Frequently Asked Questions on Georgia Family Law
No one relishes the idea of going to court to resolve a domestic issue. However, whether you’re getting a divorce, seeking proper child support or facing some other family law concern, it is critical to have honest, knowledgeable legal advice. At Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C. in Lawrenceville, we provide comprehensive legal support for Georgia residents in all types of family law matters and can help you get started by answering questions such as:
- Is Georgia a no-fault divorce state?
- What are the grounds for divorce in Georgia?
- How are assets divided in a Georgia divorce?
- What are child support obligations in Georgia?
- What is a parenting plan and do I need one?
You can end your Georgia marriage based on the fact that the union is irretrievably broken. This is what is referred to as a “no fault” divorce, because you are not alleging that your spouse has committed any type of marital misconduct. However, there are numerous traditional fault grounds that you can use if you intend to prove that the marriage was improper or that your spouse did something wrong. Discussing your situation with a qualified family law attorney will help you decide which option is best.
There are 12 fault-based divorce grounds under Georgia law. They are:
- Desertion of spouse for at least one year
- Habitual alcoholism
- Cruel treatment toward a spouse that creates a reasonable fear of injury
- Incurable mental illness
- Drug addiction
- Conviction of a crime of moral turpitude carrying a sentence of at least two years
- Illegality of marriage due to familial relationship
- Lack of capacity at the time of the marriage
- Improper coercion used at the time of the marriage
- Impotence at the time of the marriage
- Wife’s pregnancy at the time of marriage by another man, unknown to her husband
You can count on our firm for knowledgeable counsel from the pleading stage to the resolution of your divorce case.
Frequently, a divorcing couple will be able to reach consensus on how marital assets should be divided when the marriage ends. However, if you and your spouse cannot find common ground, the judge will make a decision based on Georgia’s equitable distribution law. Under this standard, the judge reviews numerous factors, including each party’s financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage and determines what is fair. You should understand that the value of the marital estate does not have to be split evenly.
The parent who does not have physical custody of their son or daughter is required to pay child support. In many situations, the rate is set according to Georgia’s formula, which takes into account the combined income of both parents and divides the child support responsibility based on the share of the total income that each parent collects. Adjustments can be made for parents who pay health insurance premiums for the child as well as for cases where residential custody is shared.
During divorces and other proceedings where custody is at issue, mothers and fathers need to develop a parenting plan that sets forth custody and visitation arrangements. Usually, it is best for the parents to agree on these terms and then submit them to the court for approval. However, parents might disagree on what is in a child’s best interests, so it could be necessary for each party to develop a proposal and then argue before the judge as to why their plan is the better way to meet their son or daughter’s physical, emotional, social and educational needs.