The following information is a list of Frequently Asked Questions concerning divorce in the state of Georgia.  We hope these FAQs are helpful, but this information should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from an experienced Georgia divorce attorney.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can a lawyer help in a Georgia uncontested divorce?

Divorce can be an emotional time for everyone involved. Many couples prefer to end their marriage with an uncontested divorce or divorce mediation. “Uncontested” means the couple can agree on all issues, for example, where children will live, how to divide assets and debts, and whether child support or alimony will be paid. An uncontested divorce can be filed quickly and economically, saving years in the court system and thousands in attorney’s fees. When a couple already agrees on how to end their marriage, Coleman Legal Group, LLC prepares paperwork including required parenting plans and child support worksheets. We give the guidance needed to get divorced with as little stress and expense as possible. Many divorcing couples start with financial troubles. Moving from one household to two creates further strain. An uncontested divorce can be the quickest, easiest and most economical way to part so everyone can move on with their lives.

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What is a marriage?

Traditionally marriage is a civil contract that exists between two people of the opposite sex. In the past, marriage was considered to be between people of opposite genders. However, the times are changing, and same sex marriages are now being considered in some states. Only in very few states are same sex marriages actually legal. To be “capable of contracting”, both persons typically must be of age (18), or have consent from a parent. Different states have different statutes on the “legal age” for marrying. The individuals must be unmarried and not divorced within the past six months. Common law marriage is only allowed in a small number of states. In a common law marriage, the individuals do not have a marriage ceremony and never obtained a marriage license to get married. Basically, a common law marriage requires an arrangement between the people (of opposite sexes) to act as husband and wife. This agreement can either be made by conduct or by words. The people involved must represent themselves (act in a way to appear to be married) to others as being married. For example, if they use the same name, call each other husband and wife, have children together, open joint bank accounts, and live at the same residence, all of these “indicia” of being married may be sufficient.

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What is common law marriage?

Common Law Marriage is a term which generally meant that if you lived with someone, considered yourself married and held yourself out to the world as a married couple, then you were considered married under the concept of “Common Law Marriage”. To be considered married under this theory, you did not need to have gone through a wedding ceremony. If you were indeed married under this theory, you remained married until a court granted you a divorce. In Georgia, this concept was eliminated as of January 1, 1997. However, if you were married under this theory prior to January 1, 1997, you may still be considered married under Georgia law.

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What is a divorce?

A divorce is the term used for the legal termination of a marriage. When requesting a divorce, each spouse is required to state a reason for wanting to terminate the marriage. This happens when filing divorce papers in court, and reasons given are referred to as grounds for divorce. If a couple is “common law” married, they must get a formal divorce to end the “relationship.”

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What is an annulment?

An annulment is basically the process of voiding a contract of marriage. With an annulment, the contract of marriage is treated as if it never happened. Usually, an annulment can only happen if the marriage contract suffers from some type of defect. Some of these defects could include no parental consent for an underage party, an individual lacking the mental capacity to understand the contract, or “fraud in the inducement” of the marriage contract. In any case, an annulment can only be granted to the innocent party. There are no “no fault” annulments.

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What is a legal separation?

Legal separation is a status of the court where the individuals remain married but divorce-like actions are taken by the court. For instance, the court sets the rights and liabilities for each party in regard to property, debts, child custody, child support, child visitation, and alimony. Sometimes, legal separation is referred to as “separate maintenance”. The action of legal separation cannot be later changed into the status of divorce, and if a divorce is later desired, then new legal action would have to be taken.

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Is my marriage valid?

If you meet the legal requirements of being able to form an enforceable contract with someone (i.e. you are of age, you are not under the influence of drugs, etc.), you enter into a contract to marry, and you consummate the marriage, your marriage will likely be considered valid. Certain obvious exceptions exist, of course, such as when an individual tries to enter into an existing marriage while still married to another. A lawyer can give you a more complete explanation if you are concerned that your marriage may not be valid.

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Is divorce easy?

The divorce process can be complicated or simple, based in large part on how you and your spouse interact. The more the two of you can agree upon, the easier (and less costly) it will be.

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In Georgia, do you have to get a divorce in court?

