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Cherokee County Divorce Law Blog

Understanding Georgia's alimony laws

Alimony is a monetary award paid by ex-spouse to support the other spouse. The payments can be temporary and used for rehabilitative purposes, or permanent, continuing indefinitely. Alimony is awarded to either spouse based on the needs of the requesting party and the ability of the other spouse to pay.

Alimony is only awarded when the judge finds it appropriate. When reviewing alimony cases, the court will review the conduct of both parties towards one another. Georgia also considers the factual cause of separation and spouses that participated in adultery or desertion are ineligible for alimony.

How does mediation work in my divorce?

There are a lot of questions you may have when going through a divorce. How much does a divorce cost? Do I have to go to court, or are there more amicable ways to end my marriage? How does mediation work in Georgia?

Fortunately, there are other options you can take when you know your marriage is over, instead of traditional litigation. Mediation is one of the most common ways for couples to resolve their differences in a divorce, because of its simplicity and cost-effectiveness. The following points illustrate how mediation works:

  • A certified mediator will work with you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to decide such aspects as property division and parenting arrangements. Depending on the points you need to resolve, mediation may take as little as one or as many as several sessions.
  • Your mediator might be a family law attorney with experience in mediation. Additionally, attorneys may become certified in mediation to better serve their clients.
  • You have the right to speak with your mediator in a private session if you have concerns you wish to bring up without your spouse present. Keep in mind that your spouse may do the same.
  • Mediation is a form of negotiation, and it may teach you and your spouse valuable cooperation and compromising skills, which may be especially helpful if you share child custody. Ending your marriage this way requires both of you to treat each other with respect, even if you do not always get along.

Factors judges consider when determining custody

Couples in the South are more likely to divorce than married couples elsewhere in the country. A report by CNN stated that part of this could be due to the fact couples in the South, which includes states like Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama, are more likely to marry at a younger age, which increases a couple's risk of divorce.

Arguably the most important determining factor in a divorce is child custody. In the event a couple cannot determine child custody on their own amicably, then a judge will intervene. In most cases, there are common factors judges use to determine who the child will live with. 

Can high-income couples have an uncontested divorce?

Yes, high-income couples can have an uncontested divorce. In fact, many do, and their divorces can be finalized in a mere two or three months. Whether a divorce is contested or uncontested is unrelated to how much money the couple earns, but rather depends on whether they are able to agree on issues (for example, child custody and property division).

Of course, couples of all income levels have a lot to think about when it comes to divorce, even if it is uncontested. Here is a look at a few considerations.

Who gets the house in a divorce?

Georgia has a relatively high divorce rate, compared to other states in the country. According to recent data, there are approximately 11 divorces for every 1,000 residents.

There is much for a divorcing couple to determine throughout the divorcing process. One of the biggest matters is who ends up with the house. In Georgia, a judge divides assets equitably, which is different from assets being divided equally. A judge considers many factors, including whose name is on the deed. There are several different ways a court may decide who receives the house after a divorce.

Pursuing grandparent visitation in Georgia

As a grandparent, your grandchildren are probably some of the most important and valuable people in your life, and to maintain strong relationships with them, visits are generally necessary. Family situations can prove quite complicated, however, and sometimes parents or others deny grandparents visitation, or do not permit grandparents to visit with grandchildren as much as the grandparents might like.

What recourse might you have, if you cannot see your grandchildren? In Georgia, you do not automatically have visitation rights just by being a grandparent, but there are avenues you may be able to take. If you wish to obtain legal visitation rights to your grandchild, you may try and do so through one of two methods.

Alimony and dating while separated in Georgia

In Georgia, judges have a lot of leeway when it comes to deciding alimony (spousal support) amounts. Ten judges could look at the same case and come away with 10 different payment amounts. Each case would have a well-reasoned explanation behind the award.

That said, many judges follow general guidelines, and an attorney can help you prepare a case as to why you need a certain amount of support or, conversely, why you should not have to pay a certain amount to your soon-to-be-ex. One thing to keep in mind is that Georgia does allow adultery to bar alimony. Thus, it may be wise to refrain from dating at all until you are officially divorced.

Common signs that your spouse is hiding assets

If you are going through a divorce and splitting everything from your bank account to time with your children down the middle, it is important that you are aware of all the joint marital property and who has access to it.

On top of all the emotional stress associated with getting divorced, there are unfortunate times where one spouse will take advantage of another and cover up assets. It is fairly common for this to happen, so you should always be aware of the warning signs.

How divorce impacts financial aid

If you have recently gone through a divorce, you may still be feeling the emotional effects and trying to sort out your new life while helping your children adjust to the changes. Divorce has the capacity to affect many aspects of your life, including your ability to finance your child's college education.

Though ending a marriage can make it more difficult to, say, qualify for a home loan, it may actually have a favorable impact on your ability to secure financial aid for your child. This is especially true if you are your son's or daughter's primary custodial parent and you are seeking financial assistance by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

How Georgia law divides property in a divorce

When it comes to divorce, couples face two major property division issues. The first is deciding which property belongs to the couple and therefore must get divided. The second is the actual division of the marital property.

Marital vs. separate property

Most couples have at least some property in common, in addition to separate property. While the basic principle is marital property means assets that the couple acquired during their marriage, this is by no means an ironclad rule. Notably, assets such as some judgments, gifts and inheritance likely belong solely to the spouse who acquired them, no matter when.

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