Experienced Divorce And Collaborative Law Counsel Serving Metro Georgia Area
A divorce can be an emotional and stressful time, full of unpleasant surprises and frustrating delays, but having the right lawyer can make the process move more smoothly — reducing the financial and emotional costs for you and your children.
At the Marietta, Georgia,family lawfirm of Law Offices of Gina Smalley, LLC, our focus is on reducing the stresses a divorce can have on your family by providing thorough and effective advocacy. Our goal is to help you achieve the best possible results while resolving matters cost-effectively and in a timely manner.
East Cobb Divorce Law Firm
In Georgia, divorce proceedings usually start with the filing of a petition for divorce by one spouse. The petition requests that the court terminate the marriage based on certain grounds for divorce, either fault-based grounds or no-fault-based grounds.
The petition for divorce is served on the other person, and that person must file an answer within a set period of time. Each divorce is unique. Depending on the circumstances involved, Georgia divorce may involve a wide range of issues that must be resolved:
- Child custody and visitation, including post-divorce custody modifications
- Determination of child supportand child support enforcement
- Determination of alimony/separate maintenance
- Division of property and debt
Utilizing Collaborative Divorce In Georgia
While many people typically think that these issues must be decided by a judge, it is possible for people to make decisions together in order for the process to run more smoothly. Sometimes, methods of alternative dispute resolution — like mediation or collaborative law — are also used.
At the Law Offices of Gina Smalley, LLC, we often encourage our clients to at least consider utilizing collaborative law. In collaborative divorce, both parties may have their own collaborative divorce attorney representing them and advocating for their best interests. Both parties agree to the collaborative divorce process. While going to trial is often unpredictable, collaborative divorce allows both parties to make decisions about what is going to happen to them — not just leave those decisions to a judge.
If a settlement can be reached, the agreement is submitted to the judge. After reviewing it, the judge usually approves the agreement and grants the divorce. If the judge does not approve, or if you cannot come to an agreement, your divorce may proceed to trial.
Types of Divorces:
Uncontested: A divorce is uncontested when both spouses consent and agree on all issues. In order to be a truly uncontested divorce, the following, if applicable, have already been discussed and largely agreed upon by the spouses:
- Division of assets (who gets what)
- Division of debt (who pays what)
- Custody (if children are involved)
- Child Support (if children are involved)
- Division of Retirement Accounts
If spouses have not fully agreed on these terms, but want and uncontested divorce, see Collaborative Divorce below.
Contested: Sometimes, agreements just cannot be reached. In this case, a divorce is considered “contested.” A contested divorce does not ALWAYS mean a long court battle. It simply means that, at least at the beginning, spouses do not agree on the best way to resolve their marital estate. At the Law Office of Gina Smalley, we have tried hundreds of contested divorce cases, and we know how to help people navigate the often confusing web of litigation.
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, The Law Office of Gina Smalley has the knowledge, skill and determination to help you protect what matters.
Modification, Contempt And Enforcement
After a divorce, ex-spouses remain subject to the court order. They must follow what the judge decided or the agreement reached, seeing their children according to the child custody and visitation schedule or paying the amount of child support ordered.
This does not always work in the long term. As circumstances change, spouses may need to return to court to modify or enforce an existing order. When this is the case, the legal team at the Law Offices of Gina Smalley, LLC offers experienced representation that can serve your needs.