Marietta Divorce Lawyer | Grounds for Divorce in Georgia and Cobb County

What are the grounds for divorce in Georgia?

Divorce affects, directly or indirectly, virtually every family in the country. This video is designed to briefly summarize Georgia’s divorce laws as to the grounds or reasons a Georgia divorce court must hear to dissolve a marriage.

Marriage is a civil contract that the state has an interest in preserving. Accordingly, the marriage relationship may be dissolved only as provided by law through (1) a divorce or (2) an annulment; or altered by (3) a decree of separate maintenance granted by our courts. In any case, there must be a proceeding in the superior court of the county in which the defendant resides (or the county where the parties resided during the marriage if the defendant left the county within six months before filing) and the person seeking the divorce must prove grounds for divorce (valid reasons prescribed by law).

What are the grounds for divorce in Georgia?
In Georgia there are 13 grounds for divorce. One ground is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” (sometimes referred to as the no-fault ground). The other 12 grounds for divorce in Georgia are fault grounds.

What is a no-fault divorce?
To obtain a divorce on this basis (irretrievably broken), one party must establish that he or she refuses to live with the other spouse and that there is no hope of reconciliation. It is not necessary for both parties to agree the marriage is irretrievably broken. Also, it is not necessary to show that there was any fault or wrongdoing by either party.

What are the fault grounds?
To obtain a divorce on one of the 12 fault grounds, one must prove that there was some wrongdoing by one of the parties to the marriage.

As an example, one fault ground is adultery. Adultery in Georgia includes heterosexual and homosexual relations between one spouse and another individual.

Another fault ground for divorce in Georgia is desertion. A divorce may be granted on the grounds that a person has deserted his or her spouse willfully for at least one year. Other fault grounds include mental or physical abuse, marriage between persons who are too closely related, mental incapacity at the time of marriage, impotency at the time of marriage, force or fraud in obtaining the marriage, pregnancy of the wife unknown to the husband at the time of the marriage, conviction and imprisonment for certain crimes, habitual intoxication or drug addiction and mental illness.

SOURCE: State Bar of Georgia

Georgia Prenuptial Agreement FAQ

What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by two people who are to be married. The purpose of a Prenuptial Agreement is to set forth certain rights for each party in the event of a divorce. Sometimes provisions for property distribution upon death are included, but such provisions are better placed in a Last Will and Testament.

Why do people get prenuptial agreements?
The most common reason for a Prenuptial Agreement is to protect property that one or both parties owned before the marriage from becoming divided upon divorce.

What is an "antenuptial agreement" or a "premarital agreement"?
These are all synonyms for a Prenuptial Agreement. They all refer to the same concept, the same type of document.

Can I sign a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement after I get married?
Yes. It would be called a "Post-Nuptial Agreement" and Georgia law does currently recognize such documents.

Does everyone getting married need a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements are not for everyone. Prenuptial Agreements are generally utilized by parties who have considerable assets prior to the marriage and want to keep those assets separate or those who have been through a divorce and want to minimize the cost and time if they unfortunately go through another divorce. Without a prenuptial agreement, it is possible in certain circumstances for separate or premarital property to lose its separate quality and it can then become marital property or can be used to pay alimony.

Can a Prenuptial Agreement cover alimony?
Sometimes, Prenuptial Agreements are used to limit, establish or eliminate alimony in the event of a divorce.

Can a Prenuptial Agreement affect child custody or child support?
Generally speaking, Prenuptial Agreements do not deal with child custody or child support. Judges make the final decision on custody, and parties cannot pre-determine child support because the law regards child support as being a right for a child, and parties cannot override that right. Custody also must be determined AT THE TIME OF THE DISPUTE since no one can predict all the circumstances which will exist at the time of a custody dispute.

I already have a house and property and I want to protect it. Will a Prenuptial Agreement help?
Yes. If you own property before the marriage and you want to protect that property in the event of divorce, a well drafted and enforceable Prenuptial Agreement can make it easier for you to keep that property in the event of a divorce.

Do I need my own lawyer if my fiancé’s attorney prepared a Prenuptial Agreement?
Yes. It is important to have your own counsel explain fully the proposed Agreement and the potential pitfalls that could affect you in the event of a divorce. Your attorney can suggest changes to the proposed Agreement that can dramatically affect to your benefit what happens in the event of a divorce.

Does my fiancé need their own lawyer if my attorney prepares a Prenuptial Agreement?
Yes. Not only does it make it more fair (each side has independent advice), it also makes it more enforceable since neither can later argue that they did not understand what they were signing.

