If you need to file for divorce in Bartow County, Georgia, or if you have been served with divorce papers, you need to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to ensure your interests are protected. At Gentry Law Firm LLC, our team is prepared to help you through every step of this difficult process.
There are several issues you need to be prepared to discuss with your attorney, which are outlined below.
There are several grounds for divorce in Georgia. Although many states allow married couples to obtain a “no-fault” divorce, usually after a year of separation, Georgia does things a little differently.
The grounds for divorce in Georgia include:
- The parties are within prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity;
- Mental incapacity at the time the marriage was entered into;
- Impotency at the time the marriage was entered into;
- Force, menace, duress, or fraud at the time the marriage was obtained;
- The husband did not know that the wife was pregnant with another man’s child at the time the marriage was entered into;
- Either party has deserted the other for a period of one year or longer;
- One of the parties has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude and will face incarceration for at least two years;
- Habitual intoxication;
- Cruel treatment of one spouse by the other;
- Incurable mental illness;
- Habitual drug addiction; and
- The marriage is irretrievably broken.
Your Bartow County divorce lawyer will know what types of evidence and documents must be presented, depending on the case.
The Divorce Process
To file for divorce in Georgia, one party, called the plaintiff, must file a document called a complaint.
The complaint lays out the plaintiff’s grounds for divorce. For example, is the plaintiff alleging adultery, or that the other party has a drug addiction? The Court needs to know why a married couple is filing for divorce.
In addition, the complaint lets the court know what the plaintiff wants in the divorce. For example, does the plaintiff want custody of the children? Does he or she want to keep the marital home? These matters will be detailed in the complaint.
Your attorney files the divorce complaint on your behalf if you are the plaintiff. This document is normally filed at the courthouse located in the county in which you and your spouse resided.
Once the complaint has been served on the other party, that party has the chance to file an answer. In the answer, the other spouse lays out his or her arguments. This allows the Court to see which matters are contested if any.
Once these initial documents have been filed, a hearing may be scheduled so that a Judge can decide temporary matters, such as child custody and support, and which party may reside in the marital home.
The parties are free to settle any of the issues in their divorce case with the assistance of their attorneys. Any matters that remain uncontested may go to trial at the end of the case. However, most cases end up settling without going to trial.
During a divorce, the court must decide which parent obtains custody of any children that the parties share. The Courts will examine a number of factors in making this decision.
For example, which parent has been the primary caretaker of the children? Which parent takes the children to medical appointments, makes meals, and deals with school-related matters? Does either parent engage in behavior that could be dangerous to the children, such as taking drugs or drinking excessively?
The parties may provide witnesses and other types of evidence that support their arguments for custody.
In some instances, the Court may award joint custody to the parents. Both parents are allowed to make decisions for their children in this type of arrangement. However, it is expected that both parents will be able to agree when making these decisions.
To calculate child support, the gross income of both parties must first be determined. Both parties must submit proof of income, such as tax returns and pay stubs. The amount of child support that will be awarded is based upon a number of factors, such as:
- Whether one of the parents is self-employed;
- Whether either parent has another existing child support order;
- Whether either parent has other children living in the home;
- Childcare costs;
- Health insurance costs;
- Whether there are special expenses either parent must pay for the children; and
- Any other factors the court deems relevant to the calculation.
With the assistance of an attorney, all of the relevant evidence for a child support argument will be presented.
Alimony, or spousal support, may be awarded in some divorce cases. The court carefully considers the following factors when determining whether an alimony award is proper:
- The standard of living the parties enjoyed during the marriage;
- The length of the marriage;
- The age and health of the parties;
- The financial resources of the parties;
- If needed, the time required for either party to complete education or training to find work;
- The contributions of each party to the marriage;
- The earning capacity, separate estate, and liability of the parties; and
- Other factors the court deems appropriate.
Your alimony attorney at the Gentry Law Firm LLC will carefully examine your case to support your claims for (or against) alimony.
Division of Marital Property
All of the property that was acquired during the marriage must be equitably divided during a divorce. This does not necessarily mean that the marital assets will be divided equally. Rather, the court looks at a variety of factors to determine how to fairly divide the parties’ marital estate.
Marital property may include:
- The marital home and other real estate;
- Stocks and bonds;
- Retirement accounts ;
- Businesses; and
- Debts, such as credit card debt and student loans.
Generally, inheritance and gifts are not subject to division in a divorce. However, some exceptions may apply. Having a Bartow County divorce lawyer on your side to protect your rights is essential, especially if you and your spouse have acquired numerous assets during your marriage.
Ready to discuss your divorce? Call us today
At the Gentry Law Firm LLC, we have decades of experience in divorce cases throughout the state of Georgia. Our excellent reputation in the legal community helps us obtain favorable results for our clients. To schedule a free in-person or Zoom consultation, call 770-425-5573 today.