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Divorce Attorneys
Cordell & Cordell divorce attorneys exclusively practice family law with a focus on men’s divorce.
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Divorce Attorneys Serving Alpharetta

Key Takeaways

  • Georgia divorce rates are higher than average in the U.S., and, unfortunately, divorces usually come with conflict and stress.
  • In Alpharetta, you can opt to pursue a contested or uncontested divorce.
  • The State of Georgia does not require a waiting period to file for divorce, however, the law does require the Court not enter a Final Decree of Divorce until 31 days after the defendant has been served..
  • To pursue a Georgia divorce, you must meet residency requirements.
  • Georgia allows for both “no-fault” and “fault-based” grounds for divorce.
  • Working with a knowledgeable and skilled Alpharetta divorce attorney can help you with the complexities of divorce, especially regarding issues such as child custody, alimony, property division, and more.

Divorce rates in Georgia are higher than the national average. The process of divorce usually carries financial and emotional stress with it.

Divorce has several impacts, and the dynamic of your family will change. Important questions about assets and custody of children will be settled during this time, making it crucial that you understand Georgia laws around divorce.

While the process for divorce can be difficult, Cordell & Cordell’s experienced law firm for men is ready to assist in your divorce.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in Alpharetta

If you are facing a divorce in Alpharetta, you and/or your spouse can pursue either an uncontested or contested divorce.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is much like it sounds – you and your spouse both agree on all aspects of the divorce. Uncontested divorces are usually easier, are resolved outside a courtroom, and are finalized more quickly than contested divorces.

Contested Divorce

If you and your ex do not agree on one or more legal issues associated with your divorce, you have a contested divorce. Sometimes, contested divorces can be resolved through mediation, but if you are unable to reach an agreement on all issues, then a judge will make the decision on the unresolved issues..

Grounds for Divorce in Alpharetta, Georgia

A man and a woman sit facing each other; the woman appears to be speaking animatedly while the man listens pensively against a backdrop of a bright window.

Georgia does not require a specific waiting period before filing divorce. While you do not have to wait to file, it’s important to know Georgia does have residency requirements under Ga. Code § 19-5-2. You, or your spouse, must be a resident for at least six months before filing for divorce. The state allows you to file for either a “no-fault” or “fault-based” divorce.

Fault Divorce

States allowing fault-based divorces usually stipulate what grounds one party can use to file for divorce. In Georgia, fault-based grounds include adultery, desertion, mental incapacity, and cruel treatment.

No-Fault Divorce

No-fault divorces are based on the assertion a marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Essentially, this asserts both spouses cannot get along and there is no reason to believe things will change in the future.

Alimony in Alpharetta

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Georgia allows for one spouse to pay the other alimony. Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is not a guaranteed aspect of divorce, but one spouse may be awarded support based on factors set forth by statute. Courts typically consider factors such as:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Financial resources of each spouse
  • Individual earning capacity of each party

When determining alimony, a judge may also consider the needs of both parties and their ability to sustain their living situation.

How Assets Are Divided in Alpharetta

Georgia, like many other states, follows an equitable division approach in its divorce laws. This means marital property will be divided fairly, but this does not mean the division will necessarily be equal. Factors the court considers include:

  • Each spouse’s financial circumstances
  • Financial contributions to the marriage
  • Non-monetary contributions to the marriage
  • Length of the marriage
  • Each party’s earning capacity
  • Any other relevant factors (e.g. one spouse has a gambling habit or goes on expensive spending sprees – a judge may order the other party to reimburse an equitable portion of the money)

The first step in dividing assets and debts is for the judge to determine whether an asset or debt is marital. From a legal perspective, regardless of how the asset or debt is titled, with a few exceptions, the presumption is that anything earned or acquired during the marriage is marital.

Once the asset or debt is identified as marital, the court will then allocate it between the parties. This includes assets related to both home and business.

When Equitable Division Doesn’t Feel Fair

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Oftentimes, equitable division may not seem fair. Frequently, this is because judges take non-financial contributions into account. For instance, one spouse stays at home caring for the home and children while the other is the breadwinner who pays the bills, saves money, and builds retirement funds.

In this type of situation, monetary marital assets may be in the breadwinner’s name. Yet, a judge will often distribute money (and other assets) to both parties, despite one party taking care of financial planning.

Another situation that often feels inequitable is allocating marital debts, especially in cases where one party spends freely while the other saves. If expenses are found to be related to legitimate household expenditures, debt will most likely be allocated between both parties.

Note: If “wasted” on expenses not used for the household, the debt will usually go to the party who incurred the debt.

Tips For Identifying & Protecting Valuable Assets

Divorce is not about winning. Very rarely, if ever, can it be said that there is a “winner” in divorce. This is due to the very nature of divorce. No one comes away from a divorce with more than what he/she had access to as an intact family.

When assets and children are split up, everyone stands to lose. Be it time with your children or your assets, both sides are likely to come away from a divorce with less of both. “How much less?” is the real question. You see, divorce is really about degrees of losing rather than winning. Litigants who grasp and accept this principle earlier rather than later usually have an easier time with the process.

It is important to identify the assets that are important to you and to let your Alpharetta divorce lawyer know at the onset of your case. Virtually never does a divorce litigant receive everything he wants, so a logical place to begin the process is by organizing your assets by priority.

  • Consider your personal current circumstances and future goals.
  • Prioritize assets best aligning with your goals.
  • Consider a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement.

Since everyone has different priorities, be sure to communicate yours to your attorney early on in the divorce. If you aren’t sure and need guidance in defining your expectations, that is perfectly fine. This is something your attorney can explore with you.

