What are grounds for divorce in Georgia?
Georgia residents 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 common grounds for divorce are that the marriage is irretrievably broken. That is, there is no specific fault of a party involved and the marriage is simply no longer viable. However, Georgia law still contains other grounds for divorce. These are set out in Georgia Code 19-5-3. There are 13 possible grounds set out, including irreconcilable differences. The first five of these deal with conditions that are present at the time of the marriage. Some examples include:
- 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
The rest of the grounds can develop during the course of the marital union. 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. However, those who are contemplating divorce may wish to consult a Cumming Georgia family law attorney to determine which grounds best fit the specific situation at hand.
Call 770-887-1209 to speak to 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 devastated, emotionally, and overwhelmed by the legal obstacles. Expert attorneys like Cindy English of Banks Stubbs and McFarland will make your divorce as smooth as possible.
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 cheaper than contested ones, but that does not mean that the process is necessarily easy in the state of Georgia.
If the couple has a difference in opinion regarding the three main issues listed above, the divorce is typically considered contested. Contested divorces do not always come with anger and aggression between the parties. Disagreements may arise with even the most amicable of marriage dissolutions. The couple may just need help compromising with the planning and execution of 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 for a free consultation.
Why Do I Need an Attorney for an Uncontested Divorce?
Though you may believe your uncontested divorce will be easy, it is strongly encouraged that you hire an attorney. Many court required documents are needed during a divorce in Georgia such as financial affidavits, the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and the Marital Settlement Agreement. An attorney will ensure that these are completed properly in order to prevent additional costs and delays from occurring. Additionally, legal proceedings such as hearings, mediations and trials are also still possible with an uncontested divorce, and an attorney will help relieve the stress of those events.
A lawyer cannot represent both parties, so if your spouse 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!