What To Know About The Divorce Process In Georgia
Hiring a skilled lawyer can be one of the most important factors in the outcome of your case. At Michael D. Barber & Associates, P.C., in Atlanta, we work to ensure every client has the information and resources they need to understand the divorce process. It is important to know what to expect during the entire process and what to expect from a family law attorney. A basic overview of that information is provided below.
How Does The Process Begin?
Divorce proceedings begin by filing a complaint or petition with a court for a judgment of divorce. Generally, attorneys create these documents for the plaintiff. In Georgia, the defendant in a divorce complaint/petition has a limited time to file an answer (a response is usually due within 30 days, but there are some exceptions).
The answer is usually brief, admitting or denying parts of the complaint. With the answer, the defendant files a claim to set forth their position on the basic facts and the relief sought. As a defendant, although not necessary, it is our position that filing your demands as a defendant must be done; without it, you could find yourself at trial facing an agenda set by the opposing side’s inflated and uncontested position. Just like the answer for the defendant, the plaintiff has a time-restricted period to file a response to the defendant’s claims.
What Are Legal Motions?
Early in the process, parties may file motions for temporary orders to address any pressing issue that cannot wait until the end of the divorce. But most parties make serious efforts to arrive at an acceptable temporary arrangement without going to court. Avoiding temporary orders will help keep down attorneys’ fees and possibly create a more favorable impression on the judge. The types of temporary motions range from temporary child support, temporary child custody, temporary restraining orders, to more.
What Is Discovery?
In any legal case or filing, discovery is where information is gathered to support your case and help dispute the opposing side. This is the time period wherein you gather information for your attorney to present to the court.
Trial preparation/discovery is one area where our firm shines. We have extensive experience in trial work and have learned how to anticipate your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s case.
The Role Of The Court
It is true that a very small number of divorces go to trial. Determining the likelihood of your case going to trial depends on certain factors, including the parties’ salary levels and the overall length of the marriage. There are some restrictions on the trial that the court places, which include the time the court allocates for the case to be litigated and the number of issues that have to be discussed. Evidence is presented through the use of witnesses and exhibits. Once all the evidence you present is concluded, you will then “rest,” and then it is the other side’s turn to make their case.
Reaching An Agreement In Your Case
It is common for cases to settle on either the day of trial, during trial and sometimes earlier. The term settlement involves the use of a settlement agreement. Using the settlement agreement has advantages. A reasonable agreement may allow you and your spouse more control over your judgment rather than leaving it up to either a judge or a group of your peers (a jury). Many clients prefer to avoid the anxiety of a trial or leave the outcome of their lives in a judge or jury’s hands.
Have Questions About Your Case? Contact Us For Answers.
Michael D. Barber & Associates is pleased to offer free initial consultations to prospective clients in Atlanta and surrounding parts of Georgia. To schedule yours, call us at 404-334-2818 or fill out our online contact form.