Marriage is a legal bond, and if a person desires a divorce, he or she has to get the courts involved. The court will be used to issue a summons against the other individual involved, and then, the person seeking the divorce will have to appear in court to give evidence. Typically, if the case is not defended, a divorce can be a relatively easy process. A divorce can be quick and uncomplicated; however, this is usually not the case when children are involved or when there are disputes over property.

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Does the Court have or need to be involved at all?

Yes. The Court will have to either determine the issues, or, if all issues are agreed upon, the Court will need to approve the final result. More importantly, only the Court (not the legislature or the mayor or governor) has the authority to grant you a divorce and thereby free each party to marry again.

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In Georgia, what grounds do I need for a divorce?

In Georgia there are thirteen (13) grounds for divorce. One ground is “irretrievably broken” (also known as the “no-fault” ground) which has become the most common (and least contentious) ground for divorce. The remaining 12 grounds for divorce are considered the “fault” grounds.

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Do I need to prove “fault”?

No. You may seek and obtain a “no-fault” divorce in Georgia.

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What is a “no-fault” divorce?

To obtain a “no-fault” divorce (irretrievably broken), one party must simply prove that, to them, the marriage is over. This can be proven through sworn testimony of one party, even if none of the “fault” grounds exist.

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What is a “fault” divorce?

To obtain a “fault” divorce which is neither required, nor necessarily advantageous, one must establish that there was some misconduct by one of the parties which actually caused the divorce. An example of such misconduct is adultery. Adultery in Georgia includes heterosexual and homosexual relations between one spouse and another individual. Other “fault” grounds include desertion; mental incapacity at the time of marriage; impotency at the time of marriage; force or fraud in obtaining the marriage; conviction and imprisonment for certain crimes; mental or physical cruel treatment; habitual intoxication or drug addiction; and mental illness.

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What happens if both individuals are at fault in a fault divorce?

Usually, when both spouses are found to be at fault, a doctrine, called a “comparative rectitude”, will be granted by the court. This document means that when both parties have shown grounds for a divorce, then the spouse least at fault will be entitled to the divorce. This was not an option forty years ago. Then, if both spouses were at fault then neither was entitled to the divorce. This later led to the concept of comparative rectitude, because it was considered absurd to not let a couple get a divorce.

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What is a legal separation or separate maintenance?

In Georgia, you are legally separated if you are no longer engaging in marital relations and you consider yourself to be in an actual state of separation. You can be separated even if you are living in the same household as your spouse. To file a case for divorce, you must be in such a state of separation. The court will not grant you a “legal separation”. Rather, you must swear that you are in an actual state of separation and then the court can grant a divorce or an Order for “Separate Maintenance”. “Separate Maintenance” is a lawsuit which may be filed in Georgia to address all issues which could be addressed in a divorce case except for the granting of a divorce. Oftentimes people file a case for Separate Maintenance instead of a Divorce for differing reasons. Some of those reasons include religious or moral opposition to divorce or a desire to remain married for a legal benefit (to maintain insurance, social security, etc.) or other various reasons which a lawyer can discuss with you in detail.

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What are the advantages of divorce mediation?

For couples who do not already agree on all issues, divorce mediation is one way couples can work out their differences so an uncontested divorce may be filed. Mediation works so well, with over 80 percent of couples reaching agreement, that most courts require couples try mediation before a Judge will listen to the case. Coleman Legal Group, LLC assists the husband and wife in reaching an agreement that works for their individual situation.

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Do I need to live in the state of Georgia to get a divorce here?

Yes, generally, at least one spouse must be living in Georgia and have lived in Georgia for at least six months.

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In Georgia, what if we still live together when I file for divorce?

That is fine, but spouses must be considered “separated” in a legal sense. Spouses may generally be considered separated even if they live under the same roof as long as they are not having sexual relations.

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How do I actually file for a divorce in Georgia?

The person seeking the divorce (the “plaintiff” or “petitioner”) must file a document in the appropriate Superior Court. This document is called the “complaint” or “petition.” The complaint contains information concerning the marriage such as current living arrangements, children of the marriage, description of marital assets and debts, and the specific reason(s) for seeking divorce. A copy of the complaint will be served on the other spouse (the “defendant” or “respondent”) by a sheriff of the appropriate county, or that spouse may acknowledge service by signing a specific document in the presence of a notary public.

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Where do I file for divorce?

