Georgia divorce lawyer

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
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.

Divorce Mediation

How Do I Prepare for Divorce Mediation?

Go into Divorce Mediation with an open mind

Much of the candor and effectiveness of a Divorce Mediation centers on your relationship with your spouse. While, ideally, your premise in collaborating is working as a unit one more time, lingering dynamics may prove inhibitive. If you and your ex are able to agree on one thing, it’s probably a readiness to get it over with. You probably only want to be there inasmuch as you’ll be able to finish earlier. The following are suggestions on how to proceed efficiently.


Prepare all your financial documents and questions for Divorce Mediation

In order to get going right off the bat, make sure you have prepared all your financial documents and inquiries. These include all assets, from accounts and investments to property and loans. Digital forms may be acceptable as well as originals or copies. You may find it helpful to prepare an Excel spreadsheet or a regimented Word document. Organization is an excellent way to ensure that you make the most of the process..


Keep your composure in Divorce Mediation

As you are getting ready to face your spouse and decide on a number of important facets of your future, you’ll want to maintain a cool head and manage your composure. Divorce is a challenge for most and you should be ready for an emotional rollercoaster even if you believe you’re even keeled and unworried. No one goes into a marriage expecting or looking for a divorce; if you’re mentally willing, you won’t be going through it much longer.


Seek assistance in Divorce Mediation if needed

To that end, you should avail yourself of a support network if you feel you would benefit from one. This may range from a meeting with a therapist a possibly a friend or family member. Of course your attorney is a crucial person for you to contact for all questions and concerns about mediation. The aim of the Mediation is for everyone to be as contented as possible.  It is not meant as an opportunity for everyone to get in their last licks. Go into mediation knowing what you hope to achieve and knowing your bottom line.


Be cooperative and compromise in Divorce Mediation

Divorce Mediation isn’t a guarantee of success. The format is effective if you communicate with purpose instead of yelling aimlessly (or at your spouse). Be realistic instead of assuming everything will go your way. A successful divorce is a two-way street, even if you’re going in opposite directions. If you need a conversation with your Mediator away from your spouse, ask to caucus. Expect your spouse to receive equivalent attention.


Hire a lawyer if you need another opinion

Although a Divorce Mediation is meant for you to have a platform for your most desirable outcome, it doesn’t have to be a solitary exercise. If you want professional advice and consultation––beyond the Mediator who is supposed to be a neutral in the process––research and hire a qualified attorney for guidance. Make sure you find one who is happy to promote the Mediation, but will not be afraid of a trial when necessary. A solid lawyer will have a few suggestions on negotiating and leverage. At the same time a solid lawyer will not be afraid to tell you when they believe the other side’s bottom line is ridiculous and when you would be better off taking your chance in court. The lawyers at The Schachter Law Firm, LLC specialize in all aspects of divorce, including Divorce Mediation.  You can reach the firm at (912) 233-8883.


Determine how much money you’ll need

If you already organized all your documents and made a list of desirable outcomes, figure out the amount of money you will require to fulfill such outcomes. Construct a list of monthly expenses, which includes anything you or your child(ren) will need. These expenses should take into account your health insurance, your home, your vehicle––anything you would reasonably spend money on. Make sure it is well thought out and comprehensive. You can even find templates online to assist you in your preparation.


Speak now while you have a chance

Leave no stone unturned. In other words, make sure you voice anything important in your outlook to your attorney if you retain counsel. If you think of any problems, now is the time to address them. Conversely, be mindful that your partner will have his or her own opinion even if you vehemently disagree with it. As much as you may benefit from consulting an external perspective, you are the one who is best suited to determine what you deem an acceptable outcome. Don’t settle if you don’t know if you can live with the outcome.  Once you sign off on a mediated agreement they are very difficult to set aside.  Courts in Georgia only do so on rare occasions.

Divorce Mediation

Is Divorce Mediation Right For Me?

Why Would I Consider Divorce Mediation?

Everyone knows a divorce is a challenge. Whether it is a mutual decision or one-sided––whether you are a parent or a child, everyone is affected in an undesirable manner. While divorce is often an optimal course of action, it is never pleasant to leave the one you once believed you would remain with for the long haul. Nevertheless, divorce is indeed the best alternative for many people. Consequently, it is essential to make it as easy and painless as you can.


How is it Different From a Trial?

The first thing is to decide whether the divorce will enter mediation or a trial. Mediation is an excellent option if you think you’ll be able to compromise with your partner. A mediation is usually a voluntary exercise in which you and your spouse convene with a neutral third party in order to determine an agreement you think will offer a more mutual benefit when compared to a court hearing. A mediation is a way of saving energy and expenses.


Challenges of Divorce Mediation

That isn’t to say a mediation is a walk in the park. You’ll face a number of complicated choices and you may end up with a few concessions you are a little sour on. Nevertheless, mediation is generally a voluntary act, which means you and your imminent ex are aiming for a collaborative division. In Chatham County, Georgia, and in some other jurisdictions the courts actually require parties to attempt mediation before the parties are permitted to proceed to a final hearing. Mediation can be a useful measure if you aren’t merely looking to get as much as you can out of the settlement.


Reasons for Divorce Mediation

If your divorce is amicable, you may not look for as many assets as you can. Instead, you may want the split even––or else fair. On the other hand, you and your ex may have animosity, but a mutual affection for a child. In the event of custody designation, you may incorporate the will of your child or children in a way you wouldn’t if one of you won everything. A mediation is a responsible commitment if you are doing what is best for your children.


Divorce Mediation is Less Expensive

Mediation is often less expensive than a full-blown hearing, so you’re better able to finance everything without dipping far into your or savings and you do not have to dwindle what you may have otherwise been able to utilize for yourself or your children. But only agree on mediation if you honestly intend to give it your best effort. Engaging in mediation if you have no intention of any compromise will elevate enmity and extend the entire process. In the event of collaboration, you may share your fees––even if you decide on individual representation.


The Cost of Mediation

While a divorce may cost upwards of $20,000 and even more (it can cost between $50,000, $200,000, or even more if the case goes to a trial, particularly a jury trial), mediation is far less expensive and is usually less than $10,000 by the end of the csse. In a mediation, even if you do not receive everything you want, you will have a specific and guaranteed outcome––no surprises. If a divorce goes to court, you may get nothing.  The results in court are determined by a judge that does not know you and won’t think twice about making major decisions that will impact you for a long time thereafter.


Conclusion: Why Mediation

Mediation is a collaborative endeavor, it is more civil and giving. Mediation is not for everyone, however. If you would like what is best for your children and want to save money, if you think you’re better off with control over the end result, and if you feel as though you can get along with your ex one more time , at least to some extent, you may be better off in a divorce mediation.  The lawyers at The Schachter Law Firm, LLC specialize in all aspects of divorce, including Divorce Mediation. If you wish to consult with an attorney, please call (912) 233-8883.

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 […]

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.