Grounds for Divorce in Georgia:
Georgia allows “no-fault” divorce, which essentially allows one spouse or another to claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken and there’s no hope of salvaging it. You can also engage in a divorce where a party is at fault but consider both options carefully before choosing one or the other.
Thus, the most common ground for divorce is irreconcilable differences, meaning no one is at fault for the marriage's failure. In other words, neither party must prove the other one was at fault for the marriage's failure. However, other grounds may also be invoked. There are twelve (12) other fault-based grands for divorce.
These grounds include:
Requirements to file:
Residency: Georgia courts require at least one spouse must have been a Georgia resident for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. If neither spouse meets these requirements, then you’ll have to wait until one of you has reached that threshold, and then you will be allowed to start the divorce process.
Waiting Period: Georgia courts will not grant a divorce less than 30 days after the divorce papers were served to the non-filing spouse, even if both spouses agree to the divorce sooner. The reason behind this "cool down" period is to allow couples an opportunity to gather their emotions as all couples go through frustrating times.
No-fault divorce can be an excellent option depending on your situation. It’s important that you understand the differences between the two types of divorce to help you decide which one is going to work best for you. Your attorney can explain the differences, or you can look at our no-fault divorce article which outlines the characteristics.
YOU’LL NEED A LAWYER
Divorce, in Georgia, is generally covered under family law. Find an attorney who specializes in family law in Georgia and take some time to speak to them before filing for divorce. We will be able to show you problem areas of the law that you might not be aware of. We will also be able to help you draft a complaint, or petition, that most effectively communicates your desires to the court.
Most importantly, find someone that you feel comfortable talking to about all your personal matters.
Going through divorce will never be an easy task. Divorce is a difficult time for everyone. It can be both emotionally and financially challenging, but it’s important that everything is handled correctly and you get all of the assistance that you need. Keep your chin up and stick by your convictions. Divorce is a test of character, and if you stay on an even keel, you’ll get through it no matter how tough it is.
If you’d like to discuss your situation or would be interested in exploring the financial impact of divorce, please contact us at The Barionnette Law Firm, LLC., 678-824-5453.
Divorce cases can be extremely complex, and it is always advisable that you proceed with the help of an experienced divorce attorney.
Just because both parties want a divorce does not mean the matter is uncontested. While it may make the process easier if both parties agree to this ultimate outcome, this is not what attorneys are referring to when they ask whether a matter is uncontested. Instead, an uncontested divorce means that the parties have come to an agreement regarding all of the four major items related to a divorce:
1. Child Custody
2. Child Support
4. Equitable Division of Assets and Liabilities
Another common misconception about an uncontested divorce is that since you have a general idea about how to resolve an issue that means the matter is uncontested. While it is helpful to have general guidelines for how the parties desire to resolve a divorce, it is equally important to understand that the devil is in the details.
A simple example, in terms of child custody, may be that the parties have agreed that the father shall be the primary physical custodian for the minor children. Unfortunately, that does not fully address the subject matter of child custody. A visitation plan must still be put in place, minor details such as who is responsible for driving the children, how holidays and summer vacations will be handled, and who has ultimate responsibility for decisions related to the minor children (along with a host of others) must still be put into place before a matter will truly be considered uncontested.
Based upon our experience, often these minor details can be worked out with relative ease if the parties already have a general framework for the resolution of their divorce. That said, there are a number of cases over the years where the parties find what appeared to be a general agreement does not exactly work out that way when we get into various required details in the divorce.
If you and your spouse are making progress trying to work out the matter on your own, it is still advisable that you seek legal counsel to better understand all of the finer points that must be addressed in your divorce agreement. With a little guidance and perspective, we can help not only highlight the remaining issues that need to be worked out prior to proceeding forward with an uncontested divorce, but we can also offer helpful solutions for addressing differences that may arise. As attorneys that focus exclusively on divorce matters, we have seen numerous examples of these exact situations being addressed before and can offer helpful solutions to allow you to reach the ultimate result of an uncontested divorce.
As an aside, please also don’t forget that just because a matter initially appears contested, it does not have to remain that way. Through various alternatives to trial, such as mediation, the parties can narrow their differences and often cause a contested matter to become uncontested.
Finally, regardless of how your reach your uncontested agreement, it is important to retain counsel to review your proposed plan, offer suggestions for changes, and to ultimately draft all of the necessary paperwork to facilitate the filing of the uncontested divorce matter.
A contested divorce simply means that there are unresolved issues between the parties at the time of filing for divorce. The areas that must be resolved in a divorce are as follows:
1. Child Custody
2. Child Support
4. Equitable Division of Assets and Liabilities
Regardless of the reason(s) your matter is contested, if you and your spouse cannot resolve your differences (and these four major areas) your case will remain “contested” until such time as it is heard and decided by a judge.
Understanding why a Divorce is Contested
There are many elements that push a divorce down the contested path – emotions, lack of awareness of finances, failure/inability to plan a future, and adverse behavior by a spouse are just a few. For example, sometimes a case remains contested merely because the emotions of a divorce overwhelm a party's ability to see the future. For others, a mere lack of knowledge as to what the assets are prevents a party from being able to fairly divide assets. Unfortunately, you are not always in control of these factors, which can be especially troubling for a party that is ready to move forward with their life post-divorce. Depending upon your unique situation, these concerns must be addressed in order for the case to move forward to resolution.
How you Settle a Contested Divorce
Just because your case starts out contested, it does not mean that it has to remain that way. For cases involving a lack of information, the solution is easier. Find the relevant information and share it to a level that both parties can gain comfort that they understand what they are dividing and where they are headed. For cases involving emotional challenges, the path towards resolution can be more difficult. Fortunately, there are several options to resolve disputed issues within a divorce in formal and informal ways including settlement conferences, mediation, and either (or both) early case and late case evaluations.
Concerns About Costs and Length of Time
Contested divorce by nature can be a longer and more expensive process. Cases can drag out months and even years and the cost for a contested case can be staggering - often resulting in one, or perhaps both, wasting some or all of the marital estate fighting about various issues that need to be resolved.
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