As 2020 has taught us, life can change very quickly. For many, the new year might include filing for divorce from your spouse. At Marple Rubin Family Law, we would like to make sure you are well prepared for this life-changing event.
The Divorce Process
The first step in the divorce process is to file a Complaint or Petition for divorce in the appropriate Superior Court, which is usually in the county where you currently reside. You or your spouse must also have been a resident of Georgia for six months prior to the filing in order for Georgia Courts to have subject matter jurisdiction over the divorce.
A reason for the divorce must be stated, and there are thirteen grounds for divorce, with irreconcilable differences being the most popular as it is the only no-fault ground that will guarantee the divorce is granted. Simply put, this means that the spouses no longer live-in harmony and are now living in a state of separation.
The other party will be served with the Complaint or Petition via a private process server or by the sheriff. If you are served by a process server or by the sheriff, then you have thirty days to respond to the allegations in the Complaint or Petition.
Often times, in less contentious situations, one spouse may give the paperwork to the other spouse and ask for them to acknowledge service without the hassle of having them formally served. This allows the other spouse time to consult and retain an attorney to represent and guide them through the initial stage of the process.
Time to Hire Marple Rubin Family Law
When you first meet with an attorney at Marple Rubin Family Law, we will start with background information, such as the date of the marriage, names, and ages of any children, employment history, earnings, and a breakdown of the marital estate (i.e., assets and liabilities). It should be noted that conversations with your attorney are confidential. So, disclosing things such as medical, physical, or any other exceptional circumstances that impact you are entirely confidential between you and our attorneys.
Open and Honest
It is crucial that you are completely open and honest in discussing all aspects of your marriage with us so that we can assess the facts of your case and how Georgia law may apply to your situation. We need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly about your spouse and you. Even if it is a bad fact against you, we need to know this information to help protect you against it. It is imperative that we are not blindsided by it at deposition or trial, so we have time to work with you in crafting an appropriate response and strategy to address the unfavorable issue.
For the best assessment of the situation, you should assemble these important documents:
- The Complaint or Petition for Divorce, if you have been served or were provided this document;
- Tax Returns (last five years);
- Current pay-stub;
- Current financial account statements (i.e., bank, investment, retirement, etc.);
- Business documents (organizational documents and recent business financial statements like a Profit & Loss Statement or Balance Sheet);
- Trust instruments;
- Current debt account statements (i.e., mortgages, credit card, and other loan accounts); and
- Any other pertinent documents related to any issue that you want to discuss with us during the consultation.
What Comes Next?
The next step in the process will be the Court’s Standing Order, which is a crucial document. Once served, you are required to follow the orders which tend to restrict changes to the family’s status quo.
Some of these restrictions could be as follows:
- Neither spouse can remove the children from the jurisdiction of the court;
- No harassment of the other spouse;
- No disposing of assets outside the ordinary course of business;
- No shutting off utilities of the marital home; and
- No changes to insurance coverage.
If you violate any part of the Standing Order, you could be held in contempt of court and possibly incarcerated or sanctioned in other ways.
Divorce is stressful, overwhelming for some, and a painful experience for most. Marple Rubin Family Law is here to provide you with guidance and understanding as we lead you through the labyrinth of the divorce process.