Your Divorce Attorney
Serving Gwinnett, Forsyth, Hall, Barrow & Dawson Counties
Never Deal With Divorce Alone
For some people, going through a divorce is one of the hardest things they’ll ever face. It’s a time that involves a full range of emotions and can leave you feeling raw and alone. Frankly, it’s a terrible time to be making some of the major decisions necessary by yourself. Having the support of solid legal counsel is always a good idea during the divorce process.
The divorce attorneys at Carter Pilgrim have the experience and knowledge you need about the process of divorce and what needs to take place to have a successful outcome. Call us for a free consultation today.
The Main Legal Aspects Of Divorce
For the couple going through a divorce, it can seem like a whirlwind, but from an attorney’s point of view, we not only have the advantage of understanding the laws and legal system, but we’re able to be objective on your behalf. Our attorneys help you navigate the issues that need to be resolved before going before a judge.
Here are the main issues that need to be determined in a divorce:
Going through a divorce when there are small children involved can make a difficult process even more so. That is exactly why it is important to define the specific details about the minor children prior to divorcing. Issues surrounding child custody include:
- Who will the children live with?
- What are the rules of visitation (especially around holidays)?
- How is monetary support handled?
These are just some of the details that need to be worked out around child custody. In Georgia, there is a difference between physical custody and legal custody.
Physical custody addresses the issue of how time with the children will be allocated to each spouse. Legal custody has to do with who will make the final decisions for the children.
Along with child support, there need to be decisions made by both spouses regarding alimony. In some marriages, the spouses may make the same amount of money whereas, in other marriages, one spouse may make significantly more than than the other.
Alimony is the financial payment of one spouse for the support of another while living separately. If alimony is feasible or likely, the amount would naturally depend upon factors such as the needs of one spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay alimony. This is often a point of contention between divorcing spouses.
Our divorce lawyers can definitely provide legal advice on this issue.
It can seem like a daunting task because there are often so many emotions associated with our belongings, but when it comes to dividing up assets during a divorce there are two important things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to define what is and what isn’t a “marital” asset. While this involves “who gets what”, it is more associated with “who had what” prior to the marriage.
The second thing to keep in mind is that in the state of Georgia, there is no requirement for an equal division of property in a divorce. This means one spouse can definitely keep or give away more than another.
When considering asset division, this involves more simple belongings. During a divorce, it’s important to consider and discuss how to divide assets such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, credit cards, vehicles, debt, and more.
The topic of asset division can be a difficult issue to address and often requires quite a bit of negotiating to get a peaceful resolution. Let our attorneys help guide advise you on this difficult aspect of your divorce. Contact us today.
Once the child custody issues have been decided, the next logical step is to decide the financial arrangements that need to be made for the children. Usually, this is money that is paid from one parent to the other to cover various costs associated with child-rearing.
The amount of child support depends upon several factors such as the number of children, the comparative income of the spouse, etc. It’s also important to make arrangements for special expenses that can arise during childhood such as braces, medical expenses, summer camps, etc.
Our law firm can help you determine how to configure and request a reasonable amount when it comes to child support.
The Four Pathways To Divorce In Georgia
If you are considering going through a divorce, it’s important to be as knowledgeable as possible. Here are the four different ways to arrive at a divorce agreement in this state:
This is the fastest and easiest type of divorce but it isn’t possible in every situation. An uncontested divorce is when you and your spouse agree on how everything should be settled- child custody, alimony, and how assets should be divided.
With a signed divorce agreement prior to filing for divorce with the courts, an uncontested divorce can take as little as 31 days from the date of filing. Clearly, this is the least expensive way to go through a divorce. It’s still a good idea to have an attorney review your agreement to make sure you are not leaving anything out or possibly giving up some of your rights.
If you and your spouse have come to an agreement on most aspects of your divorce but there are some things that you still have disagreements about, it might be helpful to consider using a divorce attorney to help with the negotiations. There is also the option of going to divorce mediation.
One of the most common questions we get at our law firm is “Do I need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce?” (in my county). The answer is it’s a good idea. It’s certainly possible to fill out all the necessary documents that go before the judge in divorce proceedings, but if there is a mistake, it will delay the process at the very least.
If you and your divorcing spouse can come to an agreement about the main points above, it’s wise to hire an experienced divorce attorney to complete the court documents so that there are no issues as the case goes before a judge.
The second most common question we get about an uncontested divorce is “How long does the process take?” Obviously, this depends upon the court document and other factors, but the average time it takes (pre-COVID) was 45-60 days. Now, it’s a bit longer than that.
This would be the natural opposite of an uncontested divorce where you and your spouse do not agree on one or more issues related to the divorce process.
Whatever the reason for the divorce, it can be tough to come to an agreement on things like child custody, child support, alimony, and how the assets get divided. The problem here is that if you two can’t come to some kind of agreement, then it becomes the job of the attorneys, mediators, and the judge to decide things on your behalf.
Obviously, contested divorces take anywhere from several months to many years to resolve and cost far more in attorney and court fees.
Many people aren’t as aware of this option as a contested or uncontested divorce, but a collaborative divorce begins when both spouses agree not to go to court. This is an excellent option when the spouses can’t come to an agreement on how to divorce but still want to avoid an aggressive, contentious court proceeding.
The entire process is handled through third parties. There are a series of steps among third parties such as financial professionals for both sides about assets and debts while child custody experts such as therapists help resolve issues related to the children.
The results of these meetings lead to a final divorce agreement that is agreed upon and signed by both spouses before being submitted to the court like any other divorce proceedings.
Arbitration is another path to consider when spouses struggle to come to an agreement on their own. This process involves both spouses entering into an arbitration agreement which empowers an arbitrator to make the final decisions about all the major points of contention.
A big advantage of using arbitration is that it allows the spouses to keep their documents private which is perfect when there are considerable assets involved. More often than not arbitration can occur fairly quickly which can shorten the divorce process and help get to a final agreement.
Achieving an Amicable Divorce in Georgia
In an amicable divorce, spouses who are ready to end their marriage work together to navigate the process without hostility. Founding partner Amy M. Carter focuses her practice on divorces and child custody actions. She understands that divorces are a life-changing event. She is one of only a few lawyers in North Georgia to receive an invitation to the exclusive Amicable Divorce Network.
During this process, both spouses still seek to protect their custody rights, property, and financial interests. Unlike in contentious divorces, the couple agrees to approach this with a willingness to compromise and keep an open mind. Those who want to seek amicable divorces should prepare as much as possible before the process begins.
Ms. Carter will help you analyze all of your shared and personal property and debts. She will help you assess which property is important to you and which property you would be willing to give up. Hiring an experienced attorney for your divorce will help you make informed decisions during the process.
How To Find The Right Divorce Attorney
Everyone knows that going through a divorce can be emotionally and financially draining. When you and your spouse decide that it’s time to get a divorce, it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Even when you and your spouse agree to have an amicable one, you still need a lawyer representing your best interests during the process.
Founding Carter/Pilgrim attorney Amy M. Carter has helped many clients work through their divorces. Whether you anticipate your divorce to be amicable or contentious, she can help you navigate the process while fighting for your best interests as well as your rights. We recommend speaking to a skilled family law lawyer before you file any papers or accept any agreements. Contact Carter/Pilgrim today to schedule your initial consultation.
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Our Service Area
We are located in Suwanee Georgia, but we defend clients throughout Gwinnett County, Forsyth County, Hall County, Barrow County, Jackson County, and Dawson County. Contact our Atlanta law firm as soon as possible to learn how we advocate for your best interests.