Anyone facing the end of a marriage is bound to have lots of questions – about how the process works, what their rights are, how they can best protect their children and their interests, and what their new life will look like. Every Alpharetta divorce lawyer at Hait & Kuhn understands the uncertainty that accompanies divorce. With patience and clarity, we provide clients with answers and guidance that can help them through the divorce process and position them for a bright future.
Here are some of the divorce questions we find ourselves answering:
Does it matter who files for divorce first?
Absolutely. The person who files for divorce first has a HUGE advantage at trial. They get to present evidence first and they also have the last word during closing arguments. In our years of experience handling divorce cases in Alpharetta, GA, we have seen the benefits that filing first can reap. Our firm has won countless cases on behalf of our clients because we were able to present first and last. We strongly advise you to petition for divorce as soon as possible to secure this very critical advantage.
Do I need a lawyer for my Georgia divorce?
Georgia law does not require that a spouse retain an attorney to represent them in a divorce. But divorce is complicated, the law and court procedures are complex, and it can be easy to get steamrolled or lose important rights if you don’t know what you’re doing. If your spouse is represented by competent divorce counsel, the risks are even greater. If you are concerned that you do not have the financial resources to hire your own attorney, courts can and often do order the spouse with greater means to contribute to the other spouse’s attorneys’ fees. Also, spouses cannot and should not share a lawyer, even if they believe they are in agreement as to all issues.
How much will it cost for North Metro Litigators to represent me in my divorce?
Every divorce is different. Some involve complex portfolios of assets and children while others involve neither. Some couples are able to work through their disputes quickly and amicably, while others will engage in long, drawn-out conflicts which can only be settled after a costly and time-consuming trial. As such, fees will vary depending on the circumstances of each divorce and the postures of each party.
All clients have the option of hiring us on retainer, or for a flat fee. Uncontested matters, including divorce and modification – a divorce or modification where both parties agree to the terms of the divorce settlement or modification of terms – starts at just $500. Flexible payment plans, such as installment plans are available to those who need them. Our goal is to provide quality legal services at a reasonable cost.
My spouse and I agree on all divorce-related issues. Can we get this over with quickly?
An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties have reached a mutual agreement to end their marriage and also reached agreement on the major issues that need to be addressed, such as child custody and support, how to divide assets, parenting time and other important matters. It is the most cost-effective, amicable and quickest way end to a marriage if couples are able to compromise on key decisions that will affect them moving forward. An uncontested divorce can be completed 31 days after all required paperwork is filed with the court, though it may take up to a few months to work everything out. Either way, uncontested divorces are significantly quicker than contested ones.
My spouse and I can’t bear to live with each other anymore, but our financial and insurance situations make divorce almost impossible. Is there an alternative?
Yes. Legal separation in Georgia may be an option for couples who no longer wish to live as husband and wife. Sometimes, however, divorce is not an appealing option either because of financial, religious, or practical reasons, such as the loss of health insurance. Legal separation is often the right alternative to divorce in these situations. Officially known as a “separate maintenance action,” legal separation begins with the filing of a petition with the court, just as in a divorce case. The spouses can work out the various issues between them like in a divorce but still retain the legal rights and privileges that come with being married. Unlike divorce, however, both spouses must agree to a separation. If one spouse would rather get divorced than separated, the matter will become a divorce proceeding.
I’ve made a huge mistake. I impulsively got married a few weeks ago and want to get out of it. Can I get an annulment?
Just because you’ve only been married a short time or have “buyer’s remorse” will not mean you can get an annulment. Duration of marriage or deep regret are irrelevant. Annulments are available only in extremely limited circumstances when the marriage was never legally valid to begin with, such as marriages involving incest, a party younger than the legal age of consent, fraud, or duress. All other marriages, whether lasting 24 years or 24 hours, can only end through divorce.
I signed a prenuptial agreement before I got married many years ago. Now that we are getting divorced, I want to get out of it. Can you help me?
Maybe. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in Georgia are generally valid and fully enforceable unless the following circumstances are present:
- The agreement was obtained through fraud, duress or mistake, or through misrepresentation or nondisclosure of material facts.
- The agreement is “unconscionable.”
- Facts and circumstances have changed since the execution of the agreement which make its enforcement unfair and unreasonable.
We will closely look at the agreement, the circumstances under which it was executed, and your current situation to determine whether there is a viable basis for challenging the enforceability of your prenuptial agreement.
My spouse’s lawyer has suggested mediation. Is that a good idea or will it be a waste of time and money?
If you (or your spouse) think mediation will be a waste of time and money, there is a good chance you will be right. On the other hand, if you (and your spouse) are open to the idea of compromise and are willing to sit down with your lawyers and a trained neutral party to civilly and calmly try to work out your differences, mediation could be a great call. Mediators can’t force the parties into an agreement or make binding decisions but are skilled at bridging gaps between divorcing spouses and reducing the number of issues in dispute or resolving all disagreements between them. Mediation puts the parties in charge of their own destinies, will cost significantly less than taking matters to trial, and will get your divorce over quicker if successful. If both you and your spouse are willing to give mediation a try, it is definitely a good idea.
My same-sex partner and I have been together for decades but only got married in 2016 after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage everywhere. Will a divorce court consider all of those years when deciding issues like asset division or spousal maintenance?
Since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, gay and lesbian couples in Georgia have the same right to get married as heterosexual couples. That also means they have the same rights and have to go through the exact same process to get divorced as heterosexual spouses do. Judges in same-sex divorces follow the same principles of “equitable distribution” as well as the factors involved in whether to grant alimony that apply in all divorces but have wide discretion in such matters. A judge may or may not look at the contributions and circumstances of long-term partners in making decisions regarding asset division and spousal maintenance.
North Metro Litigators: Alpharetta Divorce Lawyers
At North Metro Litigators, we know that divorce is one of the most difficult ordeals anyone can face. That is why our Alpharetta divorce attorneys approach treat every divorce client with the care, compassion, and commitment they need and deserve. You’ll feel our dedication to your well-being from the moment you call us for your free initial consultation.
Our offices are located in Woodstock and Alpharetta, but we represent clients throughout a large swath of Georgia.
We help divorcing clients in Woodstock, Smyrna, Marietta, Alpharetta, Cartersville as well as the cities of Atlanta, Canton, Acworth, Cumming, Kennesaw, Roswell, East Cobb, West Cobb, John’s Creek, Holly Springs, Austell, Powder Springs, Dallas, Sandy Springs, Ball Ground, Dunwoody, Waleska, Hiram, Milton, Cartersville, Jasper, Rome, and throughout Cherokee, Cobb, Fulton, Bartow, Forsyth, Gwinette, Clayton, and Paulding counties.