Lawrenceville Divorce Lawyer
Are you contemplating filing for divorce, or have you been served with divorce papers? Contact our experienced Lawrenceville divorce lawyers at Crystal Wright Law at 404-594-2143 we are here to help guide you through this trying time.
Divorce affects virtually every aspect of your life, from how much time you will spend with your kids to your finances, property, and home.
It’s crucial to seek experienced legal representation to make sure your best interests are protected during this emotional time.
Crystal Wright Law has been serving Lawrenceville, GA, for over seven years. We assist clients with all the legal issues in a divorce, including child support, child custody, asset division, domestic violence, and other complex issues.
How Crystal Wright Law Can Help You with a Divorce in Lawrenceville, Georgia
Divorce is never easy, even if you believe your divorce will proceed smoothly and have no major disagreements with your spouse. It’s critical to seek legal representation if you and your spouse are contemplating divorce. Divorce can have a lasting impact on your financial future and your relationship with your children. You deserve sound legal advice to make sure your legal rights and interest are protected.
The experienced Lawrenceville family law attorney at Crystal Wright Law is prepared to help you with every aspect of your divorce. Our founding attorney, Crystal S. Wright, devotes 100 percent of her practice to family law and divorce matters. AVVO has awarded her its Clients’ Choice Award for her representation of individuals and families in Lawrenceville and Gwinnett County.
Choose Crystal Wright Law to represent you in your divorce, and we will work tirelessly to:
- Give you sound legal advice on all divorce matters
- Offer insight and guidance on how property division, alimony, and child support will affect your finances in the future
- Suggest fair property division strategies and ensure separate property is classified
- Present evidence and arguments the judge can consider to determine child custody, child and spousal support, and asset division
- Help you seek amicable resolutions using alternative dispute resolution processes like mediation
- Ensure the terms of your divorce settlement are fair and protect your interests
Call our law office today for a free consultation with a Lawrenceville divorce lawyer serving Gwinnett County, GA.
Overview of the Georgia Divorce Process
Getting a divorce in Georgia can be a fast and simple process. Alternatively, it can require multiple court appearances before a judge. The time and length of your divorce proceedings will depend on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested.
It may also depend on whether you and your spouse are able to work out differences through arbitration or mediation. The following are the basic steps in a typical contested divorce.
How Do I Begin a Divorce in Georgia?
The divorce process begins when one spouse files for divorce. Attorney Crystal Wright will assist you in filing a Complaint for Divorce, which initiates a formal divorce proceeding. This complaint will allege your grounds for divorce. There are 13 grounds for divorce in Georgia. The most common is irreconcilable differences or “no-fault” grounds.
The other spouse has 30 days to file an answer to the complaint once they are served. This answer denies or admits allegations and presents any affirmative defenses.
Once your spouse files their answer, a Georgia divorce will go through multiple phases.
What Is the Discovery Phase?
The discovery phase can last about six months, and it is governed by the Civil Practice Act. This gives both parties time to obtain relevant documents, interview witnesses, and more.
The discovery phase can involve:
- Interrogatories your divorce lawyer prepares and asks the other party under oath.
- Requests for admission that asks the other party to admit or deny factual statements about the case
- Requests for production of relevant documents
- Depositions that allow divorce attorneys to question the other party and relevant witnesses in person and under oath
Informal discovery can be used as an alternative to gathering documents and evidence outside of formal proceedings. This can include, for instance, requesting tax returns from the IRS or joint bank statements.
Depending on the issues, expert discovery may be beneficial.
Expert discovery can involve:
- Business valuations, forensic accounting reports, and appraisals
- Private investigation reports
- Mental health examinations under O.C.G.A. Section 9-11-35
- Substance abuse evaluations
- Parental fitness evaluations
- Vocational assessments to help establish alimony or child support
- Custody evaluations to help determine the best interests of the child
Expert testimony and evidence may be required if there are allegations of substance abuse or domestic violence. It can also be used to demonstrate a child’s best interests concerning custody and visitation arrangements. It may also be necessary if your spouse is hiding assets or there are complex financial issues.
Divorce Trials & Alternatives to a Trial
Most divorce cases in Georgia do not go to trial. Your divorce can be resolved at any time before trial if you reach an agreement with your spouse on the terms of the divorce. Georgia courts generally require spouses to attempt mediation before proceeding to a trial.
If this fails, the court will set a trial date, and both parties will begin trial preparation. This process typically involves additional exchanges of evidence and further attempts to reach a settlement.
Contested divorces that go to trial can be extremely costly, bitter, and time-consuming. It is in the best interests of both spouses to avoid such a battle.
At Crystal Wright Law, we will help you explore alternatives such as:
- Mediation. This format uses a neutral third party to help facilitate settlement discussions. Your lawyer will help you seek a fair resolution, present your concerns and goals, and offer legal advice.
- Arbitration. This involves an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators who make decisions on the case. Arbitration may be binding or non-binding.
- Settlement conference. This is an informal discussion where attorneys and spouses attempt to reach agreements outside the presence of a court or neutral third parties. It may also be held before a judge.