Even if my spouse and I have a Prenuptial Agreement, can we change the terms later?
Yes. You can "re-up the Prenup" by having your attorney prepare an addendum to the original Agreement. After that has been properly signed and witnessed, it becomes a part of the original Agreement and will reflect the new terms you have changed.

What if my spouse and I decide, after years of marriage, that we no longer want to have the Prenuptial Agreement in effect?
Most well-written Prenuptial Agreements will contain a provision that dictates exactly how to cancel the Prenuptial Agreement so that it is no longer in effect. Further, your attorney can build in Asunset@ provisions to the original Prenuptial Agreement that provide for its automatic cancellation after an agreed-upon amount of years.

Will a Prenuptial Agreement determine how my spouse’s property is distributed after his/her death?
Not unless you insist on such a provision. It is strongly recommended that you each have a Last Will and Testament to cover what happens to property upon the death of a spouse. Generally, a good Prenuptial Agreement will contain language that says that either of you are free to give or will away any property you want to the other party.

Are Prenuptial Agreements expensive?
As is in most cases, the cost is based on how long it takes your attorney to prepare the Agreement. Prenuptial Agreements take a lot of time to prepare since they are an attempt to resolve disputes which have not yet occurred and which are based upon factors which do not yet exist (changes in income, assets, the birth of children, etc.) In some limited cases, Prenuptial Agreements can be prepared on a flat fee basis. See your attorney for more complete fee and cost information.

SOURCE: DivorceNet

SOURCE FOR POST: Georgia Family Law Blog

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PATERNITY

WHAT IS PATERNITY?

Paternity means fatherhood, the quality or state of being a father.


WHAT IS A PATERNITY TEST?

A Paternity Test is a DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) or genetic test that determines whether a given man could be the biological father of a child.


ON WHAT GROUNDS CAN I RECEIVE A PATERNITY TEST?

Paternity test are not just used to determine whether an individual is the biological father of a child. A Paternity test is useful in many situations, including:

  • Assisting women seeking child support from a man who denies he is a child s biological father.
  • Helping men attempting to win custody or visitation rights.
  • Providing peace of mind for men wishing to confirm paternity.
  • Establishing proof of heritage for an adopted child seeking their biological parents.
  • Determining grand parentage, inheritance rights, insurance claims or Social Security benefits.
  • Assisting in immigration cases on the grounds an individual is a biological relative of a citizen.
  • Establishing Native American Tribal Rights.
  • Determining rightful heirs by DNA profiling for estate purpose.
  • Providing conclusive evidence of sisterhood or brotherhood for siblings separated for long periods of time.

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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT LEGITIMATIONS

WHAT IS A "LEGITIMATION"?

Legitimation is a legal action which is the only way, other than by marrying the mother of a child, that the biological father of a child born in the State of Georgia may establish legal rights to his child.


WHO MAY FILE FOR LEGITIMATION?

Only the biological father of a child may file a petition seeking to legitimate his child.


WHAT IS THE LEGAL EFFECT OF A LEGITIMATION?

An order of legitimation creates a father and child relationship legally between the petitioner and his child. An order of legitimation establishes that the child may inherit from his legal father and vice versa. An order of legitimation allows the legal father to be listed on the child’s birth certificate as such. An order of legitimation is the only way that the father of a child born out of wedlock can be recognized as the legal father of a child and therefore can petition for custody and/or visitation with this child.

If you are already listed on the child’s birth certificate as the father, but you and the child’s mother were not married to each other, you must still file a petition with the court to legitimate your child.

Effective July 1, 2005, requests for custody and/or visitation may be included in your petition for legitimation.


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Frequently Asked Questions About Common Law Marriage

WHAT IS A COMMON LAW MARRIAGE?

A Common Law Marriage simply means that the marriage was established without benefit of a license and ceremony.


HOW ARE COMMON LAW MARRIAGES ESTABLISHED?

Although the definition may vary from state to state, the common features of a common law marriage are:

  • Cohabitation – the parties lived together.
  • Consent – the parties intended to hold themselves out as husband and wife.
  • Holding out- the parties "held themselves out" to the world as husband and wife (i.e. The parties spoke of each other as "my husband" or "my wife").
  • Neither party was married to someone else.

DO WE HAVE TO LIVE TOGETHER FOR A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME TO BE "COMMON LAW MARRIED"?

In most states that recognize common law marriages, there are no time requirements for living together.

In most states that recognize common law marriages, there are no time requirements for living together. The controlling issue is not time together, but the intentions of the parties.


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