Separating from your spouse can be an emotionally taxing event in your life, to say the least. If you are the one moving out, you may be preoccupied with setting up a household elsewhere. Additionally, if you have kids with your partner, the logistics of arranging a time with both parents can be challenging.
Some Atlanta couples choose to draft a legally binding document which lays out the terms of their separation in order to facilitate a smoother transition. Estranged spouses who wish to create a written arrangement before they separate should consider speaking with a skilled family law attorney from our team. A steadfast Atlanta, GA separation agreements lawyer can help negotiate an agreeable settlement for distanced couples.
To get divorced in Georgia, a petitioner may need to supply the court with a reason for the dissolution. Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-5-3 provides 13 legal causes of action for divorce. For example, a spouse may cite continuous abandonment for 12 months or more as grounds for divorce, or an irretrievably broken marriage.
Establishing a cause of action for dissolving a marriage allows a couple to demonstrate to a judge that they have irreconcilable differences. A separation agreement can serve as evidence of spouses’ refusal to cohabitate.
O.C.G.A. §19-5-3(b) states that a spouse who alleges an irretrievably broken marriage may not be granted a divorce until 30 days after they have served their partner with the appropriate papers. Having a separation contract in place could be beneficial during the 30-day waiting period, and an experienced Atlanta attorney can likewise provide strong advocacy for partners who are distancing themselves in preparation for a divorce.
Legal separation may be used as an alternative to marriage dissolution. A preemptive measure such as a separation agreement can save a couple time and money by avoiding a divorce trial.
State law recommends that a court use a couple’s separation contract—if it is valid—rather than fashioning another order for child custody and alimony. Accordingly, O.C.G.A. §19-5-8 prohibits family courts from granting permanent alimony to a voluntarily separated spouse who is already benefiting from spousal maintenance as agreed upon in a separation contract.
Partners who share children may form a parenting plan in their separation document, even if the terms are loose. In the same vein, a couple who files for divorce may be asked to agree to a custody and visitation arrangement. A dedicated attorney in Georgia can help estranged spouses create a child custody arrangement as part of their separating document.
If you would like to address your marital wishes in a legally binding document before you move out, a diligent Atlanta, GA separation agreements lawyer can help you draft it. Retaining a professional legal advocate may help you feel more secure as you transition into a new chapter in your life, so get in touch with our intake team to schedule a consultation.