Under the best circumstances, ending a marriage can be both emotionally and financially stressful but for some may be a positive step in the right direction. In addition to the emotional and financial stress, a divorce can impact other aspects of your personal and professional life and that of your children and extended family.
In Georgia, before a divorce can be granted, the Court must ensure that issues of Alimony, Equitable Division of real and personal property, Legal and Physical Custody of any minor children and Child Support have been resolved. Once the division of personal property has been ordered by the Court or agreed upon by the parties, the division of personal property such as 401Ks, retirement accounts, and pensions may be necessary through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Our attorneys will make every effort to achieve the desired outcome and utilize all methods of resolution to protect your interests first.
Alimony is monetary support paid by one spouse to – or on behalf of – the other spouse during divorce. There is no absolute right to alimony and its payment will be based on many factors, including the financial need of the spouse requesting alimony and the ability of the other spouse to pay. In addition, the length of the marriage, the established standard of the marriage, conduct and behavior during the marriage, the parties’ health, education and capacity to earn and fully support her/himself and the division of marital property and debt, may be considered when awarding alimony. If awarded, alimony may be paid in monthly payments over a period of time or may be awarded in a single, lump sum payment. To enable a spouse the ability to defend and contest the issues presented during divorce, the Court may also award attorney’s fees as a form of alimony.
In divorce, the Court has jurisdiction to determine the “equitable interest” of either spouse in the real or personal property owned, either in whole or in part, by the other spouse. An equitable division or a parties’ equitable interest in property is not necessarily 50/50. When allocating or dividing assets and debts acquired during the marriage, an equitable division does not require an equal division but rather a fair one.
QUALIFIED DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER (QDRO)
A “Qualified Domestic Relation Order” (QDRO) is a domestic relations order that is found in a divorce agreement. This order provides clarity on who is entitled to receive a predefined portion of the ex-spouse’s retirement plan. The timeframe of the retirement plan that is usually up for dispute is any assets gained from the beginning of the marriage to the time of the divorce.
The issues presented in a Contested Divorce are diverse and may be complex depending on the case. In addition to the emotional and financial stress that may be encountered, in a Contested Divorce the legal process can also seem long and confusing further adding to an already stressful situation. Because the parties are unable to achieve resolution, a Contested Divorce may require a temporary hearing, mediation, discovery, and trial before the issues are fully resolved. Therefore, there are several factors that may influence the outcome of your divorce such as: the length of your marriage, whether there are children, and the amount of assets acquired and debts accumulated. Our experienced attorneys may utilize various methods to increase the likelihood of resolving your case before going to trial and ensure that your interests are protected. As the issues presented in a Contested Divorce are usually complex, a Contested Divorce is typically handled by a retainer and hourly billing method.
An Uncontested Divorce occurs when the parties agree to resolve all marital issues, including child custody and support, prior to litigation, through an executed Settlement Agreement. In most cases, the parties are not required to appear in court and using our experienced attorneys to prepare and file all the necessary legal documents will save time, financial resources and minimize stress. Our attorneys will properly advise you to ensure that your interests are fully protected and that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of an uncontested divorce as well as every aspect of the settlement. By amicably resolving the marital issues without litigation, many of our clients are able to preserve a positive relationship after divorce and, if minor children are involved, they are able to foster a positive co-parenting relationship for the children.
Once all marital issues have been fully resolved and your case has been filed, our attorneys will also monitor your case and seek a Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce from the Court. In most cases, an Uncontested Divorce can be finalized in approximately 45 days after your case is initially filed. Since the parties have agreed to resolve all issues, our attorneys can anticipate the time required and can handle the case economically minimizing attorney’s fees and costs associated with the case.