When you are considering divorce or have already made the decision to end your marriage, if you and your spouse agree on all relevant issues, the divorce is uncontested and can move at a faster pace through the legal system. However, if you disagree on even one issue, such as child custody or how the family home will be divided, a judge or jury may decide for you in a contested divorce.
Divorce carries many variables that can add stress to an already difficult situation, such as going through the litigation process. Let our team of trusted family attorneys help you. Our decades of combined experience allow us to effectively advocate on your behalf for the best outcome. A Suwanee contested divorce lawyer will stand by you as you and your spouse work through important issues to protect your rights and best interests.
No laws or set procedures exist for judges dividing marital property in a contested divorce. However, Georgia is an equitable distribution state. In these terms, equitable does not mean the marital property will be divided equally. Instead, the judge divides assets and makes custody decisions fairly, given the spouses’ circumstances.
Some factors judges consider when determining property division:
Additionally, the judge could award a marital home to a custodial parent to provide a stable environment for the children.
Marital property is assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage, even if it is titled in only one spouse’s name, such as an automobile or bank account. Marital property also includes 401(k)s, IRAs, pension plans acquired or contributed to by either spouse during the marriage, and marital gifts.
Separate property is acquired by either spouse before the marriage or is an inheritance or gift from a third party given to one spouse during the marriage. Retaining a Suwanee attorney is the right move if you or your spouse are contesting any property distribution or ownership.
Georgia is one of only two states that allow a contesting spouse to request a jury trial, according to Georgia Code § 19-5-1. You must weigh whether you are comfortable with 12 strangers deciding how to divide marital property and how much spousal and child support to award. Twelve people may be more impartial than one judge, but if your relationship with your spouse is acrimonious, airing it to strangers may be embarrassing. Note that juries are not permitted to determine child custody. The judge retains that right.
GA Code § 19-5-1 also permits the judge to order, before a trial, dispute resolution under the Georgia Court-annexed Alternative Dispute Resolution Act. Attending mediation could allow you to settle your differences with your spouse and avoid a costly trial. A Suwanee contested divorce attorney can explain the best course of action in your case.
When you decide to end your marriage, but you and your spouse cannot agree on asset distribution, you need an ally. Our firm can be your steady influence during this trying time, guiding you toward a beneficial outcome and fighting for a fair distribution of your marital assets. Reach out to begin working with a Suwanee contested divorce lawyer.