Divorce Attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia
The experienced divorce attorneys at A.B. Olmos & Associates, P.C. work hard to make you feel supported at every step of the divorce process. Our team brings confidence and experience to the courtroom in all situations.
Divorce cases are complex and emotional matters. Effective legal counsel can help you navigate some of the most common divorce mistakes.
What to Consider in a Divorce Case
The first question you should ask yourself is whether or not you are emotionally and financially prepared for divorce. Planning for this life change and then choosing dedicated, reputable legal representation are the first steps in moving forward with this difficult process. We’re here to help.
When filing for divorce, one major consideration is whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. In a contested divorce, the parties disagree with how the case issues should be disposed and will likely require judicial determination of the issues. In an uncontested divorce, the parties have reached a mutual agreement and there are no disputes over the issues in the divorce. A case is also considered uncontested if the party served with divorce papers fails to file an answer.
A divorce with service by publication can be filed by an individual if the opposing party’s whereabouts are unknown. When a defendant is allowed to be served via publication, the petitioner must provide the judge with sufficient evidence that reasonable efforts were made to locate the individual. The specifications for what is considered to be a diligent search are cited within O.C.G.A. § 9-11-4(f)(1)(a).
Georgia is a no-fault based state, which means the most common legal reason for divorce is to cite the marriage as irretrievably broken with no hope of reconciliation. This dictates neither party is to blame for the marriage’s failure. The full list of grounds accepted for total divorce can be found in O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3.
As an equitable distribution state, Georgia law generally dictates that all property acquired during the marriage is subject to division. The division of assets with factor in each party’s financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage. Marital assets, property, debts and obligations are all subject to an equitable division. In Georgia, an equitable division is not necessarily 50/50.
A petition in Georgia must include:
- The residence or last known address of the respondent;
- That the applicant meets the residence requirements for bringing an action for divorce or that the applicant is bringing a counterclaim and is not required to meet the residence requirements;
- The date of the marriage and the date of the separation;
- Whether there are any minor children of the parties and the name and age of each minor child;
- The statutory ground upon which a divorce is sought; and
- Where alimony or support or division of property is involved, the property and earnings of the parties, if such is known.
As you begin this process, it’s important to have an attorney to guide you and advocate for your needs during this time.
The Process for a Contested Divorce
A contested divorce is one in which the parties do not agree on how the case issues should be disposed. It’s essential to have a divorce attorney on your side to guide resolutions during the complex proceedings of a contested divorce. A contested divorce does not necessarily equate to confrontation; there are several options we can consider when attempting to settle and resolve a contested divorce. The divorce process is generally expected to follow this timeline:
Filing a Complaint
The first step of your divorce is to file a formal complaint, or petition, in Superior Court. In this petition, you’ll include your desired outcome for the divorce: custody plans, property allocation, financial support and more.
Serving the Opposing Party
After one party files the complaint, a copy of the court-stamped documents will be served to the opposing party. The documents are then delivered and the opposing party must respond to this complaint within 30 days of having been served.
Hearing, Settlement and Beyond
The discovery process of the case begins when the opposing party’s answer is due. The parties generally have six months to request the information necessary to prove their case. During this time, a temporary hearing is requested for a judge to rule on pressing issues such as temporary alimony, child support, custody or living arrangements. The temporary order establishes the dynamics that must be followed while a divorce is pending.
Mediation often occurs before a final hearing. In mediation, the parties and attorneys would meet with the opposing party and his/her attorney to work toward a settlement. If mediation is unsuccessful, then the case will be scheduled for a hearing for issues to be decided by a judge.
How to Prepare for an Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce means that neither party is fighting any of the issues in their case. A married couple seeking an uncontested divorce must have no disputes as to custody, parenting time, child support, division of assets and debts.
Why You Need a Divorce Attorney for an Uncontested Divorce
If you’re considering an uncontested divorce, it’s recommended you consult a legal professional. The divorce attorneys at A.B. Olmos & Associates can help you consider the logistics of an uncontested divorce to make certain what seemed simple in theory does not become complicated.
Your case will be uncontested if the other side filed the action and properly served you, or you acknowledged service, and then failed to file an answer. Failure to file an answer after being served (or acknowledging service) will likely put you at a disadvantage. It’s best to consult a lawyer if you are served with divorce papers.
There are a number of steps that must be completed before a judge can approve of the divorce, including drafting a binding settlement agreement.
Navigating this process with an attorney experienced in uncontested divorces protects your legal rights and ensures the drafting, reviewing and filing of divorce paperwork is handled.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Georgia
Generally, an uncontested divorce is faster through the court system.
If both parties agree with the largest components of the divorce, such as child custody, asset distribution and alimony, this can be a relatively smooth process. The timeline for a contested divorce will be longer. If one party does not attend divorce proceedings, this assumes they have no contest and the divorce and relief requested can be granted.
Every case is different and there is no set timeline for divorce. It is, however, generally accepted that the less disagreement there is to mediate, the easier a divorce will settle. Having a divorce attorney handle your case keeps it running efficiently and will likely guide a faster process.
For reference, a projected timeline provides an uncontested divorce with the potential of being finalized 31 days after filing, while a contested divorce could last months to several years. We advise discussing your case with a divorce attorney for a more accurate estimate.
Contact Our Atlanta Divorce Attorneys Today
If you’re ready to move forward with your divorce, contact A.B. Olmos & Associates, P.C. Our team of experienced divorce attorneys will help you through this process. To schedule a consultation, fill out our online contact form or call us at 678-683-8500.