Even in the best of circumstances, divorce actions are not easy for either spouse. Both parties are forced to make hard, often heart-wrenching decisions. When you and your spouse are not able to come to agreement on an issue related to property division, alimony, child custody, child support, or any other divorce-related determination, your divorce is said to be “contested.”
If you are dealing with a contested divorce, hiring an experienced family law attorney is one of the most important things you can do to protect your interests. The legal professionals at Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC in Atlanta are experienced and adept at handling all types of contested divorce matters. We work hard, and are not afraid to assert your rights. We’ll have your back, so you can focus on what’s ahead.
The Goal in Any Atlanta Contested Divorces
In any contested divorce, and in any divorce proceeding really, the end goal is to get to a place where you and your spouse can both live with the decisions included in the judge’s Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce (Final Decree.)
The Final Decree includes the ultimate determinations about how your property (assets and liabilities) will be divided, whether alimony payments are warranted, and if minor children are involved, how custody and support decisions will be made.
Getting to the Final Decree
The process for a contested divorce officially starts when one spouse files a document called a “Petition for Divorce” in the Superior Court. That document also needs to be served on the other spouse, who should have 30 days in which to file a response. After that response (called an “Answer”) is filed, there is generally a discovery period of six months during which both parties and their lawyers will gather information to be used at trial.
If you and your spouse have minor children, there may be a temporary hearing early on in the process to determine some of the issues that can arise as a result of the divorce action, including child support and custody matters.
- Named Partner with 18+ Years Experience
- Lauded for aggressive client advocacy and intelligent legal approaches
- Appeared as Legal Analyst on CNN, C-SPAN , FOX News’ The O’Reilly Factor, and MSNBC’s “Buchanan and Press”, and CNNfn.
When your divorce goes to trial, you and your spouse will be able to present your cases, although it is possible that through your attorneys, you and your spouse may be able to come to agreement and settle outside of the courtroom.
No matter the circumstances, contested divorces can be emotionally and financially draining. When you choose to work with the compassionate divorce attorneys at Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC, you will have an advocate on your side, helping you through every step of the process, so you don’t need to go it alone.
A Word about Fault
While there are different reasons or grounds for divorce, Georgia has a “no-fault” ground. If the Petition for Divorce says the marriage is irretrievably broken, it is not necessary to prove wrongdoing or fault by either spouse.
However, certain types of wrongdoing (like adultery) can play a part in a judge’s determination whether or not to award alimony payments, and in the equitable distribution of the couple’s assets and liabilities. If you can prove, through a preponderance of the evidence, that your spouse committed adultery and that your spouse’s adultery caused your marriage to fail, your lawyer may recommend filing on those grounds rather than using no-fault grounds.
What is Included in the Final Divorce Decree?
The Final Decree, when issued, will officially terminate your marriage. That document will include the following determinations, as applicable, based on the judge’s review of the cases presented at trial, or based on a settlement agreement:
Identifying and dividing marital assets can be one of the most contentious parts of a contested divorce matter.
Georgia law says that, in the absence of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement governing property division, assets should be divided equitably, based on the circumstances.
Your divorce lawyer will play a key role in helping ensure all assets, including assets titled in your spouse’s name alone, are reported properly, and in helping you obtain an equitable share.
Alimony payments, or spousal support payments from one spouse to the other, are not an automatic part of divorce actions in Georgia. However, there are situations where alimony payments are warranted.
When you choose to work with the professionals at Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC, we will help make sure alimony requests, or responses to alimony requests from your spouse, are handled in a manner that protects your rights and interests under Georgia law.
If you have minor children, it is important that custody decisions reflect what is in your child’s best interest. Unfortunately, spouses sometimes try to use minor children as bargaining chips when negotiating other facets of the divorce.
Your family law attorney will help make sure your rights, and the rights of your minor children, are front and center in any child custody determination, helping you prove your involvement in your child’s life to the court as necessary.
Providing financial support for minor children isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also the law in Georgia.
In a contested divorce action, child support amounts and requests can be an area of friction. Your divorce lawyer will help you put your child’s interests and needs first, with an eye toward how your financial situation, and that of your spouse, will impact the need for support and the ability to pay.
Dealing with Difficult Spouses and Situations
Finally, know that it is common for there to be additional difficulties that can come up in contested divorce actions.
Maybe your spouse is refusing to cooperate, or maybe he or she has a substance abuse problem or is battling a mental illness. Whatever the case, working with a practiced family law attorney can help take some of the stress and strain off of you, freeing you up to focus on what’s next.
Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC: Here to Help You Through Your Contested Divorce
Any divorce can be hard, but contested divorce actions can be particularly difficult.
Whether you need an attorney to help you file a Petition for Divorce against your spouse, or you have received notice of a Petition and need legal counsel to protect your own interests, you can count on the knowledgeable, skilled divorce attorneys at Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC in Atlanta.
We are committed to helping our clients get through the divorce process, no matter how complex or involved, with their heads held high.
To learn more about how we can help make a contested divorce action a little bit easier, contact us online today, or call us at 404.996.0806.