What are grounds for divorce in Georgia?
Georgia resident may be familiar with the term “no-fault divorce,” but Georgia does not define divorce in terms of “no-fault” or “at-fault.” The most commonly used reason in divorce pleadings is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. That is, there is no specific fault for any party. However, Georgia law still contains other grounds for divorce. These are set out in Georgia Code 19-5-3. Some of the grounds available deal with conditions that are present at the time of the marriage. For example:
- The parties are too closely related to have been legally married
- One of the parties lacks the mental capacity to consent at the time of marriage
- Fraud or duress was used to secure the marriage
- The husband is impotent
- The wife is pregnant by someone other than the person she marries at the time of the marriage
Other grounds for divorce involve issues that develop during the marriage. These can include:
- Willful cruelty
- Desertion by a party for over a year
- Habitual drunkenness or drug addiction
- An incurable mental illness
- The conviction of a party for a crime involving moral turpitude along with a prison sentence of at least two years
In most cases, the irretrievably broken (similar to a no-fault divorce) will likely be most beneficial, due to the lack of a need to prove any specific elements. If you are contemplating divorce, you should consult a Georgia family law attorney to determine which grounds best fit your situation.
Call 770-887-1209 to schedule your appointment with one of our divorce attorneys or use our contact form to arrange a consultation.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
Ending a marriage is a complicated process. You may be overwhelmed by the legal obstacles. Expert attorneys like Cindy English and Beau Stubbs of Banks, Stubbs and McFarland will take the time to listen to you and to explain your options. Our goal is to help you through this difficult process and protect your legal rights.
What is the Difference between an Uncontested and a Contested Divorce?
The terminology surrounding a divorce is confusing. Many clients do not understand if they have a contested or uncontested divorce. To clarify, a divorce requires that the couple compromise on three issues:
Generally speaking, if the couple agrees with the goals and terms surrounding those three issues, the divorce is considered uncontested. It does not matter if one party wishes to stay married. If the couple is completely adhering to a set plan, a prenuptial agreement or separation agreement, the divorce is uncontested. Uncontested divorces are generally quicker and less expensive than contested ones, but that does not mean that the process is necessarily easy in the state of Georgia.
If the parties cannot agree on all aspects of the three main issues listed above, the divorce is considered contested. Contested divorces do not always come with anger and aggression between the parties. Disagreement may arise in even the most amicable of divorces. The parties may just need help communicating, compromising, drafting, and executing the terms of the divorce.
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, contact the attorneys at Banks, Stubbs and McFarland to manage the process for you. Call 770-887-1209 today schedule a meeting with one of our skilled legal professionals.
Why Do I Need an Attorney for an Uncontested Divorce?
Though you may believe your uncontested divorce will be easy, you are strongly encouraged to hire an attorney. Many documents are required in a divorce in Georgia, such as financial affidavits, child support worksheets, settlement agreements and other pleadings. Our attorneys will ensure that these are completed properly to prevent additional costs and delays from occurring in your case. Additionally, legal proceedings such as hearings, mediations and trials are still possible in an uncontested divorce and our experienced attorneys will handle these matters and ensure that your rights are protected.
A lawyer cannot represent both parties in a divorce. If your spouse has hired an attorney, you need one as well, to ensure that your interests are protected. Here are some concerns that arise when you are not protected by a lawyer during a divorce:
1. Terms may not be fair without an attorney.
Just because you and your spouse agree on a financial payment or custody arrangement, that may not mean you are receiving all that you are entitled to by law. Lawyers know what is fair and equitable and will ensure you receive what you deserve.
2. Discovery only takes place with an attorney.
Though you may trust your former spouse, only an attorney can require full disclosure of assets and finances. Without a lawyer supervising the divorce, your spouse could hide or move money and property to prevent you from receiving your fair share.
3. Attorneys are the best at anticipating changes or disagreements.
Though you and your spouse may see things eye to eye now, you still need an attorney for future issues. Having an attorney from the start will make the process easier and less time-consuming should an uncontested divorce become contested. Similarly, attorneys need to supervise custody and financial agreements to ensure that you are protected should there be a change in circumstances such as relocation of the child or an increase or decrease in finances.
Don’t let your uncontested divorce leave you unprotected. Call 770-887-1209 now to schedule your appointment with expert attorneys at Banks, Stubbs and McFarland today!