In our 10-post blog series,“10 Ways to an Effective Divorce,” we explained the divorce process in the state of Georgia and answered tough questions about paying for the divorce, hiring an experienced family law attorney, important factors to consider when filing, assessing alimony and child support, using mediation effectively, determining equitable property division, and protecting important parental rights. We conclude our blog series with a brief discussion of what happens at the end of a divorce.
In most cases, the divorce process concludes when a judge signs a Decree of Divorce. Before doing so, all the terms of the divorce must be decided and incorporated into a settlement agreement or a court order if an agreement cannot be reached. As mentioned in previous posts, Georgia law requires a parenting plan and child support arrangement for all cases involving children under the age of 18. The parenting plan must include, among other things, the allocation of physical custody and identify how parents will make important decisions regarding their children.
In addition to issues of custody and child support, there must be a plan for division of assets and liabilities. Georgia is an equitable division state, meaning property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Spouses have the opportunity to divide property according to a private agreement and the court will adhere to and incorporate that agreement. If no decision is made before the scheduled trial date, the court will determine an equitable property division, whether related to real estate, automobiles, financial accounts, family photos, pots and pans, or credit card debts.
If all of the required agreements are properly drafted, executed and submitted to and approved by the court, it may not be necessary to have a trial. If the divorce goes to trial, any unresolved issues will be heard and then decided by the judge, or in some cases, even a jury. Both spouses will testify and be cross-examined. Each side may also call witnesses and present documentary evidence to be considered by the judge or jury in rendering their judgment or verdict.
Our family law attorneys and divorce lawyers at Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor recognize the stress that divorce can cause and we are skillfully trained to guide you through the complex divorce and child custody process. Let our family law attorneys and divorce lawyers help you understand your options and rights. Please contact us today at 770-280-1488 or complete our simple contact form to schedule a consultation and receive additional information.