The Divorce Process
Divorce is a part of Family Law and we take Family seriously at Michael D. Barber & Associates. Our firm was founded around Family Principles from when Michael D. Barber Sr., handed down his knowledge.
Sometimes people in marriages once deeply in love grow apart for various reasons. Many times when this happens one or both parties may file for divorce. These situations are very emotional and as a result making sound, correct decisions is challenging.
Hiring a skilled lawyer can be one of the most important factors in the outcome of your case.
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. Divorce can be a long process so its best to have experience on your side.
The First Step
Divorce proceeding begins 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 his or her 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 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.
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 and 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 where you gather information for your attorney, or you, to present to the court.
One thing our firm knows is how to think around the other side. We have extensive experience in trial work and have learned how to anticipate your soon to be ex spouse’s case.
Making Decisions in 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 level, the overall length of the marriage. There are some restrictions on the trial that the court places which include the time the court allocates, or allows, the case to be litigated, the number of issues that have to be discussed, and especially how complex the issues surrounding your situation.
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 on 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 leaving the outcome of their lives in a judge or jury’s hands.
Call us today to get the proper guidance on how you should best move forward.