Divorce is something that few couples think about when they walk down the aisle and exchange vows, but the harsh reality is that about half of the marriages in the United States end in this way. If you have made the difficult decision to file for divorce, you should have a legal team on your side that listens to your concerns and understands your needs.
Divorce Lawyers in Atlanta, GA
The laws dealing with divorce, property distribution, and spousal support are complex in Georgia, and spouses who navigate the process without legal representation usually go on to regret their decision. Whether your divorce is emotionally-charged or simply a matter of paperwork, we are here to help. The Atlanta divorce lawyers at the Bell & Washington Law Firm have decades of experience representing divorcing spouses and will fight tenaciously to defend your rights and obtain the best possible outcome. We understand that the subsequent proceedings can greatly affect the quality of the rest of your life
Ask an Atlanta Divorce Lawyer: What is the Difference Between Divorce and Marital Dissolution?
The terms “divorce” and “marital dissolution” are often used interchangeably, but they actually have different meanings under Georgia law. The legal process for terminating marriage is divorce; however, the parties involved may file an action seeking marital dissolution. The primary difference between the two is whether one spouse is alleging fault of the other as the grounds for the divorce. A marital dissolution can also be referred to as a no-fault divorce. Both divorce and marital dissolution require the formal, legal ending of the marriage by the courts.
The Atlanta divorce lawyers at Bell & Washington have decades of experience representing divorcing spouses and can assist you with your divorce or marital dissolution cases. As the subject matter experts in family law, we handle all types of divorce-related cases, including property division, alimony/spousal support determinations, child custody issues, visitation, and more.
Divorce in Georgia
Georgia has what is known as a no-fault divorce law, which means that you will not have to prove that your spouse committed adultery or physically or emotionally abused you to end your marriage. If you have lived in Georgia for at least six months, you can seek a divorce based on irreconcilable differences even if you still live with your spouse. However, divorces are only granted in Georgia if the couple involved has suspended their marital relations, which means that you can only seek one if you no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse. Irreconcilable differences are the most cited reasons for ending a marriage in Georgia, but divorces can also be granted based on grounds such as:
- Habitual intoxication
- Drug addiction
- Physical or emotional mistreatment
- Mental illness
Contested and Uncontested Divorce in Atlanta
Divorces in Georgia can be either uncontested or contested. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses accept that the marriage is unsalvageable and reach an amicable agreement over matters like property distribution and spousal support. In a contested divorce, these issues are far more difficult to resolve. Contested divorces can be expensive and emotionally draining, so it pays to have an experienced Atlanta divorce lawyer on your side if you think negotiations are likely to be heated.
Many divorces start amicably and then become more and more contentious as they progress. Therefore, you should consider retaining an Atlanta divorce lawyer even if you do not anticipate any problems. Hiring a lawyer tells your spouse that you are serious about ending your marriage, and it also ensures that you will have a qualified professional advocating on your behalf.
Most divorces are resolved at the negotiating table because litigation is costly and arguing the facts in court involves airing personal grievances in public. When divorcing spouses are unable to reach a settlement, the judge assigned to the case may order them to attend mediation sessions. Mediation is a less adversarial process that is designed to resolve disputes by finding common ground, and it can sometimes produce a breakthrough when a lengthy court battle seems all but inevitable. Divorce lawyers do not present evidence or question witnesses during mediation sessions, but it would still be a good idea to have one with you to provide advice and guidance.
In order to finalize your divorce, you and your spouse will have to reach an agreement about all of the issues involved in your situation, such as child custody and visitation, child support, division of marital property and debts, and alimony. It is always better to try to reach settlement terms outside of court. Working towards a settlement agreement allows you to have a say in these important decisions about who your children will live with, how often you will see your children, how your assets will be divided, and what debts you will be legally responsible for paying. Once a divorce proceeds to trial, all of these decisions will be left up to a judge who may see the facts of the case from a different perspective than you.
During negotiations, divorce lawyers should seek to obtain the best possible outcome for their clients as quickly as possible, which means they should prepare thoroughly. At Bell & Washington, our Atlanta divorce lawyers gather all the relevant facts before negotiations begin, and they will not recommend an agreement that is not in your best interests.
The Atlanta Divorce Lawyers at Bell & Washington Are Here For You
Filing for a divorce can be daunting, and you probably have a host of questions if you have decided to take this step. The Atlanta divorce lawyers at Bell & Washington have a great deal of experience in this area, and they will listen to you and fight for you no matter what led up to your decision. Our attorneys know what to expect at the negotiating table and in court, and they will do everything they can to make the process as stress-free as possible for you. If you would like to discuss your legal options, you can call us at 404.437.6641 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation.