Ending a marriage is a major life decision. When it becomes clear that a marriage cannot be saved there are many steps that need to be taken in order to resolve the situation as civilly as possible.
During this emotionally stressful time it is important to consider how to best protect your interests. Selecting the right divorce lawyer in Berkley Lake, GA is critical for both high asset individuals and those with complex cases.
There are several areas that must be settled during the divorce process. These include property distribution, child custody, child support and alimony.
The divorce lawyers at Sauls Law Group, LLC are committed to aggressively defending your interests before the court and negotiating the best possible divorce settlement for you.
The Divorce Process
The divorce process begins with filing a petition at the court. If you are the spouse seeking the divorce, you file the petition in the county where your spouse lives. If your spouse has already moved out of your home for less than six months, you can file in the county where you live. If you are filing for divorce in Berkley Lake, GA, you file the petition at either Gwinnett County Superior Court or Hall County Superior Court, depending on where you live.
Your divorce petition must include the reason for the divorce. Georgia has thirteen grounds for divorce. Twelve of the grounds claim that one spouse is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. These are:
- Cruel treatment
- Fraud, duress or force in obtaining the marriage
- Pregnancy at the time of marriage by a man who is not the husband, unknown to the husband
- Willful and continued desertion
- Imprisonment for a sentence of two years or longer
- Habitual intoxication
- Habitual drug addiction
- Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of family relationship
- Mental incapacity
- Incurable mental illness
The thirteenth ground for divorce is that the marriage is irretrievably broken with no possibility of reconciliation. This also called the no fault ground for divorce since it does not hold either spouse liable for the demise of the marriage.
The majority of divorces are processed using the no fault ground. No fault divorce without complex issues to settle can be completed in as few as thirty days from the date of filing.
In addition to the grounds for the divorce, the petition will include information about you and your spouse. This includes details about current living arrangements, any children of the marriage, and marital assets.
Your spouse will be served a copy of the divorce complaint by an officer of the court, a process server or the county sheriff. Once your spouse has received a copy of the complaint they have thirty-one days to file a response in court. Your spouse can contest the divorce petition or any claims made in the complaint.
Divorce for Individuals with High Net Assets or Complex Issues
When individuals have complex issues or a high net worth, negotiating a final divorce settlement can be challenging. Several issues have to be carefully addressed during the divorce process. These issues include property division, alimony, child custody and child support.
Georgia law requires that marital assets be equitably distributed during a divorce. It is important to remember that equitable distribution is not the same as equal distribution.
Marital property includes real estate, commercial business holdings, bank accounts, investment funds and retirement accounts accumulated during the marriage.
It also includes debt acquired by both spouses during the marriage. Creditors may seek repayment from you for your spouse’s debts, even after the divorce. Therefore, it is imperative that you have the proper wording and language to protect you.
When marital property is distributed you may end up with your asset base depleted. Therefore, it is vital to obtain sound legal counsel from an experienced divorce lawyer who will aggressively protect your interests.
Alimony, also called spousal support, is money provided on a continuing basis to your spouse by order of the court. The judge may award spousal support in order to preserve the lifestyle currently enjoyed by your spouse or because your spouse may be unable to sustain themselves financially following the divorce.
There are several ways alimony can be paid and each one has its own tax structure.
Child custody is awarded by the court based on what is in the best interest of the child. Custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody.
These designations indicate which parent will house the children, which parent will make decisions for the children and which parent will have visitation rights.
Both parents remain responsible for providing for their children following the divorce. The judge will decide how much a spouse must contribute in financial support for the material needs of the child based on formulas in state law and the financial resources of each parent.
Each step of the divorce process requires solid legal strategy and expert negotiation in order to represent your interests. The divorce lawyers at Sauls Law Group, LLC will carefully craft your divorce settlement to protect your high net worth.