Divorce is one of the most difficult interpersonal situations a person can face. When it becomes clear that a marriage must end there are several steps that need to be taken in order to bring the relationship to a close. This must be done with great care in order to protect your interests. There are also several things to consider when you are looking for a divorce lawyer in Peachtree Corners, GA. Choosing the right divorce lawyer is especially important for high-asset individuals with complex cases.
The distribution of property, assets and debts are vital issues that need to be settled during the divorce process. Spouses may also have to arrive at an agreement on child custody, child support and alimony. At Sauls Law Group, LLC, we negotiate the best possible divorce settlement and aggressively defend your interests before the court.
Grounds for Divorce in Georgia
There are thirteen grounds for divorce in Georgia. Twelve are fault grounds that hold one party responsible for the demise of the marriage. These are:
- Adultery by either spouse
- Cruel treatment
- Habitual intoxication
- Habitual drug addiction
- Incurable mental illness
- Intermarriage between related persons
- Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage
- Impotency at the time of the marriage
- Force, duress or fraud in obtaining the marriage
- Pregnancy by a man other than the husband, unknown to the husband at the time of the marriage
- Conviction and Imprisonment for two years or longer
- Desertion for the term of one year
There is also the no fault ground for divorce. This ground doesn’t hold either party liable for the end of the marriage. The marriage is declared irretrievably broken with no hope of reconciliation.
Most divorces are processed as no fault divorces. If there are no challenging issues concerning equitable distribution of property, child custody or support, no fault divorces typically reach a settlement faster. No fault divorces without complex issues can be settled in as little as thirty-one days from the date of filing.
You must provide the grounds for the divorce when you file a complaint at the courthouse. Those grounds must be proven to the court during the divorce proceedings.
Filing for Divorce in Peachtree Corners, GA
The person seeking the divorce in Peachtree Corners (the Plaintiff or Petitioner) must file a complaint in the county where their spouse resides. If your spouse previously lived with you but has been living outside of your home for less than six months, you may file in the county of your residence. If you live in Peachtree Corners, GA divorces are filed at Gwinnett County Superior Court.
The divorce complaint will include information about you and your spouse such as current living arrangements, children of the relationship, marital assets and debts, and the grounds for the divorce.
A copy of the divorce complaint will be served on the other spouse by the county sheriff, a process server, or another specific individual appointed by the court. This process is called “service” or “personal service” and must be completed accurately in order for your divorce to proceed.
Once served, your spouse (the Defendant or Respondent) has thirty days to file a written response to the complaint. The defendant can contest the grounds for the divorce or any other claims made in the complaint in the written response.
High Asset and Complex Divorce Cases
Property Division Divorces that are contested or that have many issues to resolve are naturally more complex. These issues include property division, alimony, child custody, parenting time and child support.
All marital property must be equitably distributed between spouses in Georgia. Marital property includes assets like bank accounts, investment portfolios and retirement funds. It also includes residential and commercial real estate and business holdings. Debt is also equitably divided among spouses.
Keep in mind that equitable division does not necessarily mean equal division, rather it means what is equitable or fair to the parties. Therefore, it is critical to retain an experienced divorce lawyer to represent your interests.
Alimony, or spousal support, is financial support given by one spouse to the other following a divorce. The court may require alimony to be paid in order to maintain the lifestyle currently enjoyed by the spouse or because they are concerned the spouse will be unable to provide for themselves. There are several types of alimony and each has different tax implications.
Child custody includes legal custody, such as legal rights to the child and the right to obtain records and make decisions on behalf of the child. It also includes physical custody, which encompasses arrangements for where children will live after a divorce, the parenting time schedule and conditions for exchanges.
The judge decides child custody issues based on what is in the best interest of the child.
Parents are responsible for contributing to the care, health and education of their children until they are at least 18 years of age. Child support is determined based upon the Child Support Worksheet which takes into consideration the parties’ income, the special needs of the child, and other information such as health insurance costs, child care costs, and extracurricular activities. It is important to have an experienced domestic law attorney assist you in preparing and advocating your Child Support Worksheet, as many of the requested deviations are discretionary and must be properly presented to the Court.
Each of these situations require thorough research, expert strategy and careful negotiation in order to reach the best possible divorce settlement. Sauls Law Group, LLC has an aggressive team of divorce lawyers experienced in protecting the assets of high net worth individuals.
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