Generally, a complaint for divorce should be filed in the Superior Court of the defendant’s county of residence or, if the defendant no longer resides in the state of Georgia, in the county of the plaintiff’s residence. With the defendant’s consent, or if defendant had previously lived with plaintiff and has been gone for less than 6 months, the complaint may be filed in the plaintiff’s county of residence.

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I just received a complaint for divorce from my spouse, now what?

Quickly contact and consult a family lawyer. You have thirty (30) days to “answer” the complaint in writing. The answer allows you to give “your side of the story” and to admit or deny each claim in the complaint. You may also file a “counterclaim” and seek a divorce in response to your spouse seeking a divorce.

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Can I get the court to help me immediately?

Either spouse may request a temporary hearing where issues of child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, debts and possession of property may be resolved on a temporary basis until final resolution. The judge will issue a temporary order that applies only until the time of the final trial. The temporary order may also prohibit the transfer or selling of assets, or prevent one party from interfering with the other party, or from interfering with the party’s children.

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What if there is family violence?

Call the police. Additionally, either a lawyer, or a social agency can assist a party in filing a lawsuit to prevent family violence. The court can immediately address issues such as temporary use of a home and restraining orders even if the parties are not married.

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Will a judge or jury decide my case?

If parties are not able to resolve their issues by mutual agreement, questions of child custody, visitation and attorney’s fees can only be determined by the judge (not a jury). However, the judge or, if one of the parties requests, a jury, will resolve the financial issues of the marriage (i.e., division of property, division of debts, alimony and child support). Both spouses may introduce evidence by their own testimony and may also summon other witnesses to the final trial. The decision returned by a judge or jury is written into a court order that is binding upon both parties. At any temporary hearing, only the judge (not a jury) makes the decisions.

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What about my children?

Typically, until a court ruling or agreement, married persons share custody. The judge will try to fashion a custody plan which is in the “best interests of the child.” The judge will consider many factors including the age and sex of the child, and the ability of each parent to care for and nurture the child. A child who has reached 14 years of age may generally choose which parent will have custody. A child who is age 11, 12, or 13 may speak to the judge, but the judge is not required to follow the child’s wishes.

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Can I share custody?

Yes. The court can award joint custody instead of sole custody. There are two types of joint custody: (i) Joint legal custody, where both parents have equal rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child; and (ii) joint physical custody, where physical custody is shared by the parents in such a way to assure the child substantially equal time and contact with both parents. In awarding joint custody, the court may order joint legal custody, joint physical custody or both. Regardless of the label, the parties should attempt to agree upon (or the court will decide) who has the right to make a decision affecting a child if the parties cannot agree.

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What are “custody seminars?”

Many courts now require that parties to a case involving minor children attend a seminar to help them cope with the ramifications of the case for children. You should check with the court system in your county to see if this applies to you.

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What are my (or the other person’s) child support obligations?

In Georgia, both parents can be required to provide assistance to their children until a child reaches the age of 18 years if not in high school, graduates from high school if eighteen (18) years or older, reaches the age of 20 years and is still in high school, dies, marries, is emancipated or joins the military, whichever event occurs first. The non-custodial parent will generally be required to provide a reasonable amount of child support to the custodial parent to assist with living expenses. Child support may also include health insurance, payment of medical and dental expenses, and life insurance.

Child Support Guidelines are in effect in Georgia. The guidelines are located in the Official Code of Georgia in section 19-6-15. A calculation will need to be made to determine the appropriate amount of child support. The amount can vary based on various factors including time the non-custodial parent spends with the child(ren), the ages of the child(ren), day care costs, medical costs, education costs, significant income or debt of either party, and obligations to another household. Each year the legislature considers revising these guidelines, so check with a lawyer to be sure these guidelines are still in effect at the time your case is filed. There is a good chance these laws will change by the time your case begins.

Additionally, the court will look at the budget of each party. Each party is required to prepare a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit. The court can then balance the income and expenses of each party when determining the appropriate level of child support (and/or alimony).

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What about college?

The court cannot force parents to pay for college expenses. However, parents can agree between themselves to pay support beyond the age of 18 and/or to pay for college expenses.

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What is alimony?

Alimony is a support payment by one spouse to another which, based upon various factors may be appropriate in a particular case. Alimony is generally not available to a spouse who caused the dissolution of the marriage by their adultery or desertion. Alimony may be for a limited time period or until the spouse receiving alimony dies or remarries, or may be paid in one lump sum. Again, the court will review the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit when determining the issue of alimony. Factors the court will consider in determining alimony include the length of the marriage; health of each party; assets of each party; and the contributions of each party to homemaking, child raising, and career building of the other party.

