Going through a divorce can be an emotionally and practically difficult time. Spouses must untangle their legal and financial lives. If they have children, they must arrange child support and decide how they will co-parent. When spouses are on the same page about the major issues they must resolve, they could seek an uncontested divorce. This method of divorcing is faster, less expensive, and less stressful than a contested or litigated divorce.
If you and your spouse are ready to go your separate ways and agree about the critical issues you must settle, talk to a local divorce attorney. An Atlanta, GA uncontested divorce lawyer can explain the uncontested divorce procedure, review your documents to ensure they meet legal requirements, and provide you with support and guidance through a challenging time.
A couple who wants to divorce in Georgia must meet the residency requirements. Either spouse must have lived in the state continuously for six months before filing for divorce.
To pursue an uncontested divorce, the couple must also agree on the reason. Georgia allows spouses to file for divorce on fault-based grounds or no-fault grounds. Most couples cite irreconcilable differences when seeking an uncontested divorce.
Besides meeting residency requirements and agreeing on the grounds for divorce, a couple must also agree on several other issues. Even if both spouses believe they are on the same page, they should be prepared for days or weeks of negotiation. Couples trying for an uncontested divorce often benefit from working with a mediator to help them reach a consensus on all the relevant issues.
Divorcing spouses must divide their marital property and debts equitably. Each individual must disclose their assets and debts to the other when negotiating property division.
If there is a valid prenuptial agreement, the agreement will control property division. If no agreement exists, the couple must decide who gets what. Everything either party acquired during the marriage is considered marital property.
The Official Code of Georgia § 19-6-1 governs spousal support or alimony. The money helps the receiving spouse set up an independent household and maintain themselves if they cannot afford the same lifestyle they had when married.
If one person makes a lot more than the other, or if one person sacrificed educational or career achievements to be a caregiver, the disadvantaged spouse could have a right to support. However, unlike child support, couples can waive spousal support if the less affluent spouse does not want or need it.
When children are involved, a divorcing couple must decide where the children will live most of the time and when they have time with their other parent. Courts expect the plan to be detailed, including which parent is responsible for transporting the children on which days, where the children will spend holidays, and whose home is listed as the primary residence for school registration.
Parents can split time with the children nearly equally, or one parent can have visitation on weekends or holidays. In most cases, judges want to see that both parents have opportunities to develop and maintain a meaningful relationship with all the children.
A judge will review the plan to ensure it supports the children’s best interests. An Atlanta attorney can work with the parents to help them design a plan likely to receive judicial approval and help with their desire for an uncontested divorce.
The parent who has the children most of the time receives child support from the non-custodial parent. If the parents share custody equally, it is still common for one to owe child support to the other. Georgia’s Child Support Guidelines can help individuals calculate appropriate support. Note that parents cannot waive child support.
Once a couple has settled all the above issues, one of the individuals can file a divorce petition. Atlanta residents would file at the Fulton County Superior Court. The spouse who files the petition is called the petitioner, and the other spouse is the respondent. The respondent can waive service of the petition, which can speed up the process and save expenses. However, it is essential to note that there is a mandatory 31-day waiting period for uncontested divorces.
Each party must file a financial declaration; if they have children, they must submit the parenting plan. The judge will review the documents and could schedule a hearing. At the hearing, the judge might ask questions to ensure each party understands the property division agreement and the parenting plan.
A Georgia uncontested divorce attorney can help a couple prepare for the hearing. Unless the judge objects to some aspect of the spouses’ agreements, which is unlikely, the judge will issue the divorce decree at the hearing or within a few days.
An uncontested divorce is faster and less expensive than a litigated divorce, but that does not mean it is simple. You and your spouse must agree on many complicated matters before a judge will issue an uncontested divorce.
An Atlanta, GA uncontested divorce lawyer can guide your negotiations, help you write your agreements, ensure they meet legal requirements, and present them to the judge. Schedule an appointment with a qualified team member of the Atlanta Divorce Law Group today.