Before beginning the process of divorce in Georgia, there are a few things you should know. At Hall & Navarro we want to help you have the smoothest possible divorce process. Here are three important things that are helpful to consider before your process begins.
1. If children are involved, ensure that they remain the highest priority.
Divorce will bring about many changes in your family dynamic. It’s important that your children remain the highest priority throughout the process. Caring for your children during divorce involves making important decisions about factors such as child support, insurance, child care, education, residence, and how much time the child should spend with each parent. If you are on amicable terms with your spouse, it’s a good idea to discuss how the divorce may affect your children before the process begins.
In Georgia, parents must support their children, generally until a child reaches 18. Typically, the non-custodial parent is required to pay a reasonable amount to the custodial parent to assist with living expenses. There are many myths regarding child support, and it’s important to know the truth about child support before you agree to any terms.
Child support may also include payment for health insurance, medical and dental expenses, and life insurance. It’s best to agree on which parent will be responsible for each of these responsibilities and to what extent before going to court. Many couples use mediation to work through this process. However, if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, it’s best to secure a lawyer that will help you work through the process.
The most important thing to remember is that your child should come first. Do not speak badly of the other parent in front the child, and DO NOT put the child in the middle. The most important thing to remember is that even though you may not love your spouse anymore, your child does.
2. Whose is whose? [Dividing your belongings]
Marital property describes all property acquired during the marriage, except for property received by gift from a third party or by inheritance. Each spouse is entitled to an “equitable” (which means fair, but not necessarily equal) share of the marital property. There is no set formula for splitting up marital property; however, credit may be given to a party who contributed “separate” or “premarital” property to the marriage. Georgia case law sets forth a complicated formula to determine how the contribution of “separate” property to the marriage is to be handled.
3. Which divorce option is best?
Divorce is not ‘one size fits all.’ According to Forbes, there are four common options. These include:
Pro se: The couple is able to fill out and submit the divorce papers themselves, without any legal assistance.
Court litigation: The couple disputes the terms of the divorce decree through use of attorneys in the court system.
Mediation: Couples are able to sit down and negotiate the terms of their own divorce settlement in a civil, non-confrontational environment. A mediator, rather than personal attorneys, is present to guide the discussion, answer questions and ensure the settlement is complete.
Collaborative divorce: This option is much like mediation; however, each party enters the negotiations process with a personal attorney.
It’s important to pick the right option in order to put your best foot forward in the divorce process. Hall can help you do that.
With extensive experience in divorce and family law, Hall & Navarro is prepared to help you work through these three important considerations before you begin your divorce process. You are not alone. Contact us today for a consultation!