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What happens to “our” possessions now?

Marital property is generally all property acquired during the marriage, except for that property received by gift from a third party or by inheritance. Each spouse is entitled to an “equitable” (which does not mean equal) share of all marital property acquired during the marriage. There is no set formula or percentage amount used to divide marital property; however, credit may be given to a party who has contributed “separate” or “premarital” property to the marriage. Georgia case law sets forth a complicated formula to determine how the contribution of “separate” property to the marriage is to be handled. Contact a lawyer to discuss this matter if it is an issue in your situation.

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In Georgia, how will the court orders be enforced?

Court orders for money can generally be enforced by garnishment, attachments of property or by a contempt action. Custody and visitation orders may be enforced in a variety of ways from contempt applications to warrants for wrongfully taking or withholding a child.

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How long will the whole process take?

It depends. If you reach an agreement on all issues, the divorce is considered “uncontested,” and may be granted 31 days after everything is filed (barring a change in Georgia law; check with an attorney as laws change and this time period is constantly subject to change). If disagreement exists regarding any matter involved in the divorce, the divorce will be obtained when the case reaches the court, which can take many months or even years depending on the court’s schedule. Of course, if you reach an agreement while the case is pending, you can submit that to the court almost immediately and the case will be over and the divorce will be granted.

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My spouse and I agree on all matters concerning the divorce, do we still need a lawyer?

Hiring a lawyer, even when parties are in agreement on all terms, will ensure that all matters which should be covered in a divorce are addressed. Acting without a lawyer could end up being a costly error, both to the parties and to their children. Also, a lawyer may only represent one party, so each party should consult with a lawyer of their own choosing. Even if you agree on all issues, you may not recognize or realize potential, even unintended pitfalls which a lawyer may help you avoid. However, Georgia law does not require that you have a lawyer and if you can navigate the legal system and file the appropriate documents while following the applicable rules, it is possible to file and complete a divorce without lawyers involved. This is known as proceeding “pro se.”

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How long does a divorce normally take?

Every divorce is different, which means the circumstances are different for everyone, so the time for each divorce will vary. First, most states require that the parties be “residents” of the state. Each state sets its own minimum “waiting period” for a divorce to go from filing to a final decree of divorce. Typically, a divorce will take anywhere from 30 days to a couple of years. When a judge signs the divorce decree, then the divorce is officially final. In some states, the individuals involved may not marry again until 6 months after the decree has been signed.

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What are some good questions to ask a divorce attorney before choosing which one to hire?

Before hiring a divorce attorney, there are some questions you should ask him or her to help you decide if this is the best lawyer for you and your case.

1. How much experience do you have with my type of case?

2. What kinds of resolutions can my case have?

3. How long do you think it will take before my case is resolved?

4. What is your fee, how much do I pay up front, and how often will I be billed?

5. How much do you think this entire process will cost me?

6. How often will I be in contact with you? Your staff?

7. Will anyone else be working on this case with you?

8. Are you going to try to settle my case, or are you going to take my case to trial?

9. Which approach will be better for my case (mediation or arbitration)?

10. Will any unexpected cost be involved?

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How do divorce attorney fee structures work in Georgia?

Most divorce attorneys tend to charge by the hour. Some attorneys get an “up front” deposit for fees to be drawn from, or for expenses. Some other types of fees that lawyers commonly charge include flat fees, contingent fees, or fees based upon “performance.” Usually, these other types of fees will not be present with a divorce case. The hourly rate will usually depend on the attorney’s experience, but some other factors include operating expenses and where the practice is located. Also, a good, experienced attorney will probably be able to give you an estimate of how much your case will cost. If you are charged a flat fee, be sure to ask what this fee covers.

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Can we both use the same attorney when going through a divorce?

One attorney cannot ethically represent both individuals involved in a divorce case. This is usually because a divorce or legal separation action involves two people with complete conflicts of interest. An attorney can represent one spouse and the other can go unrepresented; however, this usually gives an advantage to the spouse who is being represented.

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What is the difference between a divorce and a legal separation?

