Divorce, Alimony, Separation & Annulment
Our attorneys have unmatched expertise in representing clients throughout Georgia in divorce, separation and annulment.
Areas of Practice
Divorce, Alimony, Separation & Annulment
Guardian ad Litem
Contempt & Enforcement of Judgments
Paternity & Legitimation
Modification of Existing Orders
Mediation & Arbitration
Grandparent & Third Party Custody
Family law firm, Bloom Lines Alexander has over 35 years of experience with Georgia Divorce Laws.
Having an experienced Georgia family law attorney by your side during the stressful process is a necessity to make sure you are well prepared to move on when the divorce is final.
Divorce Laws In Georgia
In Georgia, a divorce can become final in as quickly as 31 days. A final divorce means that the judge has signed the final judgment and decree of divorce and it is filed with the clerk of court, and both parties are free to remarry.
Georgia has a much shorter waiting period than many other states. However, in order to have the divorce done within a short period of time, it is necessary to have an agreement that resolves all the issues that arise in a divorce.
For example, if you have children, you must have a parenting plan and an agreement regarding child support. If you own a home, you must have an agreement on what will happen to the house, such as if it will be sold, one of the parents will keep it, or it will be sold at a definite time in the future. If there are retirement accounts, you need to decide if those accounts will be divided, and, if so, whether you will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to make the divisions.
There are many other issues to be resolved, many of which you may not have considered. If you do not know what a QDRO is, or that you must have one prepared to divide a 401(k), that is one of many reasons to have an experienced family law attorney.
Atlanta Alimony Attorneys
Alimony is financial support paid to a spouse for his or her maintenance. It is not the same as child support. Alimony can be agreed upon or awarded on a temporary or permanent basis, and it can take on a variety of forms. Unlike child support, there is no mathematical formula for calculating alimony.
Factors that Determine Alimony in Georgia
Several factors are considered when determining the amount of alimony and the period of time over which it is paid, or duration, including:
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties
- The financial resources of each party
- Where applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable him or her to find appropriate employment
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party
- The financial condition of each spouse, including the separate estate, earning capacity, and fixed liabilities of the parties
A judge or jury has wide latitude to determine the amount and duration of alimony. Although the factors above must be considered, the two most important considerations in determining alimony are need and ability to pay. The length of the marriage is also an important consideration, particularly if one spouse has not worked outside the home for a number of years.
Considerations of the Courts in Alimony Cases
Our experience leads us to conclude that, in most instances, judges award alimony only to help the non-income earning spouse get started on an independent life. In most cases, the spouse who has been out of the work force is expected to find a job and support himself or herself without the assistance of the former spouse, after a period of time.
The spouse who will receive alimony is given time to find employment, but alimony is rarely awarded for a long term. The court will consider the spouse’s skills and potential earning ability, as well as other assets that will be awarded as part of the divorce, when it determines how long the alimony will be paid.
Of course, there is no one size fits all when it comes to alimony. The final decision regarding how much alimony will be paid each month and the length of time will depend on your specific circumstances.
Whether you are a spouse who may receive alimony or the one who may pay, our Atlanta, Georgia alimony attorneys will provide you with practical advice and realistic expectations to help you plan accordingly.
Modifications of Awarded Alimony
Once alimony has been awarded in a specific amount for a specific duration of time, it can be modified up or down under limited circumstances. However, the duration may not be changed. In order to have the amount of alimony increased or decreased, the party seeking a modification must be able to prove that there has been a substantial change in the income or financial status of either party.
Additionally, alimony can be modified downward or eliminated altogether if the party receiving alimony enters into a “meretricious” relationship that resembles marriage by virtue of shared expenses and the living arrangement. This is often referred to as the “live-in lover law.” A meretricious relationship is one where the former spouse and a third-party person dwell together continuously and openly in a relationship similar to marriage, i.e., it involves a sexual or financial component without a formal marriage.
Seeking alimony can be stressful, and that’s why we are available to help you during this difficult time. We encourage you to seek legal counsel to ensure that you receive all that you deserve. Contact the experienced Atlanta alimony lawyers at Bloom Lines & Alexander for more information.
Georgia Settlement Agreement Laws
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for a settlement agreement to end your marriage. All families and relationships are unique, and all circumstances for legal separation are different. You should always rely on the advice of your divorce attorney, and not listen to your mother, best friend, or neighbor, as outcomes are completely dependent upon your particular situation.
Even if you and your spouse have worked everything out, you should have an attorney review your agreement to make sure you have not overlooked any important details. It is much cheaper to have a divorce lawyer review your agreement before it becomes official than to try to fix an error later. In many situations, it cannot be remedied later on and you will bear the consequences of your mistake.
Georgia Mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution
Although our divorce attorneys at Bloom Lines Alexander in Atlanta encourage mediation methods rather than trials, we are experienced trial attorneys.
We have conducted both jury trials and bench trials throughout the state. Our divorce attorneys usually recommend against a trial where all the family’s issues will be aired in public, and a judge or jury will decide about your legal separation and other personal issues in your life. However, we will present your case in court with the same dedication and advocacy that you will receive from our team of attorneys, no matter how you choose to bring your case to resolution. Agreeing to participate in the Collaborative Divorce Process is also a viable choice.
Georgia Separate Maintenance Action
Georgia does not recognize a legal separation but does have a procedure called an action for separate maintenance.
If you do not want to get divorced but do not want to live together anymore, and you want to divide assets, enter a parenting plan, and provide for financial support, a separate maintenance action is a way to accomplish that goal.
However, we do not often recommend a separate maintenance action, for a couple of reasons. First, the other spouse can simply file a counterclaim for divorce, and you will end up being divorced. Second, once you have gone through the separate maintenance process, you will still be married.
If you decide that you want to marry someone else, you will have to go through the divorce process, resulting in a double expense. There are some situations where a separate maintenance action is completely appropriate, however, and our experienced family law attorneys can guide you through that process.
Legal Annulment in Georgia
Some clients in Atlanta want to annul their marriage rather than obtain a divorce. A legal annulment is very different from a religious annulment. The court must find that the marriage was void from the beginning. The marriage will be presumed to be a valid marriage without proof to the contrary. For example, if one of the spouses was previously married and never obtained a legal divorce, the second marriage can be annulled. However, if any children have been born during the marriage, the marriage cannot be annulled, and a divorce must be obtained to end the relationship.
Divorce lawyers in atlanta
Contact Bloom Lines Alexander
Our separation and divorce attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia will advise you about the legal nuances of divorce, separate maintenance, and/or annulment. Remember to tell your children that they are loved and will be cared for, no matter what. Contact Atlanta Divorce Lawyers for important information regarding your options, and let us guide you through this difficult process.
Families in Transition Seminars in Atlanta and Surrounding Areas
Clayton County – Seminar for Divorcing Parents
Cobb County – Seminar for Divorcing Parents
DeKalb County – Seminar for Divorcing Parents
Douglas County – Conciliation & Mediation Services Parent Education
Forsyth County – Seminar for Divorcing Parents
Fulton County – Families in Transition Seminar
Gwinnett County – Navigating Family Change: A Parent Seminar
Hall County – Seminar for Divorcing Parents
Henry County – Family Law Workshop
Paulding County – Seminar for Divorcing Parents