Atlanta Divorce Checklist
If you are thinking of filing for an Atlanta divorce, you should make sure you are fully prepared prior to filing. You will also need to take the necessary steps to investigate Atlanta divorce attorneys.
This article will explain how to file for divorce in Atlanta. It will also help you understand how to hire Atlanta divorce lawyers.
Atlanta Divorce Requirements
Before you can file for divorce in Atlanta, you have to make sure that you meet the residency requirements. According to Georgia divorce law, to file for an Atlanta divorce, either you or your spouse must be a resident of the state for six months.
You also need to have legitimate grounds for divorce. Grounds for divorce simply means a reason for your divorce. In Atlanta, couples may divorce by citing that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This is called a no-fault divorce.
There are also 12 fault grounds for divorce in Atlanta. Fault grounds are forms of wrongdoing your spouse may have committed within the marriage that are legitimate reasons for a divorce. If you do not say the marriage is irretrievably broken, you will have to prove your spouse committed one of these faults. Examples of Atlanta fault grounds include:
- Desertion for at least one year
- Mental or physical abuse
- Too closely related to your spouse
- Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage
- Impotency at the time of the marriage
- Fraud or force in obtaining the marriage
- Husband was unaware the wife was pregnant at the time of the marriage
- Conviction and imprisonment of certain crimes
- Drug addiction or habitual intoxication
- Mental illness
Hiring an Atlanta Divorce Attorney
If you think you meet the divorce requirements, you should take the necessary steps to hire an Atlanta divorce lawyer.
First, find names of lawyers. For this, you can turn to family and friends for referrals. Ask those you know if they have used a divorce lawyer in the past whom they can recommend.
You can also use a site like Attorneys.com. Whether you live in Virginia-Highland, Midtown, Buckhead or another part of Atlanta, Attorneys.com can connect you with a local Atlanta divorce attorney. To start the process, fill out the brief form on this site or call 1-877-913-7222. After answering a few questions, Attorneys.com will connect you with at least one Atlanta divorce lawyer. That lawyer will call you within two business days or you can contact him at your convenience.
Once you have at least one lawyer you wish to speak with, set up an initial consultation. A consultation is an initial meeting that gives you the opportunity to get to know the lawyer and his practice, tell the lawyer about your case and decide whether to hire the attorney. You will want to write out a list of questions prior to the consultation. Also, remember to bring a pen and paper to take notes.
Questions to ask at the consultation include:
- How long has the attorney been handling Atlanta divorce cases?
- Has the lawyer ever handled a case like yours?
- What type of fee arrangement does the attorney use? How much does he cost?
- Does the attorney have experience with cases that involve child or spousal support payments?
- How can you reach the attorney if you have questions? How long will you have to wait for a response?
After you have spoken with the attorneys you are interested in, you should be able to make an informed hiring decision.
Filing for an Atlanta Divorce
Your attorney will help draft and file your divorce paperwork. Still, it is important for you to understand the filing process.
In Atlanta, the person seeking a divorce must file a document called the Petition for Divorce in the superior court where the spouse lives. If the spouse no longer lives in Georgia, you must file the paperwork in the county where you live. Assuming your spouse lives in the Atlanta area, you would file for divorce with the Fulton County Superior Court.
The Petition for Divorce includes marriage-related information, such as present living arrangements, any children of the marriage, debts, assets and the grounds for the divorce.
If your spouse is not contesting the terms of the divorce, then the court may grant the divorce 31 days after your spouse has been served with a copy of the divorce petition. However, if there is any disagreement, then the case will have to go to court. This means the process can last months.
Requesting a Temporary Hearing
If your divorce case is going to court, you can have your Atlanta divorce attorney request a temporary hearing. A temporary hearing allows the two parties in the divorce to make temporary agreements on a number of issues while they wait for their trial. These issues include child custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support, debts and property possession.
At the end of the temporary hearing, the judge will make a temporary order. This order will last from that point until the final trial.