If you have decided divorce is the best option for you and your spouse, our family law attorneys are equipped and ready to walk through the process with you.
The divorce attorneys at Brown, Dutton & Crider understand the complex and emotional strain a divorce can cause, and we are fully prepared to guide you through each step of the process, making sure you know what is going on with your case every step of the way. We are skilled in helping our clients regardless of their circumstances, whether it’s a matter of marital property division, spousal support, alimony, child custody, visitation, or child support.
Every client is unique, as is their divorce, and depending on your circumstances, your divorce may be contested, collaborative, or uncontested.
- During an uncontested divorce in Georgia, a couple agrees on all terms of their divorce. This includes factors like custody, child support, visitation, alimony, and distribution of marital property. An uncontested divorce can take between 30 and 60 days to get to court.
- During a contested divorce in Georgia, a couple does not agree to all the terms and traditional litigation may be necessary. A contested divorce often involves pleadings, discovery, motions, a temporary hearing, mediation, and possibly a trial. This type of divorce generally takes 30 days to have an answer filed, then six months of discovery, followed by additional time waiting for a trial date. Contested divorces can take up to several years to finalize.
- During a collaborative divorce in Georgia, a couple agrees to forgo the route of traditional litigation and work with their attorneys to resolve their differences outside of court. This type of divorce often takes less time and money, and can include other professionals, such as child custody specialists, financial planners and divorce coaches. Having neutral third parties involved in your collaborative divorce prevent any kind of bias and can help you settle your case without involving the court.
Divorce is hard. We want to help. The attorneys at Brown, Dutton & Crider have years of experience walking alongside clients during the most difficult times of their life and want to help you protect your family and their futures.
THE DIVORCE PROCESS
Divorce begins by one spouse filing what is called a “complaint of divorce,” with the appropriate court. This document goes over general facts about the process, including the reason for divorce and names of the spouses. After the complaint has been filed, it will be served to the other spouse (sometimes referred to as the respondent). The respondent will have up to 30 days to respond to the complaint, including any counterclaims they wish to file.
At least 31 days must pass between a complaint of divorce filing and the Final Decree of Divorce. Georgia’s 31-day waiting period is relatively short compared to the waiting times of other states. However, no matter how motivated you are to finalize your divorce, it is rare for the entire process to only take 31 days.
A judge will need to sign off on your settlement regardless of any agreement you and your spouse decide on. For an uncontested divorce in Georgia, a practical timetable is around 60 days for couples who have come to terms on everything before filing a complaint of divorce.
When a couple cannot come to an agreement on any one aspect of their divorce agreement, even after mediation or collaborative divorce is attempted, the divorce is classified as contested. Contested divorces in Georgia take longer than an uncontested divorce, and most counties in Georgia require divorcing couples to first entire mediation before a final court hearing.
One major reason contested divorces take longer is due to the discovery phase. The discovery phase is the process by which both spouses, represented by their respective attorneys, seek to formally uncover information that will help their case. This often means asking for financial documents, interviewing friends and family, and logging marital property that will be subject to division by the judge. The discovery phase typically lasts around six months but can be extended upon attorneys’ request.
DIVORCE EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL EXPECTATIONS
One of the biggest concerns when considering divorce are the costs involved. The time needed to complete a divorce varies depending on the case, which is why costs can be difficult to estimate. For a quality attorney who will help ensure your needs and wishes are secured in the divorce agreement, costs can surpass $20,000 in a contested case. That may sound like a lot, but the potential costs of not receiving an equitable decree resulting from an incompetent attorney or family law firm can be far greater.
Settling the terms of your divorce through mediation is less expensive. On top of court and attorney fees, there is a fee to file for divorce, which is usually around $250, although this varies from county to county.
Divorce is different for everyone. It’s not an easy process, even if you agree with your spouse on every term and condition. Having a strong support system of friends, family, or coworkers is vital for individuals going through divorce.
Another beneficial practice when going through divorce is family counseling. It can be extremely helpful for children who appear to be struggling with the adjustment of divorce. Ultimately, retaining the services of an attorney that fits your goals and makes you comfortable is critical, as this person will be your companion throughout this difficult time.
With everything that will be thrown your way during your divorce, you need a divorce lawyer who will listen to your needs, is responsive to your inquiries, and will work diligently and thoroughly to represent your best interest. Brown, Dutton & Crider Law Firm would be honored to walk alongside you and be your knowledgeable family law attorney. We are well-versed in every family law matter and can assist you in any process relating to your divorce, whether it’s child custody or if you’re unsure what kind of divorce is right for you.
Call us, email us or fill the contact form below to schedule a consult with one of our top divorce lawyers.