February 12, 2018
Divorce is never easy, no matter where you live. With all the emotion, pain, and heartache involved in dealing with the separation alone, knowing what’s involved in the divorce process itself feels like the final nail in the coffin.
While it may seem confusing, it doesn’t have to be.
Here are the basics you should know when considering a divorce. This information is intended to help you get your head around what’s required, and to give you some insight on what to expect. This is by no means comprehensive, but it should be enough to get your thoughts in order, and enough to help you move on to the next stage of your life. Here are four key points to understanding the basics of Divorce in Georgia:
Understand the Why
When filing for divorce in Georgia, it’s important to have a clear reason why you’re doing it, this will be included in your Petition for Divorce. Georgia State Law allows for no-fault divorces. This means that a divorce can occur without either spouse needing to prove wrongdoing of the other—there is no need to prove who caused the marriage to fall apart, one spouse just has to state that the marriage is beyond repair.
Otherwise, there are a number of other situations that are considered grounds for divorce:
- Familial intermarriage
- Mental incapability at the time of the marriage
- Being forced to or deceived into marriage
- Criminal conviction
- Cruel treatment, both physical or mental
- Constant drunkenness or drug addiction
- An incurable mental illness
- The wife being pregnant to another man at the time of marriage without the husband’s knowledge
Understand the How
Spouses must be considered ‘legally separated’ prior to filing for divorce. This doesn’t necessarily mean by distance—it means that they’re no longer engaging in marital relations, then the process can begin.
However at least one spouse must have lived in Georgia continuously for six months. If one spouse moves to another State, the Divorce can still be filed in Georgia as long as the other spouse still lives in Georgia.
Either spouse then files a Petition for Divorce in the Superior Court of the county where the other spouse lives (and if their whereabouts of your spouse are unknown, as happens in some cases, you can file in your own county). This petition will be served by a Process Server, or a Sheriff of the county, which kicks off the divorce proceedings.
If things go smoothly and both spouses agree to the terms of divorce then it can be finalized without a trial. If not, then the matter will likely proceed to mediation, a temporary hearing, discovery, and a final divorce hearing.
Anticipate the Key issues
Your joint property will be divided fairly—but not necessarily equally. All property acquired or shared during the marriage is considered shared property and is up for division. Property acquired outside of the marriage—things like inheritances, or gifts given to one spouse only —and haven’t been commingled are considered separate property, and therefore not up for division.
The amount of the alimony paid depends on factors like the length of the marriage, earning capacity of both spouses, contribution of each party to the marriage, and the standard of living that was established during the marriage. It’s designed to keep both parties living within their means, to avoid the situation of one being disadvantaged. To this end, it can also include things like training or education to help a spouse find employment.
Custody is the legal right of the parent to spend time with their child, and to have a say in the decisions that impact the child’s life. This type of parenting arrangement may hurt one spouse, but it is important to understand that the court is simply trying to keep the child’s welfare and best interests in mind.
In the case of children under 18 years of age, both spouses must submit a detailed, 365-day parenting plan to establish which parent receives legal and physical custody of the child. Things like visitation rights, holiday plans, and dispute resolution are all taken into account. Children 14 years or over can elect which parent will have custody. Their selection shall be deemed likely, unless the parent selected is determined by the court to not be in the best interests of the child.
Child support is determined as a percentage the non-custodial parent pays to the custodial parent to assist with living expenses, health insurance, and childcare costs and is based on the number of children in the marriage, and the gross income and parental obligations of both spouses.
Get Support during your Divorce
In order to reach the best possible outcome for yourself, your spouse, and your children, we recommend surrounding yourself with a support system, people whom you love and trust. That support system should include a competent and experienced Divorce attorney.
Whether you have an uncontested divorce where both parties agree on all issues or a high asset divorce with complex financial issues, you need a firm who has assisted hundreds of families throughout the state of Georgia in finding a solution catered to their specific needs. Please contact us today at 678-432-1100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Experience Lead. Quality Rated. Solution Driven.