Greater Atlanta Divorce Law
Just as there are certain criteria for getting married, the state of Georgia also has certain requirements for getting divorced within its boundaries. Like other states, Georgia’s Divorce Laws allow for “no-fault” grounds, although other grounds (cruelty, adultery, etc.) may be invoked. In other words, neither party must prove the other one was at fault for the marriage’s failure. In Georgia, at least one party must have been a Georgia resident for at least six months before filing for the Divorce.
When a marriage is ending, it can be one of the most difficult times in an individual’s life. A person is asked to face a major life change and at the same time expected to focus on all of their future interests and the interests of their children. This is why you need counsel when going through this process. A Divorce is a civil lawsuit, and all of the laws and procedures inherent in a lawsuit will apply, in essence, it is not a small claims court, and you will need to know how to proceed through your lawsuit.
If your issues cannot be negotiated without the involvement of the courts your matter is what is called a contested Divorce and then you must proceed with litigation. If you are certain you wish to end the marriage and you cannot negotiate the issues between yourselves, then you must file a complaint that clearly states what relief you seek from the court regarding the issues referenced above. This complaint will be served on the non-filing party, and they will have thirty days to file an answer and possibly counter-claim. During this time if there are issues of custody, support, housing, and alimony you may move for a temporary hearing. This is a trial involving yourself and only one additional witness and is essentially a consolidated hearing to determine issues of urgency as the process moves forward.
Don’t go to court without an attorney, especially if the other party has counsel, you will probably not be happy with the outcome nor how you are treated by the system. There is a multitude of elements to consider in a divorce from the division of property and assets to the custody of the children. There are procedures for transferring the home and retirement accounts, and there are significant considerations when determining visitation and custody.
The first step in the divorce process is deciding if you are emotionally and financially ready for the process and how you wish to approach the process.
Many times you hear of a contested and uncontested divorce. This simply means how much of a fight is the process going to be. It is recommended if the parties can negotiate a mutual agreement that they can live with, that is what they should do; it will always be less expensive both emotionally and financially. This is what is called an uncontested matter or uncontested Divorce, one that simply does not involve litigation. The Law Offices of Sean R. Whitworth offers uncontested Divorce services which includes providing proper documentation and filing your divorce for a low fee. Uncontested Divorce is only recommended if you are 100% certain that you are clear on all subjects such as asset division and debt that occurred during the marriage. Most of the time uncontested Divorce is not recommended when young children are involved as this tends to require litigation.
Why choose Law Offices of Sean R. Whitworth as your Marietta Divorce Law Firm?
Attorney Sean R. Whitworth has been practicing Divorce and Family Law in Marietta Ga (Cobb County) and surrounding counties (Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Dekalb County, Forsyth County, Cherokee County, Bartow County, etc.) for over a decade. Attorney Sean R. Whitworth is familiar with the courts, their clerks, and the judges. Attorney Sean R. Whitworth founded his Marietta Divorce Law Firm over a decade ago and is also a community member of Cobb County himself. Attorney Sean R. Whitworth has the experience and knows how to guide you through even the most complex Divorce.
Our Marietta Divorce Law Firm charges “Flat Fees”
Attorney Whitworth implemented a Flat Fee system, to better assist his Family & Divorce Law clients and also offers free consultations for all Family and Divorce Law issues. Find out more about the “Flat Fee System”.
What is required for a Divorce in Georgia?
- The residence or last known address of the respondent
- That the applicant meets the residence requirements for bringing an action for divorce or that the applicant is bringing a counterclaim and is not required to meet the residence requirements
- The date of the marriage and time of the separation
- The name and age of each minor child, if any. If there are no minor children, the Petition should include a statement indicating such.
- The statutory ground(s) upon which the Divorce is sought
- If alimony, support, or equitable division is involved, the property and earnings of the parties, if known.OCGA §19-5-5(b).
While these are the only statutory requirements, the parties involved often include additional information. For example, a parent may state in the Petition for Divorce that there seeking primary custody of the children and that the other spouse should pay child support. Further, the spouse filing for the Divorce may list out items that are considered separate property and therefore, and not subject to equitable division.
The person filing for Divorce (Petitioner) must swear in front of a notary public that all facts in the Petition are true to his or her best knowledge. OCGA §19-5-5.
Though these are the only items required to be included within the Petition for Divorce, depending on the court it often requires that several items be filed along with the Petition including, but not limited to child support worksheets (if applicable), domestic relations financial affidavits, and case filing forms. It is never advised to get divorced on your own, especially if children are involved.
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Most courts in Georgia require mediation during the divorce process. The mediation process is informal and non-binding on the parties participating. The matters discussed in the mediation process cannot be used in court, but the parties are expected to act in good faith in attempting to resolve the matter. This is simply a process in the contested Divorce that allows the parties an additional opportunity to consent to some or all of the issues involved in their Divorce. Many times this is beneficial as the parties have litigated for some time and the realities of their particular situation are becoming much clearer.
If this process is unsuccessful there will be a full trial and this trial could take hours or days depending on the complexity of the issues involved. Remember, Georgia is a no-fault state, which means that the court is not determining if you are getting a divorce, the court is determining how property and children will be divided based on equitable determinations and current statutes. Sadly, all of these issues need to be considered while an individual is trying to figure out how they will move on with their lives, this is why you should never go through this process nor enter this system alone.
Marietta Divorce Law – Standing Order
Often people wonder if they should wait to file their divorce and one issue to consider is the issuance of the standing order. A standing order is an order issued by all Superior Courts in Georgia at the time of filing of a divorce action. What this order essentially does is protect the property, utilities, asset, and children of the parties as they begin the sometimes contentious process of divorce.
The courts realized that many issues are common in all divorce matters and will by necessity need to be ruled on as the situation evolves. Often people attempt to leave the jurisdiction with the children or they decide to disconnect utilities and insurance policies. Often people decide to stop paying mortgages or other necessary obligations.
Because of the lack of follow-through on these above-mentioned obligations, the courts began issuing a general order that is attached to the complaint which clearly states that none of the above shall occur. The importance of this is that it protects you immediately upon service on the defendant. It provides an avenue of relief through a contempt action and serves as notice that vindictive behavior will not be tolerated. The insurance policies will not be canceled, the 401K plans will not disappear, and the children will not be removed from the home. However, if you wait to file your action, this protection will not be there.
For more information about Divorce contact us to schedule an appointment. Our flat fee rates can be found here.