Basically, the procedures for a divorce and a legal separation are the same. The same actions are taken for both, and the cases are filed in the same way and go through the court system in the same way. In the end, for both divorce and legal separation, judgments will be entered that divide assets and debts. The judgment determines the financial obligations for each party, and will establish the placement and custody rights for children involved. A legal separation is different from a divorce in a few ways. First, if you get a legal separation then you cannot remarry anyone until you actually get a divorce. Furthermore, in some state, after the divorce, you must wait 6 months or longer to remarry. Also, if you want to get back together with your spouse, then you just dismiss the legal separation. If you are divorced and want a reconciliation, then you would have to get remarried. Getting remarried cancels the divorce agreement and settlement.

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How does the court usually divide property in a divorce case?

In some states, there is a presumption in divorce cases that all assets are divided equally. In others, no such presumption exists. In most cases property accumulated during the marriage is also divided equally, but there are some exceptions to this rule. If the property was inherited or was a gift to a particular party, then the piece usually will not be split as long as the property is not mixed with marital assets. Or, if one of the individuals owned a piece of property before the marriage, then the court would not have the discretion to divide the property.

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What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a court order used in divorce proceedings that allow couples to divide retirement assets without incurring taxes and penalties. For example, if one spouse has a 401k, a QDRO allows some of the 401k funds to be moved into the spouse’s retirement account without anyone incurring taxes or penalties. It allows the nonworking spouse access to retirement assets and maintain their preferred tax status.

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What does the term “maintenance” mean, and how will it be determined?

Maintenance, commonly called alimony, is a form of spousal support. Maintenance is different for every case, and it is based on a number of factors. The major factors include the length of the marriage and the difference in income between the two parties. For example, if a couple has been married for a number of years and one spouse makes a considerably larger salary, then it is likely that the court system will order the higher paid party to pay maintenance to the other. The court will then determine how much is to be paid and how long the payments will go on.

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In Georgia, do I need an attorney if I want to file for a divorce?

No, a divorce attorney is not needed when simply filing for a divorce. However, if your divorce is complicated (such as involving children or the division of substantial assets or property) then it is in your best interest to hire the best divorce attorney you can find (for your local jurisdiction) in order to have your case carried out in the most beneficial way. A divorce will involve a number of complex issues, and since a divorce is final, it is good to have an attorney’s advice before you enter into any agreement that may be a problem to your long-term interests.

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What are the first steps taken in court for a divorce or a legal separation?

The first step when trying to attempt a divorce or a legal separation is filing a Summons and Petition. A Summons is a legal document that will notify the other individual involved, and it will tell them about their responsibility to respond back to the document. Then, the Petition is designed to asserting your claims against the other party in the divorce, and outlines what you will be requesting from the court. Other documents will then be issued, and these include an “Order to Show Cause” and an Affidavit of Support.

The Order to Show Cause (sometimes called a “Rule Nisi”) provides notice of a hearing to determine the issues involved. Then, the Affidavit is signed by the spouse who has filed for the action, and it may ask the court to grant various types of temporary relief. These documents are then given to the other party involved, and served as divorce or legal separation papers. Then, the rest of the procedure (such as waiting periods, percentage of salary for child support, etc.) will depend on the state or county in which the documents are being filed.

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What is the difference between an annulment and a divorce?

Both are procedures that dissolve a marriage. An annulment treats the marriage contract as if it never happened, and sometimes people desire an annulment to avoid the stigma attached to the word “divorce.” Others prefer to have an annulment because it is easier to remarry in their church. Grounds for an annulment will vary some from state to state. Annulments usually take place only after a few weeks or months following the marriage ceremony, and typically there are no assets or debts to split and no children are involved. Long-term marriage annulments do sometimes occur, and the courts often split up assets, as they would in a divorce. Certain religions may be more tolerant of annulments then divorces. Children from an annulled marriage are not considered to be illegitimate.

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What are some grounds for an annulment?

In most states, two reasons a couple could get an annulment are “misrepresentation” and “fraud.” An example of this would be if one party failed to tell the other of his or her inability to conceive children, or one failed to tell the other that he or she was actually married to someone else. “Concealment” is another grounds for seeking an annulment. This would be if a partner hid the fact that he or she had an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or if the person concealed the fact that he or she was a convicted felon. Also, refusal or the inability to “consummate the marriage” (have sex) is a reason a couple could want to get an annulment. A misunderstanding is also grounds for an annulment. For instance, like one partner wanting to have children and the other one not wanting children.