- Late case evaluation. This may be used if the judge believes it will result in a settlement before a trial. It is usually held at the 120-day status conference.
If your case proceeds to trial, both parties present evidence, question and cross-examine witnesses, and make arguments about how the court should resolve divorce issues. Once the parties present all evidence and testimony, the judge renders their decision on issues such as asset division, alimony, child custody, and child support.
What Is the Difference Between an Uncontested and Contested Divorce in Lawrenceville, GA?
Uncontested divorces in Georgia allow spouses to reach an agreement on all issues of divorce without court intervention. Once parties agree to terms, they submit their divorce settlement paperwork for approval by a judge. An uncontested divorce can be completed in as little as 31 days after service is perfected.
An uncontested divorce is always preferable for both parties and has several advantages, such as:
- Spouses make the decisions about issues that affect them and their children rather than a judge.
- The divorce is completed faster and with far less stress for spouses and children.
- An uncontested divorce is generally far more affordable. Even with legal representation, your attorney’s fees, court costs, and other expenses are generally lower.
- It avoids the adversarial nature of a contested divorce. This can reduce hurt feelings and resentment, particularly if spouses share children and must continue a relationship.
It’s important to understand that an uncontested divorce can become a contested divorce if both parties can’t reach an agreement. Likewise, a divorce can begin with serious disagreements but become an uncontested divorce through mediation and other alternatives. Your Lawrenceville divorce attorney can help you seek a fair resolution to your divorce to avoid the cost, strain, and challenges of contested divorce proceedings.
Is Georgia a No-Fault Divorce State?
There are 13 statutory grounds for divorce in Georgia under O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3, including:
- Intermarriage within the barred degrees of consanguinity, or the spouses are closely related
- Mental incapacity when the marriage occurred
- Force, fraud, menace, or duress to obtain the marriage
- Impotency when the marriage occurred.
- Pregnancy by a man other than the husband, unknown by the husband and during the time of the marriage
- Habitual intoxication
- Habitual drug addiction
- Incurable mental illness
- Willful, continued desertion for at least one year
- Conviction for a crime of moral turpitude that results in a sentence for imprisonment of two or more years
- The marriage is irretrievably broken
Most divorces are filed under the grounds of “irretrievably broken.” This is the “no-fault” grounds for divorce in Georgia. It means that one or both parties can no longer live together and have no possibility of reconciling. It is not necessary to prove the other party was at fault.
Adultery as a grounds for divorce comes with very serious implications. Substantiating adultery can be done with circumstantial or direct evidence. If adultery is proven in court, it can affect both asset division and alimony.
A spouse who commits adultery in Georgia is prohibited from receiving spousal support. A court can also consider evidence of adultery when equitably dividing assets. This means the other spouse may be awarded a larger share of marital assets, particularly if the spouse who cheated used marital assets to benefit a lover or fund the affair.
What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in Lawrenceville, Georgia?
To seek a divorce in Georgia, one spouse must be a resident of the state. This requires living in Georgia for at least six months. If spouses live in different states, you may be able to file for divorce in either state. In this case, the state in which divorce is filed first generally has jurisdiction.
When a divorce is filed in Georgia, it must be filed with the Superior Court in the county in which the defendant lives. There is also a 30-day waiting period before granting legal separation or divorce.
How Are Assets Divided in a Divorce in Lawrenceville, GA?
Georgia uses an equitable distribution rule in asset division in divorce. This means assets are not necessarily divided 50-50. Rather, a court determines a property division that is fair and equitable.
A court can consider an array of factors when dividing marital assets and debts, such as:
- The financial needs of each party
- The earning potential, education, age, and health of each party
- The skills, services, and money each spouse contributed
- The financial health of each spouse and their separate assets
- The length of the marriage
- Whether there was infidelity or domestic abuse
- A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
- Tax consequences for each spouse
- Minor children
Only marital assets and debts are subject to division in a divorce. All property, income, assets, and debts obtained during the marriage are subject to division. This includes a marital home, pension, savings, furniture, vehicles, and more. Separate property each spouse brought into the marriage or obtained during the marriage (such as gifts and inheritances) typically remains with the spouse who owns it. However, separate property can become marital property in some cases.
Asset division is frequently a contentious issue in divorce. It’s crucial to seek legal representation to protect your best interests, uncover hidden assets, and safeguard your financial future.
Crystal Wright Law Can Help with Every Aspect of Your Lawrenceville Divorce
At Crystal Wright Law, we recognize how complex and emotional a divorce can be. Even a straightforward divorce can come with complex issues. A divorce that begins amicably can lead to contentious legal battles. Your case may also involve complicated issues like child custody, abuse allegations, and more.
Crystal Wright Law is prepared to help you with all aspects of your divorce:
Just like LGBT couples have the right to get married, they also have the right to get divorced. However, getting a divorce isn’t as straightforward for a gay couple as it is for a heterosexual couple. Laws are racing to catch up with the times, so things like property division, child custody, and financial support can complicate matters. We know what LGBT couples can be up against and have the experience needed to overcome any hurdles that might arise.
