Divorce

Divorce

DIVORCE

We understand if you are going through a divorce there are numerous questions, and you need answers. In addition to assisting with the legal process, we will be here to address your questions and concerns.

With over 24 years’ experience handling every aspect of a divorce, you can be assured we will help you achieve the best possible outcome with your family law case. This includes child custody, child support, property division, marital debts, and spousal support matters.

Our offices have handled hundreds of divorce cases and we are knowledgeable in the various issues which may occur. We also realize this is an emotional process which impacts everyone in your household. Our goal will be to understand your concerns and address each of them. We know every situation is unique and we will help you find a way forward that meets your needs.

DIVORCE AND ALIMONY

Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) governs all domestic relations cases in Georgia.

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT

Most states require that you reside there for a period of time to establish residency and benefit from the protections of the laws in the respective state.

Prior to filing a divorce in Georgia, one must reside in the for at least six (6) months. No court shall grant a divorce to any person who has not been a bona fide resident of this state for six months before the filing of the petition for divorce. O.C.G.A. § 19-5-2.

GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE IN GEORGIA

Pursuant to O.C.G.A § 19-5-3, there are 13 ground on which you may file for and be granted a divorce. There are 12 ‘fault’ grounds that may be alleged in your petition for divorce and one ‘no fault’ ground for divorce. Any of the following grounds are sufficient to authorize the granting of a divorce:

(1) Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity;

(2) Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage;

(3) Impotency at the time of the marriage;

(4) Force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage;

(5) Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the husband;

(6) Adultery in either of the parties after marriage;

(7) Willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year;

(8) The conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude, under which he is sentenced to imprisonment in a penal institution for a term of two years or longer;

(9) Habitual intoxication;

(10) Cruel treatment, which shall consist of the willful infliction of pain, bodily or mental, upon the complaining party, such as reasonably justifies apprehension of danger to life, limb, or health;

(11) Incurable mental illness. No divorce shall be granted upon this ground unless the mentally ill party has been adjudged mentally ill by a court of competent jurisdiction or has been certified to be mentally ill by two physicians who have personally examined the party; and he has been confined in an institution for the mentally ill or has been under continuous treatment for mental illness for a period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the action; and the superintendent or other chief executive officer of the institution and one competent physician appointed by the court, after a thorough examination, make a certified statement under oath that it is their opinion that the party evidences such a want of reason, memory, and intelligence as to prevent the party from comprehending the nature, duties, and consequences of the marriage relationship and that, in the light of present day medical knowledge, recovery of the party’s mental health cannot be expected at any time during his life. Notice of the action must be served upon the guardian of the person of the mentally ill person and upon the superintendent or other chief executive officer of the institution in which the person is confined. In the event that there is no guardian of the person, then notice of the action shall be served upon guardian ad litem, who shall be appointed by the court in which the divorce action is filed, and upon the superintendent or chief executive officer of the institution in which the person is confined. The guardian and superintendent shall be entitled to appear and be heard upon the issues. The status of the parties as to the support and maintenance of the mentally ill person shall not be altered in any way by the granting of the divorce;

(12) Habitual drug addiction, which shall consist of addiction to any controlled substance as defined in Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 16; or

(13) The marriage is irretrievably broken. Under no circumstances shall the court grant a divorce on this ground until not less than 30 days from the date of service on the respondent.

ARE YOU ENTITLED TO ALIMONY?

Georgia defines alimony as an allowance out of one party’s estate, made for the support of the other party when living separately. It is either temporary or permanent.

Alimony is not a guaranteed part of your divorce. A party shall not be entitled to alimony if it is established by a preponderance of the evidence that the separation between the parties was caused by that party’s adultery or desertion. O.C.G.A. § 19-6-1.

HOW MUCH ALIMONY WILL YOU GET?

The judge or jury considers many factors when determining whether alimony will be granted in a divorce. The parties’ actions during the marriage, the cause of the marriage dissolving, the ability of one spouse to pay, and the needs of the spouse seeking alimony are all factors that must be considered. Once it has been determined that alimony will be granted the following factors determine the amount to be awarded:

(1) The standard of living established during the marriage;

(2) The duration of the marriage;

(3) The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties;

(4) The financial resources of each party;

(5) Where applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable him to find appropriate employment;

(6) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party;

(7) The condition of the parties, including the separate estate, earning capacity, and fixed liabilities of the parties; and

(8) Such other relevant factors as the court deems equitable and proper.  O.C.G.A. § 19-6-5.

Although this list is lengthy, it is not exhaustive in terms of what the factfinder may consider when determining whether to grant temporary or permanent alimony.

If you are considering a divorce, contact Parker Law Firm at 770-246-1331 or info@theparkerlawfirm.net. We have successfully handled thousands of divorce cases and we will put this experience to work for you.