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What are the four different kinds of separations?

The four types of separations include trial separation, living apart, permanent separation, and legal separation. Many of these actually sound very similar. A trial separation is when the couple decides to live in different places for a test period. Couples who do this are trying to decide whether or not to become separated permanently. Living apart is when the parties reside in different dwellings. These parties might not have any desire to get back together. Permanent separation is when a couple decides to split up, and this often follows a trial separation. Legal separation is when the court rules on the division of property, child support, child custody, visitation, and alimony, but does not grant a divorce. Again, some religions sanction (discipline or punish) parties “of the faith” who divorce. Hence, a separation may be more acceptable.

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Can a spouse prevent the courts from granting a divorce?

It basically depends on what type of divorce the other spouse is asking for. A no fault divorce cannot be stopped by the other individual. If the spouse not seeking the divorce objects to the other spouse’s request for a divorce, then that in itself is grounds for an irreconcilable difference. A “fault” divorce, on the other hand, can be challenged by the spouse not seeking the divorce. The individual will have to go to court to prove that he or she is actually not at fault. If proven, then the “fault” divorce could be defeated.

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What are some other defenses to a divorce?

Some other defenses that can be used in a divorce include collusion, condonation, connivance, and provocation. Collusion is where spouses agree to say that one was at fault for the divorce when really no one was at fault. The couple decides to do this in order to avoid the long period of separation time required for a no fault divorce. Later, one spouse may change his or her mind and no loner want the divorce. Then he or she might allege collusion as a defense. Condonation is when, for example, a wife sues her husband for divorce because of his adultery, when all along she knew he was committing the act, and she really did not challenge his behavior. If she “took him back,” and they had sexual relations again, the spouse who permitted the reconciliation can’t still maintain adultery as a ground for divorce.

This means she condoned his behavior, but then later tried to use the reason against him to win the divorce. The husband could then use condonation as a defense. Connivance is when on spouse sets up the other to “entrap” the other into some sort of wrongdoing. For example, if a wife invites her spouse’s mistress to their house, and then leaves to go on a trip for a few days. If she sues for a divorce on these grounds, then the husband could use connivance as his defense. Provocation is the enticing of one spouse to do a certain act. If a husband abandons his wife and she sues, then the husband might defend the suit on the grounds that the wife provoked the abandonment.

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Are defenses used often in a fault divorce?

Defenses are risky and rarely used in a fault divorce. One reason is that proving a defense might require witnesses. Also, trials are very time-consuming and expensive. Another reason is that usually, your efforts will come to nothing. Typically, the court will grant the divorce because the courts do not want to force people to stay married if they do not want to be. It may be better to save your time and money not to defend a fault divorce case, absent substantial financial issues, or a custody dispute that cannot be resolved.

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Does one have to live in the same state that they are seeking a divorce in?

Every state requires the individual seeking the divorce to be a resident of the state. Usually, the spouse has to have lived in the state for a certain period of time. Every state is different and the time frame will vary. It could be thirty days to one year. You must be able to prove that you have lived in the state for the specified length of time. South Dakota and Washington are exceptions; they do not specify a period of time that one has to live in the state before seeking a divorce.

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Can a spouse move to another state or country, and then file for a divorce?

Yes, this is possible if that individual lives in the state for the required length of time. The divorce will be valid even if the other spouse lives in another state or country. The decisions the court makes about the case may not be valid unless the spouse who does not live in the state either consented to the jurisdiction of the court, or is legally “subject to” the divorce court’s “power” over the divorce.

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What is the duration of residency, in order to obtain a divorce, in Georgia?

In Georgia it six (6) months or One Hundred Eighty (180) days prior to the filing of the petition for divorce.

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What is a family court, and how does it help speed up the divorce process?

Divorces can take a long time to resolve, and many can take a couple months. Basically, every case is different. However, when going through a divorce, many decisions (like ones involving children and property) need to be resolved quickly. You do not have to wait a long time for these issues to be resolved. Usually, when a couple separates, their main issues are not resolved in a full-scale trial. Instead, the problems are resolved in a hearing before a judge. In many states, the hearings are held in a special court called a “family court.” The family court’s hearing is less formal and less intimidating than the standard court hearing. The hearing are very fast, usually you only have a few minutes to talk, so know exactly what you want and what you want to say before going to the hearing.

