It is not an easy decision to end a marriage. However, when you have exhausted all hopes of reconciliation, it’s time to prepare for the divorce process.
There are many steps that must be taken in order to bring a marriage to a satisfactory close. The first step is to retain a knowledgeable divorce lawyer in Tucker, GA to represent your interests. This is vitally important if you have high value assets or your case has complex issues that need to be resolved.
Issues that need to be settled as part of the divorce process include property distribution, division of assets and debts, alimony, child custody, parenting time and child support.
Sauls Law Group, LLC is dedicated to aggressively representing your interests before the court and securing the most favorable divorce settlement possible.
Steps in the Divorce Process
The divorce process starts when one spouse files a Complaint for Divorce with the Superior Court. If you are the party seeking the divorce, you file for divorce in the county where your spouse resides. If your spouse has been living somewhere other than the marital residence for less than six months, you can likely file for divorce in the county where you reside. If you live in Tucker, GA your Complaint for Divorce will be filed with the Gwinnett County Superior Court.
You must include the reason for your divorce in the complaint. Georgia law recognizes thirteen grounds for divorce. Twelve of these grounds hold one party liable for the breakdown of the relationship. They are called fault grounds and must be proven in court. Fault grounds in Georgia are:
- Cruel treatment that causes a spouse to fear for their safety
- Purposeful desertion for at least one year
- Intermarriage between close relatives
- Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage
- Impotence at the time of the marriage
- Pregnancy by another man at the time of the marriage without the knowledge of the husband
- Fraud, duress, threatening behavior or force used to make one party consent to marriage
- Conviction of a crime with a prison sentence of at least two years
- Habitual intoxication by alcohol
- Habitual addiction to a controlled substance
- Incurable mental illness
The last ground for divorce is called the no fault ground. It holds neither party liable for the dissolution of the marriage and asserts that the marriage is irretrievably broken with no hope for reconciliation. No fault divorce is the most common option in Georgia for couples with irreconcilable differences. No fault divorces that do not have complex issues that need to be settled are typically processed by the court faster than fault divorces.
The divorce petition will contain information about you and your spouse including the grounds for the divorce, your current living arrangements, any children produced by the marriage and your marital assets.
An officer of the court or the county sheriff will serve your spouse with a copy of the Summons, Complaint for Divorce, any relevant Standing Orders, and any other Motions filed prior to the date of service. Your spouse then has thirty days to file a written response to the complaint. Your spouse can also contest the grounds for the divorce or any claims in the complaint.
High Net Asset and Complex Divorce Cases
Issues such as property division, division of assets and debts, alimony, child custody, parenting time and child support can all present complications in divorce cases. This is especially true for individuals with high value assets. These issues must be handled carefully during the divorce process in order to arrive at a favorable settlement.
Assets accumulated during the marriage must be equitably distributed in accordance with Georgia law. Be mindful that equitable distribution is not the same as equal distribution.
Marital assets include physical property such as residential homes and commercial real estate. Financial assets include savings, stock portfolios, business investments and retirement funds.
Equitable distribution of marital property involving high net worth spouses must be carefully negotiated in order to safeguard your asset base. An experienced divorce lawyer can provide you with a sound legal strategy that protects your interests.
Alimony is ongoing financial support provided by you to your spouse after a divorce. The judge may award spousal support in your case if they are concerned about your spouse’s ability to sustain their lifestyle following the divorce.
Spousal support can be paid in several ways and each method has its own tax consequences for the payor and recipient.
Child custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody determines access to the child’s medical and school records, as well as which parent has final decision making authority over certain areas of the child’s life. Physical custody designates which parent’s household the child will primarily reside in after the divorce. The judge will also decide on a parenting time schedule for the noncustodial parent. Each of these decisions will be based on the best interests of the children.
Parents’ responsibility to contribute to the care of their children doesn’t end when spouses divorce. The judge will determine the amount a parent must contribute in monetary support for the material needs of the child based on the resources available to each parent in accordance with the statutory Child Support Worksheet. The Child Support Worksheet can be complicated when determining whether certain deviations are appropriate. An experienced divorce attorney can draft and argue for the implementation of certain deviations which benefit the parties and the child and alter to overall amount of support to be paid.
Divorce cases involving high asset individuals are often high stakes situations. Each step in the divorce process demands expert legal strategy and thoughtful negotiation in order to protect your assets. The highly qualified divorce lawyers at Sauls Law Group, LLC will judiciously craft your divorce settlement to shelter your high net worth to fullest extent possible.