Newnan Divorce Attorney Provides Aggressive Representation
Compassionate counsel that guides you through the divorce process
If you have decided to dissolve your marriage, an experienced divorce attorney can make all the difference. At the Law Office of S. Mark Mitchell, LLC in Newnan, Georgia, I understand the emotional stress of divorce and work to give you peace of mind. By providing close, personal attention, I learn all about your circumstances so that I can advocate aggressively for you and suggest the most appropriate strategies for moving forward after your marriage is dissolved. You can be confident that you’ll not only get through the turmoil of divorce but also emerge in a secure position to take charge of your future.
How do you file for divorce?
A divorce proceeding is started by filing a complaint in a county where you or your spouse has lived for at least six months. You then serve the complaint on your spouse. The complaint must allege legal grounds for divorce. A divorce can be based on fault — such as adultery, cruelty or desertion — but most divorcing couples allege no-fault grounds, namely that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
The difference between contested and uncontested divorce
A divorce is uncontested if both spouses agree to all the pertinent issues and sign a settlement agreement or if a spouse fails to respond to the complaint within 30 days of service and the court enters a default judgment against them. An uncontested divorce is faster and easier, requiring only a brief hearing or submission of a motion.
However, divorces often are contested as to one or more issues, which must be resolved by agreement or decided by the court after a full hearing. The major disputed issues are:
- Child custody and visitation — Georgia law attempts to treat parents equally, calling for awards of child custody to be based on what the court finds is in the best interests of the children. Custody includes decision-making authority as well as providing a home for the child. The parent without primary custody is entitled to reasonable visitation.
- Child support — Georgia state guidelines determine child support based on parental income and the number of children of the couple. However, courts have discretion to depart from the guidelines under certain circumstances. Addressing these circumstances requires assembling evidence and making pointed arguments.
- Alimony — Spousal support, as alimony is called in Georgia, is gender-neutral and entirely dependent on the parties’ financial circumstances. A court can order alimony to repay a spouse for sacrifices made during the marriage or to temporarily support a dependent spouse who must eventually become self-supporting.
- Property division — Georgia is an equitable distribution state, so the court attempts to divide property in a manner it perceives as fair under the circumstances, rather than on a strict 50-50 basis. What is considered equitable depends on a host of factors.
Even if the divorce is contested, I might be able to help resolve it through mediation. As an accomplished family lawyer, I am ready to represent you as skillfully and aggressively as you need or to work as carefully as possible to secure a settlement that represents your interests.
Strong advocacy throughout the equitable distribution process
The equitable distribution process has many stages that require attention to detail and strong advocacy:
- Inventory — Spouses are required to make full disclosure of all assets and debts. I use the discovery process skillfully to compel complete disclosure and prevent your spouse from hiding property.
- Assignment — The disclosed assets and debt are divided into two categories: separate property, which belongs to one spouse and is not subject to distribution, and marital property, which is distributed. Controversies often arise over assets and debt that don’t fit neatly into one category.
- Valuation — All assets in the marital category must be assigned a value. These assessments are often debatable. I engage qualified financial experts to give the accurate valuations needed for fair distribution.
- Distribution — The court considers several factors in determining how large a share of the marital estate is appropriate for each party. I present all the relevant information necessary to ensure the court considers factors favorable to you.
Depending on the size of your marital estate, this process can be relatively quick or quite drawn out. Since property division is not subject to later modification, I do all I can to ensure a fair result.
Contact a determined advocate in Newnan, GA for divorce representation
Divorce is a challenging process on many levels, but an experienced attorney can guide you through it efficiently. At the Law Office of S. Mark Mitchell, LLC, I work diligently to achieve your goals so that you can look confidently toward the future. Call 470-344-8550 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation.