Divorce Lawyer: Fulton County, Decatur, GA

During any divorce, there are many financial and personal decisions to make. In a divorce without minor children, the primary issues that must be resolved are the division of marital property, marital debt allocation and alimony. In divorces with minor children (under 18 years of age), we must also resolve issues related to child support, child custody and visitation rights.

Not all property is “marital.” Neither inherited property, nor property that was previously owned by either spouse is marital in nature, and therefore not typically considered among the marital assets that must be divided. However, sometimes non-marital property becomes comingled with marital property and becomes subject to the division during a divorce. In a short-term marriage, there may be no marital property to divide at all. In a long-term marriage, most property becomes marital in nature. Any property that was acquired during the marriage is typically marital in nature including houses, vehicles, retirement savings and business ventures created during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the deed, title, or account.

The same is true for marital debt. All debt incurred during the marriage, including mortgage obligations, deeds, credit card and tax debt is typically marital in nature, and thus subject to equitable allocation during the divorce process.

Equitable distribution of property and allocation of debt does not necessarily imply a 50:50 division. In a contested case, the court will base its distribution on what it considers to be equitable or fair under the facts, which vary greatly from case to case. A court will weigh arguments, evidence and possibly expert testimony about the value of assets in order to determine what is equitable.

It is always best if the parties are able to reach an agreement on the division of property and allocation of debt. This is most likely to happen when an experienced attorney guides them through the process. If the parties fail to address all relevant issues in their settlement agreement, it may require expensive and difficult litigation to resolve any problems in the future.

If you would like to discuss your case, call or email for a free, confidential consultation.

Alimony

There are two types of alimony that may be awarded by the court in Georgia. Temporary Alimony is based on relative inequalities of income between the spouses and may be awarded early in the divorce process. It serves to maintain the family household while the divorce is pending, and to level the playing field when one spouse has more income than the other through an award of temporary attorney's fees. Permanent Alimony is that which is in place after the divorce is final. In a contested case, the party seeking alimony will have a much better claim if they can prove that the other spouse is at-fault for the divorce. If there is no at-fault basis for the divorce, the court may not award alimony, but an at-fault basis is not required. There are many factors involved in the court's determination of whether alimony will be granted. However, in an uncontested case that settles by agreement, Permanent Alimony will only be paid if a spouse agrees to pay it, whether there is an at-fault basis or not.

In the case of a short-term marriage, even if there is an at-fault basis for the divorce, there may be minimal alimony awarded, or possibly none at all. If there is no alimony agreement, and the decision to pursue alimony by going to trial is considered, the cost of litigation must be weighed against the likely outcome. When both parties are gainfully employed and earning similar incomes, an award of alimony in a contested case becomes further unlikely.

If you would like to discuss your case, call or email for a free, confidential consultation.

  • Hopkins Law, LLC

    160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 200
    Decatur, GA 30030

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    Phone: 678-954-5786

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    Mon: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
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