Basics of Georgia Divorce Law You May Want to Know Before Meeting with A Family Law Attorney

A Family Law attorney can help you get what you deserve from your divorce.  There are basics of Georgia divorce law you may want to know even before you meet with a Family Law attorney.

Basics of Georgia Divorce Law You May Want to Know Before Meeting with A Family Law Attorney:

Here are five areas of Georgia Divorce you will want to be aware of:

  • Georgia Residency Requirements for Divorce
  • Legal Grounds for Divorce in Georgia
  • Child Custody and Visitation Laws
  • Property Division
  • Child and Spousal Support

Georgia Residency Requirements for Divorce

Georgia will not grant a divorce to a family unless at least one of the spouses has been a Georgia resident for at least six months.  Divorce for enlisted soldiers and their spouses are a bit different.  If at least one spouse has been a resident of any US army post or military reservation within the state of Georgia within the last year, the couple may file for divorce in the county adjacent to the military post or reservation.

Legal Grounds for Divorce in Georgia

Georgia divorce laws include 12 fault-based grounds for divorce as well as guidelines for a “no-fault” divorce.  A “no-fault” divorce is where one spouse states that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and is grounds for divorce in Georgia.  Oftentimes the fault-based grounds for divorce can give a spouse an advantage with respect to issues such as custody and alimony.  The 12 fault-based grounds for a divorce in Georgia are a follows:

  • Adultery (by either spouse)
  • “Willful and continued desertion” for one year
  • Conviction (and imprisonment for two years or longer) of either spouse for an offense involving moral turpitude
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Impotency
  • Discovery of incestual relationship between spouses
  • Mental incapacity when the marriage occurred
  • Marriage by force, menace, duress or fraud
  • Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband when the marriage occurred
  • Habitual drug addiction
  • Willful infliction of physical or mental pain upon the complaining spouse
  • Incurable mental illness

Child Custody and Visitation Laws in Georgia

Georgia courts begin with the assumption that a child’s best interest is best served by having a custodial relationship with both parents.  In situations of physical abuse or drug abuse, the court will often decide against joint custody.  The overarching concern of the court is to determine child custody and visitation based upon the best interests of the child or children.

Property Division in Georgia Law

Georgia is an “equitable distribution” state.  This means that spouses must divide all marital property “fairly”.   Fairly does not necessarily mean equally.

Property to be divided includes all assets the couple acquired during their marriage.  This includes gifts given to one another, as well as appreciation of property through efforts of one or both spouses.

Non-marital property includes property inherited or received as a gift from a third-party.  Non-marital property is generally exempt from division of property, though a spouse may need to prove that the property in question is indeed “non-marital”. Other issues can arise if the non-marital property was commingled with marital property, which my subsequently render all of it marital.

Child Support and Spousal Support (Alimony)

Georgia courts are not required to award spousal support.  If it can be proves that a spouse committed adultery or deserted the family, and either of these was the cause for the divorce, the deserting or adulterating spouse should not receive alimony pursuant to Georgia law.  In general, alimony is determined based on the conduct of each spouse. The receiving spouse’s decision to remarry or not to do so also has an impact.

Obligations for child support are treated independently from alimony decisions.  In general, a parent must pay child support until the child reaches 18, graduates high school, gets married, becomes emancipated, or dies. Usually, a parent’s obligation to pays child support will last until the child reaches 18 years of age or graduates high school, whichever comes first.

Other Important Factors in Georgia Divorce Decisions

Paternity issues, annulments, prenuptial agreements, and alimony in military cases are just a few of the other issues which may have a large impact on divorce decisions.  For more information, please contact The Schachter Law Firm, LLC to arrange a meeting with one of our Divorce Law and Family Law attorneys at 912-233-8883.

David Schachter’s Top 10 Divorce Survival Tips

The following represents the methodology to which David subscribes and a summary of some of the best divorce tips that David and his mentors have compiled.

 1. Not all advice is good advice. Everyone think that they are divorce experts because they themselves went through a divorce or they know someone who went through one. Keep in mind that every case is unique and follow the advice of your lawyer.

2. To find a reputable lawyer, check with reputable sources. Personal referrals are important, but because every case and client is different, objective credentials are helpful too. You can also research attorneys of any specialty on the web by viewing client reviews on websites such as AVVO.

3. Use common sense and beware of a lawyer who tells you things he or she thinks you want to hear. There are no guarantees or promises a lawyer can honestly make about the outcome of your case.

4. Chemistry between a lawyer and a client is important. Choose a lawyer that you respect. You will need to depend on that lawyer’s advice and guidance with respect to the most important issues in your life.

5. When possible avoid the impulse to be unnecessarily punitive and vindictive towards your soon-to-be ex-spouse. You most likely will still have to deal with your former spouse long after the case and lawyers go away, especially if you share children.

6. Take court mandated alternative dispute resolution seriously. Sometimes you have no choice but to fight. Often, however, trials represent the failures of the lawyers or the parties. At the end of the day, you have to pay for the trial and are stuck with the results a judge thinks is best for you.

7. Be patient. It took a long time to make your mess; it will take awhile to clean it up.

8. There is a difference between being optimistic and realistic with regard to expectations at the conclusions of one’s case. Optimists consider the best scenarios as likely outcomes too often, and frequently come away from the divorce process disappointed. Realists, usually those who accept that there is no “justice” up front, are more likely to leave the divorce process feeling like they were treated fairly.

9. A client must recognize that the consequences of some of their decisions are uncorrectable. A good lawyer will work hard to fix past mistakes, but he or she cannot always correct the consequences of bad decisions.

10. You are entitled to have your phone calls returned promptly, your questions answered honestly, and a billing statement provided regularly or upon demand.