Family and Domestic Law Questions
A totally uncontested divorce means that no children are involved and that both Parties have agreed on all the “issues,” including how all assets, investments, property, and personal belongings will be shared or divided equitably. Sometimes the judge is willing to take the agreement and make what is called a “judgment on the pleadings.” If so, you may not have to make a physical appearance before the judge in a court of law.
If all issues of custody, extent and details of visitation, division of property, child support, etc. have been agreed upon before you hire an attorney, this may qualify for the lower, uncontested divorce rate. If additional legal work is required to cover and protect the children’s best interest, then an hourly fee will be arranged.
This is a good question with a hard answer. What you don’t want is an attorney who is going to fight so hard with your spouse’s attorney that you wind up with the used couch that was worth $50 on the used furniture market but also with thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees. If that is okay with you, then by all means get an attorney that failed anger management classes and wants to pick a fight. It might be worth the cost if you are trying to get revenge or control. But if your goal is to keep expenses low, then work through the anger and revenge stages off the billable clock, and ask your attorney to fight for what is really worth fighting for…like custody or visitation, reasonable division of assets and debts, and reasonable child support. Spend the money you saved fighting over the couch for a nice beach vacation or a home entertainment center.
Call an attorney and ask for a consultation to see what it will cost and what he or she thinks is likely to be the outcome financially and materially for you if you decide to get a divorce. Tell him or her enough information so that you can get advice about protecting yourself if it comes to divorce. Then consider marital counseling to determine if you are really ready for divorce or need emotional guidance to be sure. A good therapist will see you with or without your spouse and help you come to a decision with what is best for you.
No. The same amount of work goes into the process, whether it is a “separation” or a divorce. In Georgia law a separation is actually called a “Petition for Separate Maintenance.” If you plan to live legally apart, this document is filed in court and proceeds in court on the same timetable and in the same fashion as a divorce. However, whereas after a divorce the marriage is over and you are free to move on, filing a Petition for Separate Maintenance does not terminate the marriage. If you later decide to file for divorce, you would again pay an attorney to file for the divorce.
There really is no set answer to this because it depends on several variables, including but not limited to the degree to which the divorce is contested, the county, the judges, and the client. Call us for a free consultation about your individual case and one of our attorneys can answer this question after hearing your case.
Most of the judges do require the parenting classes, and until your petition for divorce is filed and a judge assigned to your file, you will not know whether you must take this class. In our experience, however, parenting classes are not a punishment inflicted by the courts. They serve to help parents help their children during this difficult time in the lives of the parents and children.
No. Many do, but not all, and some counties are more apt to do this than others. Whether children are involved also is taken into consideration.
If a Divorce Petition, an Acknowledgement of Service, and a third form are all filed in an uncontested divorce, a divorce could be granted after 31 days. However, court schedules are such that even uncontested divorces take longer than 31 days. The judge has control over the time he or she takes to complete a ruling on the matter.
Yes. A divorce is filed, but the Defendant is served by an ad in the official county newspaper. This requires a prior court order. You must swear under oath or in an affidavit that you have made a diligent search to find your spouse.
The attorney can file a Dismissal of the Complaint with the court and you are free to continue your marriage.
Many attorneys do not return any fees if a client cancels a divorce. However, with our firm it would depend upon the amount of time and work an attorney has already spent on the file.
The legal term for this is “parental alienation.” When either parent tries to create a rift in the relationship of that child with the other parent, it is called parental alienation.
The answer depends on the situation. In some cases judges can, and have, switched custody to “cure” parental alienation. Judges are taking this behavior very seriously. Parental alienation not only hurts the aggrieved parent, but also causes long term damage to the children. Call us for a more thorough discussion of the facts your particular case.
Is there a “magic” point at which alimony is automatically given during divorce procedures? Is everyone who has been married entitled to alimony of some kind? People call us daily asking this, or similar, questions; and our family law attorneys have the answer.
The legal reality is that alimony in Georgia is based on:
- financial need
- the ability of the other party to pay it
A judge will factor in these two considerations when he or she decides whether to award alimony.
Some people assume that if they have been in a lengthy marriage, alimony is automatic. It is generally true that a person in a long term marriage will be awarded alimony. We may even be able to get a person alimony if the marriage has been relatively short. However, each situation is unique and to answer the question fully, call us for your free consultation at (770) 277-4944. We can give you our opinion of your individual prospects for alimony.