Identifying and Dividing Assets in an Alpharetta Divorce

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Identifying and dividing assets in an Alpharetta, Georgia divorce typically involves several steps:

  • Inventory assets: Compile a comprehensive list of all assets, including real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles, investments, valuable items (jewelry, art, etc.), and any other property of value.
  • Determine ownership: Determine whether each asset is considered separate property (an asset owned before marriage or an asset received through inheritance during the marriage, which has not been commingled with marital property) or marital property (assets earned or accumulated during the marriage).
  • Obtain valuation: Determine the value of each asset. This may require appraisals for assets such as real estate, businesses, or valuable personal property. You will probably need to consult with professional appraisers or valuation services, especially for complex assets like businesses.
  • Negotiate property division: Once the assets are identified and valued, the parties will negotiate an equitable (fair) division. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, a judge will determine the division of the assets.

Lastly is a written agreement formalization which occurs when both parties reach an agreement on the division of the assets. Often referred to as a settlement agreement, this agreement is incorporated into a court order. This document specifies how assets are divided, along with other relevant details in the divorce settlement.

How is Child Custody Decided in a Divorce?

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When determining child custody, an Alpharetta judge will consider several factors when deciding child custody. Oftentimes, judges may award sole physical custody and joint legal custody. The latter gives each parent equal access to major decision-making, such as healthcare, education, and religion. Factors evaluated include:

  • Best interests of the child
  • How decisions regarding a child were made during the marriage
  • Child’s relationship with each parent
  • Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs
  • Child’s wishes (if old enough to express preference)

Men can face challenges during custody battles with their spouses. Custody cases are extremely important because the outcome of your case will govern access to your children in the future. This means you’ll want to approach the child custody component of your divorce very carefully and position yourself to present a strong case.

To do this, it’s vital you take an active role in your children’s lives and don’t let your spouse handle all doctor’s appointments, school conferences, home from school sick, birthday parties, and other needs of the child. If you defer to your wife and let her handle everything, it could be used against you in a custody case. Be active in your children’s lives and take on responsibilities so that you can prove your fitness for custody.

Having an attorney during a custody case is vital. You need to make sure that you have someone representing you, who knows the legal system, what judges are looking for, and who can diligently represent you through the process. One of the great benefits of having an attorney in a custody case is that the attorney can help you avoid making mistakes and can give you direction on what you should and should not do before, during, and after a custody case.

Why Work With Cordell & Cordell

The national family law firm of Cordell & Cordell has years of experience championing the rights of men. We truly understand the challenges men face during a divorce. Clients seek our legal services because we are known for our aggressiveness and confidence to stand up for men, advocating to protect their financial and family interests.

We still see bias men face in family courts and work to make things fair for husbands and fathers. When you hire Cordell & Cordell, you’ll get your day in court with your family law matter.

Hear From the Men We’ve Helped

“[My attorney] did everything exceptionally well. She was quick to respond, always available, and always there to answer any questions that I had. She always made herself available to me. She was absolutely great. She was always friendly, professional, and I could not have asked for a better experience overall.” — Daniel H.

“I am very very happy. [My attorney] was timely with responses and that is not something you get often these days so that really stood out. She was very personable and didn’t speak like a robot like some polished people in suits do. I really felt like she was on my side.” — Robert S.

Additional Resources

  • The Financial Impact of Remarriage: Generally, remarriage has no impact on child support since your ex’s new husband is not legally responsible for the children. However, if your wife remarries, if you pay alimony, in most cases, spousal support is terminated.
  • Enforcing Family Court Orders With Contempt Actions: Courts take contempt behaviors very seriously. If you believe your spouse is violating any court order, seek legal advice right away.

Mediating and Ligating Divorce in Alpharetta

The issues husbands and fathers face in court are often unique. Due to the biases that may exist, men may face difficult times when it comes to family court decisions. The attorneys at Cordell & Cordell understand these biases and will aggressively fight against them.

If you’re looking for strong advocacy for your family law issue, schedule a consultation with a Cordell & Cordell law office, call 866-DADS-LAW (323-7529), or fill out our online contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long is the Divorce Process in Georgia?

It is difficult to answer with certainty how long a divorce will take. Since no two situations are the same, the length of time a divorce takes will depend upon your specific circumstances and whether the divorce is uncontested or contested. Speaking with an Alpharetta divorce attorney about your exact situation will provide you with a more precise timeline.

What is Legal Separation in Georgia?

Legal separation is not a technical term in Georgia. Georgia follows a “separate maintenance” action to allow for separation without judicial termination of the marriage. A separate maintenance action allows spouses to live apart and can address issues such as child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support without officially dissolving the marriage. Couples might want to stay married for religious, financial, or other reasons (e.g., health insurance).

Are There Any Weird Marriage Laws in Georgia?

In Georgia, adultery is technically still a crime, but it is unlikely anyone has been convicted of it in several decades. If adultery is a factor, it is an issue to discuss with your Alpharetta family law attorney.

Should You Speak to an Opposing Lawyer?

Your attorney would recommend against speaking to the opposing council without your own legal representation present. Anything you say to an opposing counsel is not considered confidential and can be used against you in family law proceedings.

Frank Murphy

Edited By Frank Murphy

Chief Compliance Officer
Frank Murphy

Frank Murphy is the Chief Compliance Officer and an Executive Partner at Cordell & Cordell. His responsibilities include oversight of the Firm’s compliance with Legal and Ethical obligations as well as contributing to the day-to-day operations of the Firm as an Executive Partner.

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