When one or more spouses is in the military, getting a divorce can become complicated. You might have a lot of questions – like can I get divorced in the state of Georgia if we haven’t been here long? We move all the time – where should my children call home after the divorce is final? Let our attorney help you navigate these questions and move through the military divorce process with as few bumps in the road as possible.
High Net-Worth Divorce
Dividing assets and debts is a complex component of any divorce. The stakes can be even higher when a divorcing couple has considerably high net worth assets and property. We understand the value experts – like forensic accountants and appraisers – can bring to complex divorce matters. That’s why our team never fails to enlist the assistance of specialists when it can benefit our clients and help you walk away from your divorce with the outcome you deserve.
Child Custody and Parenting Time
Who gets custody of the kids, and how much time should they spend with each parent? These questions are front and center of almost every divorce in Lawrenceville, GA. Not all divorcing parents are in agreement on the answers. However, an agreement on child custody and parenting time must be reached – or a court order issued – before a divorce can be finalized. Our lawyers can help you and your spouse work toward a solution that works for you and puts your child’s best interests first.
Child support can be critical to ensure that a child’s needs are met after their parents get a divorce. In Georgia, many different factors go into calculating support amounts – each parent’s income and ability to earn, the child’s specific needs, and more. Our lawyers will help you navigate the calculation process, request modifications when appropriate, and advocate to enforce any orders that might be ignored. We’ll work hard to make sure that your child isn’t short-changed during the divorce process.
Most spouses don’t have the same income or provide for their family in ways that are identical. One might stay home and take care of the kids or put their dreams on hold. When spouses get divorced, it’s important that they each have the opportunity to land on their feet. That’s where alimony – or spousal support payments – can be helpful. Our family law lawyers can help you advocate for support, fight to ensure that it’s calculated properly, and enforce any orders that might exist.
Since Georgia has equitable division rules, property division in a way that’s fair – not necessarily even. Divorcing spouses tend to have different ideas of what’s “fair” – so the issue is often one that’s tough to resolve.
Our lawyers aren’t afraid to bring in experts to help identify and value assets (and debts), analyze the particular situation to determine what’s truly equitable, and negotiate to optimize our clients’ results.
Your health or safety – or that of your children – should never be in danger. Unfortunately, domestic abuse is a serious problem across the nation. If your spouse is abusive or engaged in behaviors that put your family at risk, you have rights and our lawyers can help you assert them. We can help you obtain a family violence protective order, file for divorce, and work to secure terms that keep you and your children safe.
Most divorces in Lawrenceville are settled out of court – but some cases will go before a Gwinnett County Superior Court judge. Among other things, divorce litigation involves preparing and filing forms with the court and presenting arguments at hearings in front of a judge. It’s imperative that you have an experienced trial lawyer handling your divorce in the event that you and your spouse just cant see eye to eye. Your attorney’s ability to persuade a judge will be invaluable as you seek the best outcome for your family.
An uncontested divorce means that (a) the spouse served with divorce papers never filed a formal response or (b) both spouses are in complete agreement about every aspect of the terms of the split. Either way, it’s still beneficial to have an attorney help to guide you through the divorce process. Any mistakes or disagreements along the way can be time-consuming and costly. Our lawyers will help you navigate any hurdles that pop up and ensure that your family law dispute is handled in full compliance with Georgia state divorce laws.
The collaborative divorce process is designed to get spouses to negotiate every aspect of their divorce outside of the courtroom. In fact, you have to agree to not litigate your divorce at the very start of the process. The idea is to limit tensions, save costs, and keep you in control of the outcome. We are sharp and skilled negotiators who can serve as your most passionate advocate during the collaborative divorce process.
A prenup or postnup can be a powerful asset for divorcing couples. A prenuptial agreement is actually a binding contract between partners that dictates how certain aspects of a divorce will unfold, should the marriage not last.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
If you want to save time, limit costs, and keep some control over the outcome of your divorce, consider an alternative dispute resolution tool like mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce. Mediation and arbitration involve using a neutral third party to help you settle your differences, while collaborative divorce means promising not to litigate the case and using attorneys to come to terms. Each has its own benefits and advantages; our lawyers can help you decide which option might be the best for your specific divorce case.
Post-Divorce Modification of Orders
Sometimes the terms of a divorce need to be changed. Maybe one parent moves away for new job or remarries. Maybe a spouse loses their job and, with it, the ability to satisfy alimony payments. Court orders – including those related to divorce – can be modified if there’s a legitimate reason to do so. Our lawyers can help you petition for or advocate against a proposed change. We’ll work diligently to ensure that any changes are made with the best interest of you and your family at heart.
We handle all types of family law cases to assist you before, during, and after your divorce. Contact our law office to discuss what we can do to address your specific concerns.
Contact a Lawrenceville Divorce Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Even in the best-case scenario, divorce is an emotional and difficult decision. At Crystal Wright Law, we are committed to giving you the sound legal counsel you need to make informed decisions for your future. Whether you are pursuing an amicable uncontested divorce or facing serious and complex issues like contested child custody or spousal abuse, we can help.
Contact our law firm today to schedule a free case review with a compassionate Lawrenceville divorce lawyer ready to help.
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