Deciding to dissolve a marriage is never an easy decision. Whether you’re considering filing for divorce or have been served with divorce paperwork, Bardley McKnight Law can help.
We are compassionate, dedicated family law attorneys in Douglasville, Georgia. We have 40 years of combined experience helping families navigate challenging issues, including divorce, child custody, alimony, and property division.
Our legal team understands that emotions are high when dealing with these complex family law cases. We’re here to provide the support and advice you need to get the outcome you deserve.
Why Choose Bardley McKnight Law For Help With Your Divorce in Douglasville, GA?
Many people decide to go through the divorce process without legal representation. This often results in a more expensive and time-consuming legal battle.
The Douglasville family lawyers at Bardley McKnight Law can provide invaluable guidance and advocacy to help you move forward.
If you hire our family law firm for help with your divorce in Douglasville, GA, we’ll:
- Listen to what you hope to achieve and help you reach your desired outcome
- Thoroughly explain your legal rights under Georgia law
- Help you make informed decisions throughout the divorce process
- Communicate and negotiate with your spouse or their divorce attorney to reach an agreeable resolution
- Draft all pleadings and file them with the court in a timely manner
- Represent you in court hearings and prepare you for trial if necessary
Reach out to our experienced Douglasville divorce attorneys today to learn more about the benefits of an attorney-client relationship.
Overview of Georgia Divorce Law
When either or both spouses decide to terminate their marital partnership, they will start the Georgia divorce process.
The filing party (petitioner) will need to file a divorce petition with the Superior Court outlining:
- The respondent’s address
- Confirmation that the residency requirement is met
- The date of marriage and separation
- The ground for divorce
- Information about the parties’ children
- Each party’s property and earnings if alimony and/or property division is involved
Once the petition is filed in Douglas County, it must be served on the respondent. They have 30 days to file a response.
This starts the divorce process. If you and your spouse agree on all terms, you can draft an agreement and submit it to the judge for approval. However, if there are issues to resolve, you will need to negotiate with your spouse. If you cannot reach an agreement, you must attend mediation and/or court hearings to resolve contested issues.
Once all requirements have been met and issues have been settled, the judge will issue a final order finalizing your divorce.
What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in Georgia?
Each state has a residency requirement for divorce. For a Georgia court to grant a divorce, you or your spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months.
If you’re filing the petition, you must typically file it in the Superior Court of the county where your spouse resides. For example, if your spouse lives in Douglas County and you live in Fulton County, you should file the divorce petition in the Douglas County Superior Court.
However, there may be exceptions. For example, if you live in Georgia but your spouse doesn’t, you can file the petition in the county that you live in.
If you don’t meet the residency requirement, you’ll have to wait to file your divorce petition until you do. Otherwise, the court will deny your request and dismiss your case.
Is There a Waiting Period for Divorce in Georgia?
Many people wonder how long it takes to divorce in Georgia. The unsatisfying answer is that it depends on various factors, including:
- Whether the divorce is contested or not
- The complexity of the divorce case
- The parties’ ability to resolve issues without court intervention
- The court’s docket
For an uncontested divorce in Georgia, there is a waiting period of 30 days from the date of filing. However, it may take longer for the case to conclude, depending on the court’s schedule.
The factors mentioned above will dictate how long the process will take for a fault-based or contested divorce. The parties may need to attend several court hearings to present evidence regarding contested issues. It may take six months to over a year to finalize these cases.
Is Georgia a No-Fault Divorce State?
Yes, Georgia is a no-fault divorce state. Under Georgia law, you can receive a no-fault divorce based on an “irretrievably broken” marriage. Other states refer to this as “irreconcilable differences.”
A marriage that is irretrievably broken is one where either or both parties have no hope of reconciliation.
When you seek a no-fault divorce in Georgia, you don’t have to prove that your spouse did something wrong. This makes it quicker and easier to dissolve the marriage. Even if your spouse did do something to lead to the divorce – such as having an affair – you must have evidence to prove it. Sometimes, that’s difficult and time-consuming to obtain.
Georgia also has 12 fault-based grounds for divorce, including:
- Habitual intoxication
- Habitual drug addiction
- Mental incapacity when the parties married
- Impotence when the parties married
- Intermarriage with a close relative
- A marriage that was obtained by fraud, force, or duress
- Pregnancy of the wife by another man when the parties married (unknown to the husband)
- A criminal conviction for a crime of moral turpitude punishable by at least two years in prison
- An incurable mental illness
In some cases, the ground for divorce doesn’t matter, whether they’re fault-based or not. However, in other cases, it can make a big difference. For example, if the divorce is requested based on cruel treatment, it can affect things like child custody. Fault-based grounds can also impact alimony awards and property division.
Overview of Property Division Laws in Douglasville, GA
There are two important principles to keep in mind regarding property division in Douglasville, GA.
Only Marital Property Is Subject To Division
Under Georgia family law, there are two broad categories of property: marital and separate. Only marital property is divided during a divorce, which makes it critical that your assets are designated appropriately.
Generally speaking, marital property is any property or assets that were acquired during the marriage. Examples may include, depending on the circumstances:
- The family home
- Motor vehicles
- Financial accounts
- Retirement assets
- Personal property
Separate property might include things such as:
- Inheritances that are in your name only
- Gifts from third parties
- Property you owned prior to the marriage
Although this may seem simple on the surface, it is often a point of contention whether certain pieces of property should be considered marital or separate. An experienced divorce lawyer can ensure your interests are maintained and that your assets are divided correctly.
Equitable Does Not Necessarily Mean Equal
Family courts in Georgia aim to divide property fairly, not necessarily equally. What is considered fair will come down to the facts and circumstances of the case and how they are presented to the judge.
