Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law in Georgia
Answers from skillful attorneys in Newnan
At the Law Office of S. Mark Mitchell, LLC in Newnan, Georgia, I often receive calls from people who are confused and concerned about Georgia family law matters such as divorce and child custody. I am here to help you understand your rights and how to go after the outcome you want. Some of the questions I hear most often include:
- How quickly can I get a divorce in Georgia?
- How does equitable distribution work in a divorce?
- How can I get sole child custody?
- How much money will I have to pay in child support after a divorce?
- When do I need to prove paternity?
- How is alimony determined?
- Will my spouse’s cheating affect the outcome of my divorce?
Contact respected Newnan family law attorneys to schedule a free initial consultation
The Law Office of S. Mark Mitchell, LLC in Newnan, Georgia handles important family law issues with the passion and determination they deserve. To learn more about the legal options available for safeguarding your parental rights and your children’s best interests, call 470-344-8550 or contact me online.
The more you and your spouse agree on terms for ending the marriage, the faster the Georgia divorce process will go. For an entirely uncontested divorce, the marriage may be dissolved in as quickly as 31 days after you file the necessary papers.
Georgia law entitles divorcing spouses to an equitable distribution of marital property. This means that each spouse should receive a fair but not necessarily equal amount of shared property. To determine what is equitable, a court will look at the totality of marital assets and debts and consider each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, both economic and otherwise.
Georgia courts prefer parents to share child custody, which includes parenting time and the right to make important child-rearing decision. Sole custody is relatively rare and usually requires demonstrating that the child’s other parent is unfit to exercise their parental duties responsibly. It is easier, however, to establish that sole physical custody by one parent is better for the child.
The payment amount included in a child support order is based on each parent’s income, the financial needs of the child and other factors outlined in Georgia’s Child Support Guidelines. To obtain a support order that is fair to both sides, it is crucial that each parent provides accurate information about their finances and the child’s needs.
If a father’s identity is not stated on a child’s birth certificate, it will be necessary to establish his paternity before he can be made to pay child support and before he can legally assert his parental rights. This can be done by voluntary or court-ordered genetic testing. Georgia’s Division of Child Support Services conducts such testing in any child support case where paternity is uncertain.
Alimony, also known as spousal support, can be ordered to help a financially-dependent spouse maintain the standard of living they experienced during the marriage. The amount and duration of alimony payments will be based on each spouse’s income and assets, the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contributions to the household and other factors.
If adultery in fact caused the marriage to end, the guilty spouse will not be entitled to alimony under Georgia law. A judge can also consider adultery when dividing marital property if the guilty spouse diverted assets to help finance the extramarital affair. Adultery is not considered in deciding on child support, which is based on the best interests of the child.