DivorcePut 28 Years of Experience on Your Side
Divorce Attorney in Columbus, GA
Experienced Family Lawyer in the Greater Metro Area
The process of divorce, simply put, is the legal system’s answer to the unraveling of a marriage. Remember, while marriage has biblical origins, marriage remains a creature of the law. The divorce process is the State legislature’s and court’s attempt to establish a legal framework for addressing the problems that arise when two spouses decide to dissolve a marriage. At Ted Morgan Law, we can guide you through the legal labyrinth of divorce.
Whether a divorce is uncontested and/or becomes contested is usually a direct function of the complexity and length of the marriage and the family unit created from the marriage itself. The length of the marriage, the assets and/or wealth created as a result of the marriage, and whether there are children born from the marriage often dictate the complexity of the divorce, including whether the divorce will be mostly uncontested versus contested, how long the process of divorce will take, and the legal fees and costs necessary to complete the process of divorce.
What are the Four Major Components of Divorce?
In a nutshell, the four major components of a divorce are as follows:
- Equitable division of assets and debts of the married couple
- Child custody
- Child Support
What is the Difference Between Uncontested & Contested Divorces?
Human nature dictates that most clients believe their divorce will be “uncontested” when they call our office. One common misconception of an uncontested divorce is that if the married couple has a general idea about what each spouse wants from the divorce and/or that both spouses agree (and desire) a divorce, then the matter will be “uncontested.” While this may ring true in the end, oftentimes, the devil is in the details. Eventually, one side or both sides, once educated on their legal rights as a divorcing parent, change their respective positions on one or more major components of the divorce and the matter is no longer “uncontested.”
What is an Uncontested Divorce in Georgia?
An uncontested divorce means that the husband and wife have come to a complete agreement regarding all four major components related to the divorce. Statistically, uncontested divorces are more common where there are no significant assets or no significant amounts of wealth created by the married couple and there are no children. Having knocked out division of assets, child support, and/or child custody, alimony is highly unlikely, particularly in a marriage of five years or less where both spouses are capable of earning a living and supporting themselves.
What is a Contested Divorce in Georgia?
A contested divorce, in the simplest terms, means that the spouses do not agree on one or more of the four major components related to the divorce. If any aspect of the divorce remains unresolved, then the lawyers will determine it to be a “contested divorce.”
The State of Georgia provides the right to a jury trial, if requested, on issues related to alimony, child support, child custody, and the equitable division of the assets and debts from the marriage. In all likelihood, however, your divorce will not require a jury trial.
The State of Alabama does not provide the right to a jury trial on any of the four major components of a divorce. Hence, the trial judge functions as the trier of fact (jury) and the judge in divorces filed in the State of Alabama.
There are many reasons why a divorcing couple cannot agree on one or more of the four major components related to a divorce. Often, emotions are too high to settle one or more of the major contested issues. Other times, financial issues cause disputes on one or more of the four major components. Still other times, but no less often, the divorce is “contested” due to one party or the other’s absolute misunderstanding, misinformation, or plain ignorance of the true legal rights and obligations of each party to the divorce.
The Lawyer-Assisted Divorce is a special product we created and customized for the truly uncontested divorce. Over the years, our firm has developed (and continues to develop and tweak) a special product for the married couple having little or no significant assets to be divided and where the parties have reached a substantial agreement on all issues. The Lawyer-Assisted Divorce is, in most cases, economical, quick, and free of creeping legal bills month after month to finish the divorce. Our systematic approach drills down to the core issues of your case, as well as the basic requirements to obtain a divorce in the State of Georgia and/or Alabama. From there, we strive to help you do so with minimal financial impact and minimal attorneys’ fees. This product combines years of legal experience with a customized approach and represents a unique value to the divorcing couple with “nothing to fight about.”
Who Is Eligible for the Lawyer-Assisted Divorce?
Any married couple, with or without children, may apply for this product. The key is complete cooperation between the two spouses on all four major components of the divorce, that is: division of assets and debts, alimony, child support, and child custody. In addition, the parties must agree to a few legal aspects of the divorce itself (for example, both sides agree the divorce may be filed in a particular county even though one spouse may have since moved away).
Our Lawyer-Assisted Divorce comprises three basic steps:
- The process starts with a simple but detailed interview process (usually less than one hour) where we gather all of the pertinent information for the divorce.
- Our office prepares a legal complaint for divorce and additional court documents, including a detailed “Settlement Agreement,” a tailor-made legal agreement, enforceable by both parties, which provides the terms of the divorce (think: division of assets and debts, alimony [if any], child support, and child custody).
- We provide detailed written instructions for you and your spouse which, when followed, provide a seamless, step-by-step process that ends with the judge signing your Divorce Decree within as little as 45 days.
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The emotional transition may be more or less severe for one spouse or the other, depending on the circumstances and/or reasons surrounding the need for divorce, which spouse wanted a divorce, and, of course, the length and success that the marriage experienced prior to the decision by one spouse or the other to seek a divorce. Of course, children of a divorced household will certainly experience a degree of anxiety, anger, and sadness over the separation from one parent or the other.
The family transition involves the separation itself, whether spouse from spouse, children from parents, or both. This includes the physical separation, as well as the emotional separation. The family transition will undoubtedly include the day-to-day changes of living without the other spouse’s assistance and where kids are involved, this can be substantial change to the daily life of both parents and the kids. Transportation of kids to school, to birthday parties, to events, to extracurricular activities, and numerous other entertainment outings will now require some extra planning.
The financial transition involves the direct and indirect impact of dissolving the family unit. This generally means the creation of two households where there was one, with the same or similar combined standard of living, but based upon the same or similar earnings which formally supported one household. Inevitably, there will now be two mortgages (or two rent payments), two power bills, two gas bills, two cable bills, and the list goes on. Add to that one spouse will now take on the job of being the custodial parent and having the day-to-day child-rearing responsibilities that were once shared by the married household.
The other spouse will experience the financial burden of child support under guidelines established by the law and which leave little or no flexibility for the sitting trial judge when he or she sets the dollar amount of child support to be paid to the other spouse. Legally binding decisions related to child custody, child support, and visitation rights require the input of an experienced divorce attorney to provide reasonable and practicable advice for the divorcing client.
Our firm, first and foremost, strives to help you understand the basic legal rights and obligations of each spouse. However, and no less important, we strive to provide practical and reasonable solutions to the disputes so that a “contested” divorce becomes “uncontested.” Our Columbus divorce lawyer, Ted D. Morgan, has an undergraduate bachelor’s degree in accounting and has practiced for more than five years as a certified public accountant, meaning he can help simplify the most complicated financial circumstances of any married couple and provide a simple, nuts-and-bolts explanation.
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