Couples rarely make a sudden decision to divorce. Although a specific event might trigger a determination to separate, in most cases, one or both parties have been dissatisfied for a while.
There are various steps to take when considering divorce. Preparation can lead to a faster and less expensive dissolution process.
Before getting a divorce in Georgia, you should confirm that you meet the requirements to do so.
You must meet the state’s residency requirements if you plan to file for divorce here. You or your spouse must reside in the state for six months before filing a divorce petition.
Another step to take when considering divorce is deciding whether you will file a fault-based divorce or a no-fault divorce. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 19-5-3 provides 13 grounds a spouse could cite for divorce. They include the following:
You also could declare the marriage irretrievably broken with no possibility of reconciliation, which is the only no-fault ground the state allows. It does not require you to prove your spouse committed misconduct.
Sometimes there is an advantage to citing a fault-based ground. However, pursuing a fault-based divorce often increases conflict and could lead to delays. Our trusted attorneys can help you decide the best option for your circumstances.
You must be separated before filing for a divorce. Although living in separate homes proves you are separated, you could continue to live in the same house together if necessary. In that case, you should have proof that you occupy different parts of the house or at least sleep in different rooms.
You and your spouse should assess your income and debts as well as estimate the value of the assets you share. These include the family home, other real estate, retirement accounts and pension plans, investments, and personal property like vehicles, furniture, and collections. You must divide your marital property fairly, but the split need not be equal. Our attorneys can help you determine what is fair in your specific case.
Each spouse’s income plus their share of the property must leave both spouses able to maintain a reasonable standard of living. If not, one spouse may be entitled to spousal support if the other spouse has enough income. Getting a handle on these issues before filing for divorce can reduce stress and help you set reasonable expectations for a property settlement.
Divorce deeply affects children. Deciding early in the process how you and your spouse will co-parent can ease the transition to separate households.
You and your spouse must develop a detailed parenting plan, and the judge must approve it before granting your divorce. The plan must describe where the children live, set a visitation schedule with the other parent, and establish who they will be with on holidays. It also must explain how the parents will make decisions regarding the children and which parent will pay child support.
Thinking through these issues before you begin working on the parenting plan can help you pinpoint areas of agreement and disagreement with your spouse. Working through the conflicts with a family attorney can produce a workable plan that supports your children as they adjust.
A divorce requires detaching from your spouse emotionally and financially while helping your children maintain healthy, strong relationships with both of you. Having clarity about what to expect is beneficial for everyone.
Our Georgia divorce attorneys can explain the legal process and the practical steps you must accomplish to achieve a divorce. We can guide you through the process, help you meet your goals, and ensure you are well-positioned to begin life on your own. Schedule a meeting today to discuss your situation and learn more about what steps to take when considering divorce.