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What is a temporary order?

A temporary order is an order from a judge regarding divorce-like matters, even though a formal divorce may not yet have been filed (or service on the other party). An example of this would be when a husband leaves his wife, and she has no money for food, or to take care or her children. If the spouse in need files for a temporary order, the request will be put on a faster track, and the hearing will be “expedited,” maybe within a few days. There are many types of temporary orders, and all of them may take place before the divorce action has been filed. Spouses can ask for a temporary order to restrain a spouse from coming near or having contact with the other party.

Temporary orders can establish child custody, child visitation arrangements, child support payments, attorney’s fees, and alimony payments. A temporary order can also be set up so one spouse does not sell valuable assets before the divorce, or one can be set up to give possession of the family home or car to one of the parties. The temporary orders are valid until the spouses arrive at their own long-term settlement through the divorce process.

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What is some good advice regarding children and child custody at the beginning of a divorce?

First, be “civil” with each other around the children. They can be greatly damaged by improper actions and behavior in their presence. At the beginning of a divorce process, or when one spouse moves out of the house, it is best to visit court on that day or the soonest day possible. The reason for this would be to resolve any very important issues such as children and child custody. If the children are in your care, then you should immediately file for child custody and child support. This is actually a precaution so that you will be awarded the proper amount of child support, and the court will recognize that the children are in your care. By doing this, you will most likely be awarded child custody at the very beginning of your case. Also, by taking this action, your spouse cannot successfully claim that the children had been kidnapped. The court would dismiss this claim if you provide the proof that you did file for custody and child support.

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What is the best action to take if the divorce involves possible violent behavior from the other spouse?

It is possible that a divorce could cause one party to behave very badly or very violently. Every case is different, but if you fear your spouse might harm you, your children, or your property, then it is best to take the appropriate actions. These actions include moving to a safer location and getting a temporary restraining order to keep the individual away from you and your children, except as permitted by the court. It will also be best to close joint bank accounts and credit card accounts. Remember that you should only take these actions if it is very necessary. Otherwise, these actions, if not called for, will probably cause bad feelings and, you might lose the chance to resolve issues “amicably.”

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When would it be necessary to hire a lawyer for a divorce case?

There are many reasons why a lawyer might be hired in a divorce case. You would need a lawyer if there is any child abuse, spousal abuse, or sexual abuse involved in the relationship. Having a lawyer would help you get the best arrangements in order to protect yourself and your children. It is also best to hire a lawyer when the other spouse involved has already hired an attorney. This is especially true when the case was many financial issues involved. Also, it is good to hire a lawyer, when the other spouse already has one, so that you will not be put at a disadvantage. You can ask the judge for an adjournment (postponement) so that you will have some time to hire a good divorce attorney.

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Georgia Areas We Serve
Our Georgia lawyers and attorneys handle cases in the following cities and communities: Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Duluth, Johns Creek, Milton, Cumming, Marietta, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Gainesville, Midtown Atlanta, Norcross, Lawrenceville, Kennesaw, Duluth, Buckhead, Dunwoody, Vinings, Smyrna, Buford, Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward, Decatur, Grant Park, East Atlanta and the Virginia Highlands.

Our Georgia lawyers and attorneys frequently handle cases for clients residing in the following counties: Fulton, Gwinnett, Forsyth, Cobb, DeKalb, Henry, Cherokee, Douglas, Carroll, Coweta, Paulding, Bartow, Hall, Barrow, Walton, Newton, Rockdale, Henry, Spalding, Fayette and Clayton.

Coleman Legal Group, LLC’s Georgia lawyers practice in the areas of Divorce, Family Law, Immigration, Bankruptcy, Estates, Wills, Trusts and Business Law. We have two convenient offices located at:

Alpharetta Georgia Office
5755 North Point Parkway
Suite 52
Alpharetta, GA 30022

Atlanta Georgia Office
659 Auburn Avenue Northeast
Suite 117
Atlanta, GA 30312

Copyright © 2014 | Coleman Legal Group, LLC | All Rights Reserved. Coleman Legal Group, LLC • 5755 North Point Parkway, Suite 52 • Alpharetta, GA 30022 • 770-609-1247 DISCLAIMER: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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