Divorce Attorney in Columbus, GA
FAQs on divorce laws in Alabama and Georgia
What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce means that the parties have an across-the-board agreement on all of the issues that need to be legally resolved in their divorce. If the parties have children, this means they are in agreement on custody, visitation, the amount of child support to be paid by the non-custodial parent, etc. The parties must also be in agreement as to how they will divide their assets (real estate, vehicles, retirement accounts, etc.) and their debts (credit card bills, mortgage payments, car payments, etc.).
Can you represent me and my spouse in an uncontested divorce?
No. It is legally impossible for an attorney to represent both sides in an uncontested divorce. It also violates the Rules of Professional Conduct to somehow attempt to do so. In an uncontested divorce, one party is represented by the attorney drafting the necessary documents, and the other party has no attorney or can hire an attorney of his or her choosing. For this reason, you should never bring your spouse to an initial divorce consultation. You need an opportunity to speak in confidence with your attorney before bringing your spouse into the situation.
What if I don’t know where my spouse is living?
If your spouse has relocated, and you can’t find him or her, then an uncontested divorce is not a possibility. An uncontested divorce assumes that the other party can be located and is willing to sign settlement documents. You will need to file a contested divorce and serve your spouse by publication of a legal notice. Divorces by publication can only accomplish a few limited goals, so you should make all possible efforts to locate your spouse prior to the filing of a divorce.
How long does it take to complete an uncontested divorce?
Once the documents are signed and filed with the court, it takes approximately 45 days to complete an uncontested divorce.
Can I complete my uncontested divorce without coming to court?
Yes. If you are overseas with the military, or if you have simply moved away from the county where your divorce needs to filed, an uncontested divorce can be completed through the mail using written affidavits in place of in-court testimony.
How much will my divorce lawyer cost?
The cost of a divorce is directly determined by the amount of time that must be invested in the representation. Consequently, uncontested divorces are cheaper than contested divorces. Usually cases involving children are more expensive than cases that only involve property division. The complexity of the dispute determines the fee. For a fee quote for your divorce, please contact our office.
I’ve been served with a divorce. What should I do next?
You should contact an attorney immediately. If you have been served with a divorce, you have a deadline by which you must file a response with the court. If you fail to answer the divorce, you will be in default, and the divorce will be completed without you. If you fail to file your answer on time, then you are at the mercy of your spouse and his or her attorney to treat you fairly in your absence.
How is child support calculated?
In both Georgia and Alabama, child support is computed through the use of a mathematical formula. The calculations use the gross incomes of both parties, child care costs (if any), health insurance costs for the child (if any) and other child-related expenses. Your personal monthly expenses such as rent, utility bills, and credit card bills do not impact child support calculations. Only child-related expenses affect child support calculations.
Am I entitled to alimony? Will I have to pay alimony?
In all divorce cases, the issue of alimony is left to the discretion of the judge, and unlike child support, there is no formula for calculating alimony. The issue of alimony depends on one spouse’s need for the alimony and the other spouse’s ability to pay alimony. The length of the marriage, the incomes of the parties and the household expenses of the parties are factors that impact alimony determination.
Are there parenting classes I have to attend before I get my divorce?
If the parties have children, most counties require divorcing parents to attend a class to learn about the effects of divorce and visitation schedules on minor children. In Georgia, the class is referred to as the Seminar for Divorcing Parents. In Alabama, it is referred to as the Trans-Parenting Seminar. The class is usually only a single, one-night session and not a series of classes.
What is the difference between a guardianship of a minor and adoption?
Guardianships are temporary in nature and the legal parents do not terminate their legal rights as a parent. A legal parent may petition at any time to have a guardianship revoked. Adoptions establish a permanent parent/child relationship and the rights of the biological parents are terminated.
Where are guardianships filed?
In the county where the potential guardian resides.
In certain circumstances, we will need clients to provide us with documentation at the time we commence our representation or later during the natural flow of the case. This documentation may include marriage licenses, birth certificates, proof of income, certified documents from previous litigation and other kinds of public records. Below is a list of websites where such information can be obtained as well as links to required parenting seminars, child support calculators, and other information that prospective or current clients may find helpful.
- Pastoral Institute – Seminar for Divorcing Parents (Georgia)
- Transparenting Seminar (Alabama)
- Alabama Child Support Calculators
- Georgia Child Support Calculators
- Alabama Birth Certificates, Marriage Licenses and Divorce Certificates
- Georgia Birth Certificates, Marriage Licenses and Divorce Certificates
- Military Pay Tables
- Muscogee County Deed Records and Court Dockets