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Divorce FAQs

Answers From a Marietta Divorce Attorney

Do I have grounds for divorce?
Under state law, you cannot simply decide to divorce and call it done. You must have a situation which qualifies as one of the grounds that are listed in Georgia Code § 19-5-3 (2012). These include:

  • Incest
  • Mental incapacity at the time of marriage, such as through intoxication
  • Impotency at the time of marriage
  • Use of force, threats or fraud to compel the other party to marry
  • If the woman is-unbeknownst to the husband-carrying another man's child at the time of marriage
  • Adultery
  • Desertion for at least a year, provided that it is willful
  • Conviction for a crime of moral turpitude with a sentence of at least two years
  • Habitual drunkenness or drug addiction
  • Domestic violence
  • Incurable mental illness
  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage

This last option of claiming an irretrievable end to the marriage is among the most common, as it provides the opportunity of obtaining a no-fault divorce. In order to request a no-fault divorce, however, the couple must have lived in Georgia for a minimum of six months before getting filing. There is no need for proving fault or wrongdoing within the marriage to get a no-fault divorce, but the couple must be separated without any form of sexual relationship.

How is alimony decided?
Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is not awarded automatically under state law, but can be sought by either party. In determining whether or not to award alimony, the court weighs the ability of the one party to pay versus the financial needs of the potential recipient. The purpose is to provide a spouse who has been economically dependent on the other spouse with the necessary means to maintain an acceptable standard of living while transitioning into single life and it may either be temporary or permanent.

How is child custody determined?
Whenever possible, the court encourages the parents to come to an agreement on child custody, but when the judge is required to intervene in the matter the factors which will be considered include each parent's emotional ties with the child, each parent's ability to provide for the child's needs and to provide a safe home environment and how to maintain stability in the child's life-all with the goal of safeguarding the child's best interests.

What is the difference between contested and uncontested divorce?
Most of the negative concepts that people have about divorce are really about contested divorce. When divorcing spouses are unable to come to agreements on the issues involved in dissolving the marriage, such as custody, visitation and property division before going to court, the judge will be called upon to rule on each matter. In this scenario, the parties-or their attorneys-will argue before the judge with the goal of securing a favorable divorce settlement. Uncontested divorce, on the other hand, occurs when the spouses manage to settle their issues outside of court.

What I do to achieve an uncontested divorce?
The attorneys at Henrickson & Sereebutra understand how important it may be for you to avoid a contested divorce, both to save time and money and to spare you, your spouse and your children the considerable stress associated with courtroom battles. Even if you and your spouse do not currently agree on the issues involved in your divorce, an attorney from the firm may be able to help you settle these matters through mediation, in which the attorney acts as a neutral third party and does not represent either spouse but acts to facilitate discussions and advises on legal questions. Collaborative divorce is another option, whereby your attorney and your spouse's attorney sign an agreement to abstain from adversarial litigation, and work to achieve an uncontested divorce through all available means.

What happens to my property and assets in a divorce?
In Georgia, property division is determined on the idea of equitable distribution, which says that each spouse will get whatever is fair and not necessarily what is an equal division of goods. Depending on the financial situation of each person, they will be awarded different assets and possibly monetary help in the form of alimony, especially if one of the spouses earns significantly less and will be in hardship due to the divorce.

There is both separate property and marital property to be considered when dividing assets during separation. Anything that was owned by one of the spouses prior to the marriage such a car, certain possessions or investments they are often allowed to keep and not split up. Anything obtained throughout the marriage relationship may qualify as marital property and must be distributed between the two parties as appropriated by a judge. There are certain exceptions during the process and it is wise that you have an educated lawyer walk you through the legal procedure, so that your money and property is well-protected.

Why do I need an attorney?
While it is not necessary to hire a legal representative in a divorce or family law case, it is highly advisable that you do just that. There is a higher likelihood that you could hurt your situation if you attempt to handle everything on your own. The laws surrounding family issues and separation can be complicated and messy. It is already stressful and complex enough dealing with your soon to be ex-spouse and family members to have to add on additional responsibility. Having an experienced attorney with you during court dates and throughout the entire process can greatly increase your chances of obtaining the results you desire.

Providing Support and Legal Aid

Any kind of family issue, especially divorce, can cause unrest and emotional stress on everyone involved. At Henrickson & Sereebutra, our experience as former prosecutors and exemplary trial attorneys can prove to be invaluable. As a strong advocate on your behalf, our creative tactics and knowledge enable us to provide you with a solid case that has been prepared with adequate investigation.

Never will we attempt to take on a case without taking the necessary time to prepare for the sake of our clients. We truly care about each and every case that we take on and will make ourselves available at all costs for each individual. Contact our office today to learn more about what our divorce lawyers in Marietta can do on your behalf!

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