When you enter into marriage with the love of your life, the thought of it ending in a bitter divorce is the last thing on your mind. No one imagines that the person they cherish will become a part of their past. Yet, divorce is a reality, and it can be one of the most emotionally and financially devastating experiences one can endure.
Divorces are real, and they can be traumatizing and depressive moments in life. They can shatter you emotionally and even leave you in financial turmoil.
The divorce process itself is lengthy and arduous, but having a skilled Columbus divorce lawyer by your side can help maintain your sanity and ensure a smoother journey. If you are after top divorce lawyers in Columbus, Georgia, look no further than Joe Durham Jr. P.C., the ideal divorce law firm for your needs.
Our highly experienced and skilled divorce attorney understands the intricacies of this process and our legal team will relentlessly work to ensure you don’t end up on the losing side. We have successfully represented numerous clients, and choosing us is the best decision you can make for your family’s future.
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.
Georgia law recognizes no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. One of the most common grounds is a no fault divorce citing irreconcilable differences, meaning both spouses agree that no one is at fault for the marriage’s failure.
The following are also common grounds for divorce in Georgia.
From a legal standpoint, in Georgia, adultery is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse with a person other than one’s spouse. Even if both partners were separated at the time and one committed adultery, it can still serve as a valid ground for divorce because they were still legally married.
Proving adultery can be done through direct or circumstantial evidence unless it occurred in complete secrecy, which may be challenging to establish. However, if your spouse had an extramarital affair some time ago, and you forgave them, adultery may not be a suitable ground for divorce. This is because your spouse can assert condonation as an adultery defense, given that you had previously forgiven their actions.
When facing a situation where your spouse poses a threat to your life and well-being, you have valid grounds for pursuing a divorce. Domestic abuse encompasses a broad spectrum of behaviors, including verbal insults, financial abuse that leaves one party without financial support, and more
Permanent Mental Incapacitation
In Columbus, Georgia, you can pursue a divorce based on permanent mental incapacitation. This condition, which renders someone unable to make independent legal decisions like signing a contract, executing a will, or even marrying or divorcing, is a valid ground for divorce. To initiate this process, you will require a doctor’s report confirming the permanent mental incapacitation. Additionally, the judge overseeing the case will appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the incapacitated spouse during divorce proceedings
If your spouse in Columbus, Georgia, struggles with drug addiction, you can use this as valid grounds for divorce. To get divorce representation to proceed, you will need to gather compelling evidence of their drug addiction to present in court during the divorce proceedings.
How Is Custody Determined in Georgia, and What Are The Different Types?
In Georgia, when it comes to child custody determinations, the courts prioritize the best interests of the children above all else. This means that the welfare and well-being of the children take precedence in custody arrangements. In this state, both parents are on equal footing under family law when it comes to custody matters.
Georgia recognizes two distinct types of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. These types grant different rights and responsibilities concerning the child’s upbringing, education, and care.
Legal custody in Georgia is all about making pivotal decisions without legal representation that directly impact a child’s health, well-being, and overall development. Importantly, it operates independently of physical custody, focusing solely on legal rights in the following areas:
- Religious upbringing
In cases of joint legal custody, both parents share equal rights and responsibilities in making these crucial decisions for the child. However, there may be instances where a final decision is necessary, especially on major issues listed above. In such situations, one parent with legal separation, often referred to as the primary custodial parent, will have the authority to make the ultimate decision when both parents cannot reach an agreement.
Physical custody in Georgia pertains to where the child will reside primarily. Typically, it is determined through a parenting plan that outlines the schedule for the child’s time with each parent. Physical custody can be categorized into two main types: sole and joint custody.
Sole custody means that the child will primarily live with one parent, while the other parent is designated as the noncustodial parent. In this arrangement, a visitation schedule is usually prepared to facilitate the noncustodial parent’s time with the child.
However, it’s important to note that sole custody is not the norm in Georgia, as the court generally favors joint custody arrangements unless specific circumstances exist that would not be in the child’s best interests. Sole custody might be considered if one parent has a permanent mental illness, dependency issues, or another compelling reason that raises concerns about their ability to provide a safe environment for their child.
In cases where joint custody is granted, the child will divide their time between both parents according to a designated schedule. However, these living arrangements must prioritize the child’s best interests, and adjustments may be necessary to ensure their well-being.
Challenges can arise in situations where the parents live a considerable distance apart or struggle to cooperate effectively in their co-parenting efforts, potentially impacting the feasibility of joint child custody cases.
In Georgia, if a child is 11 years or older, they have the opportunity to express a custody preference regarding which parent they wish to reside with. However, it’s important to note that the court retains the authority to overrule this custody preference if the judge determines that it does not align with the child’s best interests.
How Is Alimony Calculated in Georgia?
Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is a court-ordered financial payment from one spouse to the other spouse, intended to either maintain their marital standard of living or provide financial stability to the lower-earning spouse during and after the divorce process in Georgia.
In Georgia, unlike child custody calculations, there isn’t a specific formula for determining alimony. Instead, it’s evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If there was no adultery or desertion in the marriage and a need for alimony exists, the judge will assess whether it is necessary, along with the type, duration, and amount of alimony to be awarded to the other party. This individualized approach ensures that the calculation of alimony is tailored to the unique circumstances of each case, making it a variable rather than a fixed amount.
Why Do You Need a Columbus Divorce Lawyer?
f you find yourself with assets and children in a marriage that’s ending, hiring a Columbus divorce attorney can be one of the wisest choices for your family. Navigating the complexities of divorce can be challenging, but with a family law attorney with legal expertise by your side, the process can proceed 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 well experienced divorce lawyer will help keep your head straight and navigate the legal process well. Having a Columbus divorce lawyer will help you with the following.
Our experienced attorneys at Joe Durham Jr. P.C. have all the legal knowledge and expertise you will need in your divorce. To help you get the beneficial terms of a fair settlement in the divorce, such as asset and property division amount, child support, and child custody, you will need a competent divorce attorney that understands the law.
Divorces require a pile of paperwork that you cannot manage on your own. A Columbus divorce lawyer will take divorce papers and help file them correctly to avoid case dismissal and avoid mistakes that can hurt the case.
A divorce attorney will help negotiate the case for you, with legal services, especially in marital estate and personal property 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 divorce attorney will help advise you on factors affecting your future, such as custody and child support issues.
Represent You in Court
If your divorce case requires litigation, a Columbus divorce attorney will have legal experience and be your strong advocate. They will represent your interests and skillfully argue your case in the courtroom.
How Do You File for Divorce in Georgia?
In order to initiate a divorce in Georgia, one of the spouses in contested divorce must meet the residency requirement of having lived in Georgia for at least six months. Subsequently, the divorce should be filed in the Superior Court of the county where the initiating spouse resides in Georgia. However, if you don’t meet this residency criterion, you’ll need to file the divorce in the county where your spouse resides.
Additionally, there is a filing fee associated with the divorce process, payable to the Supreme Court. If you are unable to afford this fee, you may be eligible for legal assistance or 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 family lawyers and the court.
If your 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 the marital property or children are involved in military divorce.
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 one attorney andrew the other hand, then a hearing will be necessary to resolve the dispute.
Contact Our Columbus Divorce Lawyers Today!
At Joe Durham Jr. P.C., our Columbus divorce attorneys are well-experienced and ready to take on your case when you are ready. We have represented many clients in divorce matters in the past, so we are the perfect option for you.
All you have to do is call us 229-210-6226 and schedule a free, confidential consultation.