Atlanta Divorce Lawyer
Experienced Divorce Attorneys Serving in Atlanta, Georgia
Regardless of who initiated it, the decision to divorce is rarely a sudden one. Perhaps when you look in the mirror each morning, you say to yourself, “I need to get out of this marriage. It is no longer working, and it is beyond repair. I need to start a new life.” Or maybe your spouse has made that decision for the both of you. One thing is certain—we all want to stay in love forever. However, this is not always the reality. In fact, nearly 50 percent of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce. Nobody wants to be part of this statistic; nevertheless, when all hope for reconciliation is gone, sometimes divorce is the only avenue for recapturing the life you deserve.
Kessler & Solomiany has a team of more than 25 professionals, including lawyers, paralegals, and clerks, making the firm one of the largest and most prominent family law firms in the Southeast. You owe it to yourself and your family to be fully prepared. Your steps, moving forward, include finding a lawyer, developing a budget, filing and serving divorce papers, determining costs, taking deposition testimony, seeking custody of children, and dividing assets. It is our life’s work and goal to make a difference in your journey and the challenging journeys of families facing difficult times.
Why Should I Hire a Divorce Attorney?
If you can afford a lawyer, then you should schedule an initial consultation right away. Rather than just calling a family friend who happens to be a lawyer or finding someone online, you must contact an attorney who specializes in divorce and/or family law. The Constitution of the United States grants the states the power to regulate issues relating to the family. Therefore, as you can imagine, there are nuances between each state’s divorce laws that only a trained family law attorney can properly recognize. Remember, your lawyer is there to protect your interests throughout what may be a long and complicated ordeal, and that can only occur if they understand the intricacies of divorce law in your state.
Perhaps you are parting with your spouse as good friends, and you think that you can handle the division of your property and other matters on your own. There is a common phrase among family law attorneys: “In our profession, we see the best people at their worst.” Although you were once a union of two people, you are becoming two individuals. Sadly, even the closest friends will disagree on the division of money, property, goods, and, most importantly, issues relating to their children. Your spouse will undoubtedly be securing a lawyer’s services, so you should as well, even if you feel like it is an amicable divorce. And no, one lawyer cannot represent both of you. That’s an ethical conflict for the lawyer. You need a lawyer who is 100 percent on your side with no divided loyalties.
Be aware, however, that getting a divorce in America today is not like appearing in a courtroom on reality television. It will not be neatly wrapped up in a 30-minute time slot. In fact, the process can last months and even years, with lengthy negotiations over the division of property and intense depositions. Finding a lawyer you can trust and depend on will help you navigate the most expeditious course through these swirling waters.
To put it simply, you really need a lawyer. A good divorce lawyer will give you honest advice, based on your best interests.
Grounds for Divorce
You may have heard terms like “irreconcilable differences,” “mental cruelty,” and “adultery” in reference to grounds for divorce. The term “ground” refers to the reason you are seeking this legal dissolution of your marriage. In most states, there are multiple grounds for divorce. One ground each state offers is “no-fault,” meaning there does not need to be a showing of wrongdoing by either party. The fact that one party considers the marriage irrevocably broken means that a divorce can take place. No-fault divorces are available in all fifty states. Most divorces are granted on such “grounds,” even though other grounds may exist.
By contrast, there are also “fault-based” grounds for seeking a divorce. These could include mental cruelty or adultery, but more and more, courts are not basing the divorce on these grounds. Of course, there are cases in which a person is determined to receive a divorce based on the adultery of the other spouse, and the judge may grant the divorce based on this claim. However, in most cases, the judge or your attorney will ask during direct or cross-examination, “Do you believe that this marriage is beyond repair?” If the answer is yes, then that is all a judge needs to know. Nevertheless, adultery and abuse may still be vital components of your case and they will certainly play a factor in important issues, such as how the marital estate is divided between spouses. In addition, these facts may be important during the negotiation phase of the divorce. For example, in some states adultery may be a complete bar to alimony, and child or spousal abuse will almost certainly affect the court’s custody determination.
Types of Divorce Cases
Just as not all marriages are the same, not all divorces are the same either. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, there are many ways it can be handled, including:
Regardless of which method your situation calls for, our divorce attorneys are prepared to help you make it through the process. Call (404) 688-8810 to set up a consultation.
What documents should I bring to the initial consultation?
In Georgia, you will be required to fill out a “domestic relations financial affidavit” (DRFA) or something similar. The DRFA is a sworn statement attesting to your income, assets, debts, liabilities, monthly expenses, and any other relevant financial information. If you have to go to court for any reason later on, the judge will not want to whip out a calculator to add up your monthly water, gas, and grocery bills. Instead, the judge will want to know generally how much money you need to live and how much you earn each month. You will have to provide that information as accurately as possible. If you are not comfortable preparing this statement, you should enlist the help of a certified public accountant or ask your attorney for a recommendation on how to proceed.
Your DRFA may become the most important document in your case. Take your time and make it accurate. Be honest. Go over all of your expenses and work with your attorney to make sure you are not leaving anything important out of your list of needs. For example, do not feel guilty or greedy; this is not the time to be conservative and show the judge how thrifty you can be. No one will be impressed—including the judge. More importantly, do not lie or exaggerate. If you spend a lot of money on jewelry or other luxuries, put that expense in the affidavit, but do not include expenses that are simply on your wishlist.
This DRFA may be the first document you complete in your divorce process and, to repeat, it may also be the most important. For example, your attorney may be required to send this to the court very early in the process so the court and opposing counsel are aware of your immediate expense needs. Additionally, a judge may use your DRFA later on to determine how much money you will receive to live on.
Remember that despite the adversarial nature of divorce, your attorney and the court require full disclosure. The fact is that two households will now have to live on the same finances that previously supported only one household. This means that you may not receive all the relief you seek. However, if you do not ask for it, you are not going to get it, either. This balance is the key and it is one of the most important facts to realize and come to terms with in your divorce.
Contact An Atlanta Divorce Lawyer Today
As you face the winding road of divorce, leave no stone unturned. Explore all of your options as you can never be informed and knowledgeable enough and need to depend on an experienced and competent team to assist you. Stay focused, get the facts you need, and seek out the professionals who will guide and assist you through the process; and at every step of the way, keep hope in your heart and the determination required to get through this difficult experience in a meaningful way. On a positive and hopeful note, time and time again, years after a divorce Kessler & Solomiany, LLC team will see someone who had one of the most difficult divorces you could ever imagine. To begin on the road forward as quickly as possible, call on our experienced team at Kessler & Solomiany, LLC to walk you through the process. Contact us at (404) 688-8810.