Sometimes couples drift apart for no specific reason, and they decide they would both be happier living separate lives. In other cases, one spouse’s behavior becomes intolerable to the other. No matter where you and your spouse fall on this spectrum, a no-fault divorce might be appropriate.
Seeking a no-fault divorce means you do not have to prove your spouse did something wrong to cause the marriage to fail. Choosing the no-fault option often means the divorce process moves more quickly and with less heated emotions than if you must prove marital wrongdoing.
Speak with an Atlanta, GA no-fault divorce lawyer when you are considering leaving your spouse. A capable family attorney can explain the process and help you decide how to proceed.
Georgia offers both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. The Official Code of Georgia § 19-5-3 describes the legal reasons a couple could cite when seeking a divorce. Family law permits divorce when a couple can prove one or more of thirteen legally justifiable reasons for dissolution.
The fault-based grounds include desertion, cruelty, and adultery. There is one no-fault ground—the marriage is irretrievably broken. When the spouse who files for divorce (the petitioner) cites this reason for seeking a divorce, the other spouse (the respondent) could agree in their court papers. Doing so means that neither spouse must present evidence of the other’s misconduct.
An Atlanta attorney might cite no-fault and fault-based grounds when preparing divorce papers. Doing so is often a negotiating tactic. It signals that the spouse is willing to settle the divorce without a trial but will go to trial and prove misconduct if the other spouse is not willing to negotiate a satisfactory settlement.
Sometimes people confuse an uncontested divorce with a no-fault divorce, but they are different. An uncontested divorce means no one filed for divorce until the couple agreed on all issues, and there is nothing for the court to do except issue a divorce decree. A contested divorce means someone filed for divorce before the couple reached a settlement agreement.
Many couples have contested divorces while citing no-fault grounds. When your divorce is contested, you and your spouse must decide on property division, alimony, and arrangements regarding your children before the family court grants a final decree. If you have not agreed by the trial date, the judge or a jury will decide these issues.
When you and your spouse both cite no-fault divorce grounds in Atlanta, your attorney can focus on negotiating a fair settlement rather than collecting evidence to prove fault. Even if one of you was at fault, citing no-fault grounds makes it easier to avoid an expensive and stressful trial and conclude the divorce quickly.
If your spouse cheated, abused you or your children, or is habitually drunk, you might want the world to know what you put up with and why you want a divorce. The sentiment is understandable, but it is not always wise to follow through on it.
Divorce proceedings are public, and proving personal misconduct in court means introducing private information into a public setting. The other side will counter by raising anything wrong that you did or try to make you out to be a liar. Fault-based divorce trials can get ugly, which is hard on both spouses and devastating for the children.
If your spouse cheated, for example, an Atlanta attorney can use it as leverage in property division and alimony negotiations without seeking a fault-based divorce. Handling the situation this way keeps private information from the public and shields the children from possible embarrassment.
Divorce is always stressful, but no-fault divorce can make the process easier. It allows you to focus on what the future will look like rather than dwelling on what your spouse did wrong in the past.
Even if the divorce is your spouse’s fault, there are ways to hold them accountable without proving their misconduct in court. Speak with our firm’s Atlanta, GA no-fault divorce lawyer about your legal options.