reason, memory, and intelligence as to prevent the party from comprehending the nature, duties, and consequences of the marriage relationship and that, in the light of present day medical knowledge, recovery of the party’s mental health cannot be expected at any time during his life. Notice of the action must be served upon the guardian of the person of the mentally ill person and upon the superintendent or other chief executive officer of the institution in which the person is confined. In the event that there is no guardian of the person, then notice of the action shall be served upon a guardian ad litem, who shall be appointed by the court in which the divorce action is filed, and upon the superintendent or chief executive officer of the institution in which the person is confined. The guardian and superintendent shall be entitled to appear and be heard upon the issues. The status of the parties as to the support and maintenance of the mentally ill person shall not be altered in any way by the granting of the divorce; (1Habitual drug addiction, which shall consist of addiction to any controlled substance as defined in Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 16; (1The marriage is irretrievably broken. Under no circumstances shall the court grant a divorce on this ground until not less than 30 days from the date of service on the respondent.
In Georgia there are two types of custody. There is physical custody and legal custody. For practical purposes, physical custody describes with which parent does the child or children primarily live. Legal custody addresses decision making. More specifically, legal custody addresses which parent makes major decisions affecting the child’s best interests such as medical, education, extracurricular, and religious decisions of a minor child.
In Georgia, to obtain a no-fault divorce on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken, one party must simply establish that he or she refuses to live with his or her spouse and that there is no hope of reconciliation. Fault or wrongdoing is not a requirement and only one party has to allege the marriage is irretrievably broken.
It only takes one party to want the divorce and prove the marriage is irretrievably broken with no hope of reconciliation. Even if the other party does not desire the divorce, that alone is not enough to stop it from proceeding and being granted.
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