Are you considering a divorce? Has your marriage reached the end? If so, you need an experienced Atlanta divorce attorney in your corner fighting for you and your rights.
Atlanta divorces can be a difficult and emotional process for many couples. During a divorce, you must address key issues, such as parenting time and asset division. This can cause tension as couples must untangle their lives and build a new future on their own.
For these reasons, it is important to call an experienced and skilled Atlanta divorce lawyer. Your lawyer can protect your future and your parenting rights at every turn.
Divorce and Legal Separation
If you are thinking about divorcing your spouse in the state of Georgia, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months, and you must file in the county of residency. You can either ask for a final divorce—meaning the divorce is permanent, permits remarriage, and terminates property claims—or you can ask for a legal separation.
A legal separation is not a permanent divorce, does not permit remarriage, and does not terminate property rights. Couples may seek a legal separation because their religion forbids divorce, because they are unsure of whether they want to divorce, or because one spouse needs to continue receiving health insurance from the other’s employment. No legal separation is required prior to filing for divorce.
Fault or No-Fault?
Over the years, each state has enacted legislation that allows no-fault divorce where a couple must only claim their marriage is irretrievably broken. Georgia still allows fault-based divorce as well, based on one of these 13 grounds:
- Imprisonment for two years or more for a crime of moral turpitude
- Mental illness leading to a marital separation
- Willful desertion
- Cruel treatment that endangers the life of the spouse
- Habitual drunkenness
- Confinement for incurable insanity
- The wife was pregnant by another at the time of the marriage and the husband was unaware of that fact
- One spouse lacked the mental capacity to consent to the marriage
- Consent to the marriage was obtained by force, fraud, or duress
If you allege fault, it must be proven in court, and in some cases, claiming fault will require you to wait up to a year before filing for divorce.
Georgia operates under equitable distribution rather than community property when dividing marital assets. This means that while the distribution must be fair, it does not have to be equal. There is no set formula or calculation used to divide marital property in the state, although the judge will consider the following:
- The conduct of both spouses during the marriage (i.e., if the divorce is based on adultery, the judge may take this into consideration when dividing assets)
- The length of the marriage
- Contributions to the family and financial contributions by both spouses
- The level of separate property owned by each spouse
Spousal Support (Alimony)
If the court finds that alimony is “necessary,” it can be granted to either spouse, however, Georgia does not award spousal support as the broad remedy used in many other states. Spousal support is either rehabilitative or permanent. Permanent alimony is rarely awarded unless the divorce is considered long-term. Rehabilitative alimony is meant to be a short-term measure to allow the less financially secure spouse to get back on their feet, perhaps acquiring job skills or education that enables them to be competitive in the job market. The contributions of each party to the marriage will be taken into consideration, including homemaking and childcare, as well as contributions by one spouse to the other’s education and career-building.
An Atlanta divorce can be emotional for most, so having a strong and experienced Atlanta divorce lawyer in your corner throughout the process can truly make a difference in the outcome.