Factors that could help determine how property is divided in a Douglasville divorce include:
- Duration of the marriage
- Education, health, and age of each spouse
- The earning potential of each spouse
- Each spouse’s contributions to the property
- The financial needs of the spouses
- Any tax consequences related to the property
- Whether either spouse has engaged in wrongdoing, such as adultery
Other factors could play a role in the process as well. As there is some degree of subjectivity involved in property division, having a skilled legal advocate on your side can make a significant difference in how the proceedings unfold.
What Is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce in Douglasville?
The primary difference between a contested and uncontested divorce is whether the spouses agree on the issues that must be evaluated. If the spouses disagree on even just one issue, the case will be considered a contested divorce.
In a contested divorce, the judge will have to weigh in on at least one point of contention. Uncontested divorces still involve substantial paperwork and procedures, but they generally take less time to resolve. That’s because the spouses do not have to invest time and resources into a trial or other issue-resolving processes.
Our attorneys can help you regardless of whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. If your divorce is uncontested, we can help make sure everything goes smoothly and is completed as quickly as possible. If your divorce is contested, we can ensure your rights and interests are represented and work to have the issues resolved in your favor to the best of our ability.
We Can Help With Every Aspect of Your Divorce in Douglasville, Georgia
Every divorce is unique in Douglasville, Georgia, and requires a tailor-made approach that focuses on the specific facts and circumstances involved.
Our family lawyers have the skills and experience to help you, no matter the nature and complexity of your case.
If you and your spouse disagree on even just one issue, your divorce is contested. In contested divorces, the effectiveness of your legal counsel can play a key role in how the issue(s) are determined by the court. We’re confident that we can help you achieve your goals; call today.
Even if you and your spouse agree on all of the issues, there is still a lot to take care of before your divorce is finalized. We’re here to make the process as painless and stress-free for you as possible. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our legal services.
In Georgia, property in a divorce is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Since reasonable minds can differ on what is considered “fair,” it can require skilled legal representation to make sure you aren’t taken advantage of during the property division process. Our lawyers are here to assist.
LGBTQ divorces can involve unique issues that aren’t present in other cases. Hiring a divorce lawyer experienced with similar cases to yours can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful result. We have significant experience with LBGTQ divorce cases and can help advocate for your rights.
Military divorces can be especially complex, as federal and military laws can apply in addition to state laws. At Bardley McKnight Law, our divorce attorneys understand the nuances that relate to military divorces, and we can provide you with meaningful, effective representation every step of the way.
Since Georgia follows an equitable distribution model of property division, having a high net worth makes hiring a trusted divorce lawyer more important than ever. Your property will be divided based on many factors, most of which are subjective to at least some extent. Our legal team is here to make sure your assets are divided justly.
Getting custody of your children might be the most important issue to you during your divorce case. Whether you are seeking sole physical custody of your child or just want to make sure you have adequate visitation rights, our family law firm can make your goals our top priority. Contact us today for help with your child custody case in Douglasville, GA.
Family courts in Georgia can consider many factors in determining whether child support should be awarded during a divorce. Your child’s best interests are what’s more important, and our lawyers thoroughly understand this area of the law. We’ll fight for your interests at all times as your case progresses.
Spousal support, or alimony, is often a key issue in a Douglasville divorce. If you don’t hire effective legal counsel, you could end up with an unfavorable outcome that leaves you in a difficult position going forward. The sooner you get in touch with our lawyers, the sooner we can start formulating a plan of action.
Divorce cases involving domestic violence tend to be some of the most complicated. If you don’t hire a qualified divorce lawyer, the proceedings might not work out in your favor – and the consequences could impact the rest of your life. Call our law office today to protect your rights.
What Alternatives Are There To Divorce Litigation in Douglasville?
Divorce cases are considered civil actions in a court of law. If your divorce is contested, at least one issue must be addressed by a family court judge by default.
However, Georgia law also allows spouses to pursue other, possibly less adversarial, methods to resolve their divorce cases.
One option you may be able to utilize instead of going to trial is to go through a meditation process. In meditation, a neutral third party (called a mediator) meets with the spouses to help them resolve the issues that they disagree on. The process is less formal and can be less expensive and faster than going through litigation.
Arbitration is more formal and trial-like than meditation, but still less so than full-blown litigation in court. During arbitration, a third party (the arbitrator) acts like a judge and determines how the contested issues are to be resolved. A key difference between mediation and arbitration is that with arbitration, the arbitrator’s decision is legally binding on the parties.
Call Our Douglasville Divorce Lawyers for Help Today
Going through a divorce is often an emotionally-charged, difficult experience for everyone involved. For better or worse, the truth is that how your divorce case proceeds can determine the course of the rest of your life.
This isn’t the time to cut corners; you need and deserve an effective legal advocate who will make you their top priority. Look no further than Bardley McKnight law. Our Douglasville divorce lawyers have 40 years of combined experience and are qualified to represent you during any type of case.
Call or reach out online today to schedule an initial consultation.
Additional Divorce Resources
- Divorce Documents – Douglas County Transit Master Plan
- File For Divorce – Georgia Government
- Court Services – City of Douglasville
- Georgia Divorce Videos and Forms – Judicial Council of Georgia
- DivorceCare recovery support groups in Douglasville.
Douglasville, GA Divorce Client Review
The team at Bradley McKnight Law really go the extra mile for their clients. They are very knowledgeable when it comes to family law. I’ve had the pleasure of working with them for the past couple of months and they have done an amazing job. They have been well prepared every time we step in the court room. They actually listen to their clients and formulate a plan based off your needs. They are hands down the best I’ve ever seen.
Read more reviews here.