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Marietta, Georgia, Divorce Law Blog

3 things to consider when you are separated

If you have been experiencing marital issues for some time, the prospect of divorce might be lurking in your mind, but perhaps it seems like too permanent an action to take at the moment. Many couples in this situation opt for a trial separation before making a decision about divorce. If you are separated or considering separating from your spouse, you should make the time as productive as possible.

You can accomplish this by considering a few key factors while you are separated from your spouse. Divorce is a major decision, and you should be absolutely sure that it is the right one for you. Think about the following if you are trying to decide whether divorce is the right option for your family: 

When a business owner goes through a divorce

Divorce is a stressful time for anyone, but if you are a business owner, you may have additional worries on your mind. How much is your business at risk as you move through the divorce proceedings, and how much is your spouse entitled to in terms of a divorce settlement?

Since your financial future and your livelihood are at stake, this is no small matter. 

To Merge Finances Or Not In Marriage? That Is the Question

In the category of what has changed significantly about marriage in the 21st century, add the fact that more couples are eschewing joint bank accounts and electing to keep their finances separate.

Sociologists and others who study this sort of thing site numerous reasons why Millennials are electing to keep money separate after marriage. For starters, couples are waiting longer to get married, which means individuals have established themselves in terms of career and salary. Letting go of financial independence can be tough after you’ve had it for a decade or more.

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.

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