Macon Divorce Lawyer Provides Personalized Service
Straightforward counsel from a knowledgeable Georgia attorney
If you are contemplating divorce in Macon, you may think you’ve got to go all the way to Atlanta for professional representation. You can certainly find a competent divorce lawyer there, but for all the inconvenience and added expense, you won’t get the personalized service you’ll find at Skinner Family Law in Macon. I limit my caseload so I can give you the attention you deserve. You work directly with an attorney who has more than 30 years of legal experience, who is determined to deliver the best possible results for you.
Capable assistance for all types of Georgia divorces
Georgia law provides for a variety of divorce processes, including:
- Uncontested divorce — When spouses agree on how they want to settle their ancillary issues (alimony, child custody, child support, and property division), they can avoid a hearing on those issues and simply submit a marital settlement agreement to the court for approval.
- Contested divorce — If the spouses fail to reach a complete settlement, outstanding issues go to trial in family court.
- No-fault divorce — Georgia has 13 grounds for divorce, including adultery and cruelty, but the state also allows petitioners to file for no-fault divorce citing only an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” This eliminates one very contentious issue and makes it easier to achieve an uncontested divorce.
- Military divorce — Although military service members get divorced under state law, there are special considerations, including protections for active duty personnel on deployment and pension benefits.
Whenever possible, it’s best to seek the least confrontational process for divorce. However, when there is a history of abuse in the marriage or serious differences exist on major issues, you must have an attorney who is prepared to go to court to fight for your rights.
What to expect from the divorce process in Georgia
To avoid any mistakes that might complicate your divorce, you should consult an attorney before taking any action. These are the steps of a typical Georgia divorce:
- Pre-filing — You meet with your attorney to discuss the process, the requirements, and your circumstances to determine the most effective strategy. It is important to bring along all the documents you have related to your finances, such as tax returns, deeds, bankruptcy petitions, and checking and savings account statements. You attorney should then advise you to keep a monthly budget of expenditures to present to the court if you will need a temporary support order.
- Filing — In some instances, it is preferable to file first and to do it quickly. For example, if a dependent spouse is concerned the other is going to hide assets, filing the Petition freezes marital assets because the court issues an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order, prohibiting transfers of wealth that would deprive a dependent spouse of support during the divorce proceedings. The filing spouse must submit a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, also known as a Complaint, which asks the court to hear the case and decide the ancillary issues on terms favorable to the Petitioner. Several court documents must accompany the Petition, such as a Disclosure Statement; a Domestic Relations Case Filing Information Form; a Report of Divorce, Annulment, or Dissolution of Marriage; and an Acknowledgment of Service and Consent to Jurisdiction or Sheriff’s Entry of Service. There is also a filing fee of several hundred dollars.
- Service of process — The Petitioner must arrange for a third party to serve the Respondent spouse with the Complaint and Summons.
- Respondent’s Answer — The Respondent spouse is required to file an Answer with the court within 30 days of receiving the Complaint. The Answer may contain a Counterclaim, if the Respondent disagrees with how the Petitioner asks the court to resolve the case. A counterclaim is not necessary in an uncontested divorce.
- Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit — Each spouse must file this form with the court to give the judge an overview of their finances.
- Discovery — If either party is dissatisfied with the financial disclosure in the Affidavit, he or she can demand answers to questions or the production of certain documents from the other.
From here, the parties can negotiate a marital settlement or seek a resolution through mediation. Unresolved issues go to the family law court for trial. Depending on the complexity of the case and the cooperative nature of the parties, a divorce can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. For answers to many basic concerns, see my Divorce FAQ.
Contact a knowledgeable Macon attorney to manage your Georgia divorce
Skinner Family Law provides personalized attention to every detail of your divorce through every step of the process. For thoughtful representation at a fair rate, call Skinner Family Law today. You can reach me by phone at 478-845-1058 or contact my Macon office online to schedule a consultation.