Columbus Divorce Lawyer

When you get married to the love of your life, no one thinks that it may end up in a bitter divorce. You cannot imagine that this person you love will now be in the past chapter of your life. However, divorces are real, and they are there. It is one of the most traumatizing and depressive moments you can go through. It can break you to pieces emotionally and even financially. The divorce process is long and exhaustive; however, having a great Columbus divorce lawyer by your side will help keep your sanity and ensure that the process is smoother for you.

If you are in Columbus, Georgia, then Joe Durham PC is the right divorce law firm for you. Our experienced and highly skilled family attorneys understand this process and will work tirelessly to ensure that you are not on the losing end. We have represented numerous clients, and choosing us is the right decision you could make for your family.

What Are Common Grounds For Seeking Divorce?

If you are considering divorce, one of the first things that you need to state is the grounds for divorce. The grounds for divorce are the legal reasons you will be presenting to the court on why you seek a divorce. In Georgia, the divorce laws are no-fault based. One of the most common grounds for divorce is citing irreconcilable differences, meaning that no one is at fault for the marriage’s failure. The other common grounds for divorce are:

Adultery

Legally speaking, a person commits adultery in Georgia when they have had sexual intercourse with another person other than their spouse. Even though both of you were separated and someone committed adultery, it can be used as a ground for divorce. This is because both of you were still legally married. You could prove adultery by direct or circumstantial evidence unless it was done in secret, which will be difficult to prove. However, if your spouse had an affair some years or months ago, and you had forgiven them, then adultery will not be a proper ground. The reason for this is that your spouse can claim condonation, which is an adultery defense.

A person signing a divorce form.

Domestic Violence

If your spouse harms you in a way that can endanger your life and health, then you have a ground for divorce. Domestic abuse ranges from verbal insults to financial abuse, in a way that prevents one party from having any financial support.

Permanent Mental Incapacitation

In Columbus, Georgia, you are allowed to divorce on the grounds of permanent mental incapacitation. Mental incapacitation is considered a disability to the degree where someone cannot make independent legal decisions such as sign a contract, execute a will or even marry or divorce. You will need a doctor’s report on the matter to prove the permanent mental incapacitation. The judge will appoint a guardian ad litem to act on behalf of the incapacitated spouse’s interests.

Drug Addiction

If your spouse is a drug addict, you can use this as a ground for divorce. You will need proof to present to the court on their drug addiction.

How Is Custody Determined In Georgia, And What Are The Different Types?

Georgia courts consider the best interests of the children when they are making custody determinations. When it comes to the custody arrangements, both parents are equal.

How Is It Determined?

In Georgia, there are two distinct types of child custody; legal and physical. Each type has different rights and responsibilities for the child.

Legal Custody

Legal custody focuses on making crucial decisions for the health, wellbeing, and growth of the child. It does not depend on its other counterpart, physical custody. The decisions to be made include:

  • Schooling
  • Healthcare
  • Religious upbringing
  • Caregiving
  • Discipline

In joint legal custody, both parents have equal rights and responsibilities to make crucial decisions that concern the child. However, one parent will make the final decision on the decision making rights shown above. They will be the primary custodial parent and will make decisions where both parents cannot agree.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to which parent the child will live with. It is usually established by a parenting plan that schedules how the child spends time with each parent. It usually comes in two variations; sole and joint custody. For the former, the child will live with one parent. Here, there will be a visitation schedule that will be prepared for the noncustodial parent. However, this does not happen in all cases, mainly if the court determines that it will not be in the child’s best interests. In Georgia, sole custody is rare unless one parent has a permanent mental illness, dependency, or some reason to prevent them from being a safe parent for their child.

In instances where joint custody is given, the child will live with each parent for a designated period. Here, the living arrangements will need to be adjusted to ensure that they are in the child’s best interests. mIn cases where the parents live too far from each other or cannot get along to work together, joint custody will be a problem.

If the child is 11 years or older, they will be allowed to make a custody election on which parent they want to live with. However, this custody election can be overruled if the judge decides that living with that parent is not in the child’s best interests.

How Is Alimony Calculated In Georgia?

Alimony, otherwise known as spousal support, is a payment ordered by the court from one spouse to the other. It is done to help maintain their marital standard of living or ensure that the lower-earning spouse is financially stable during and after the divorce is finalized.

In Georgia, unlike child custody calculations, alimony does not have a specific formula to get it. Suppose there was no adultery or desertion in the marriage, and there is still a need to pay it. In that case, the judge will decide if the alimony is necessary and the type, duration, and amount that the other party will be paid. This, therefore, means that the calculation will be on a case to case basis; hence it will not be fixed.

Why Do You Need An Attorney To Help With Your Divorce?

If you have assets and children together with your spouse, then hiring an attorney is one of the best decisions you could make for your family. They will help navigate this complicated process and ensure that everything goes on smoothly. Divorces can leave you with emotions that will overwhelm you; hence you are likely to make bad decisions based on anger and hurt. A lawyer will help keep your head straight and navigate the process. Having a lawyer will help you with the following:

Legal Knowledge

Our experienced attorneys at Joe Durham PC have all the legal knowledge and expertise you will need in your divorce. To help you get the beneficial terms of the divorce, such as asset division, child support, and child custody, you will need a competent divorce attorney that understands the law.

Paperwork

Divorces require a pile of paperwork that you cannot manage on your own. A divorce attorney will help file them correctly to avoid case dismissal and avoiding mistakes that can hurt the case.

Negotiation

A divorce attorney will help negotiate the case for you, especially in marital estate issues. They will work tirelessly to ensure that you resolve the matter as fast as possible.

Provide Objective Advice

Divorce is an emotional process, and you will need someone to keep you from making hasty and bad decisions. A lawyer will help advise you on factors affecting your future, such as custody and child support issues.

A couple meeting with a Columbus divorce lawyer.

Represent You In Court

If you need to litigate your case, a divorce attorney will help you do that. They will represent you and argue the case in court.

How Do You File For Divorce In Georgia?

To file a divorce in Georgia, you or your spouse must have been a Georgia resident for at least six months. You will then file in the Superior Court in the county that you live in Georgia. If you do not meet this residency requirement, you will then be required to file it in the county where your spouse lives. You will also need to pay a filing fee to the Supreme Court. If you cannot afford to pay it, you will be given a fee waiver.

How Long Does A Divorce Typically Take?

The answer to this depends on whether your spouse is cooperating or being difficult about the divorce. If both of you agree about the divorce, then the process will be faster, taking 21 days after the papers are filed with the court.

If the other spouse is being difficult, the divorce can take 46 to 60 days to finalize. It may take longer due to the court’s schedule, and even years if property or children are involved.

Will I Have To Go To Court For A Divorce?

If you and your spouse can agree on the division of assets and custody, then the divorce can be settled out of court. If the divorce is contested, on the other hand, then a hearing will be necessary to resolve the dispute.

Contact Our Columbus Divorce Lawyers Today

At Joe Durham PC, our divorce attorneys are well experienced and ready to take on your case when you are ready. We have represented many clients in the past; hence we are the perfect option for you. All you have to do is to contact us and schedule a free, confidential consultation.