I'm often asked, "Should I move out of the home during a divorce in Georgia?" It is not a simple answer and it really depends on your situation.
The first thing to understand is generally the marital home is the most valuable asset within the marriage. In Georgia you won't lose your interest in that property if you move out. But there are other things that you should consider. For example, if you move out, are you worried that your spouse will damage the property so that it loses value? Are you worried that once you move out the personal property items within the home will either be damaged or destroyed or disappear? If those are your considerations, you might think about staying.
Also, staying in the home or leaving the home, could be a consideration for the judge when making custody decisions. For example, if it's the only home that the children have ever known, moving out of the home might seem disruptive to the judge. It's something that you should seriously consider before moving out if it's been the children's only home.
On the other hand, there are safety issues that may make it reasonable for you to move out of the home. If there is the constant threat of violence or emotional abuse or verbal attacks and you are just not comfortable staying there anymore, that may be a reason for you to move and get some space. If there is actual physical violence, you need to call 911 and you may need a Temporary Protective Order (TPO). But you should not create that situation. So, don't engage in any of that behavior.
There are many issues for you to consider about moving out of the home during a divorce. Consider those things and maybe talk to your attorney.
I hope this helped. If you think it will help someone else, please share and if you'd like more information, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.
I often get asked whether or not the other side will pay my attorney's fees in this divorce. The answer is, it just depends. And you may have to wait a while. You'll have to front the fees, and then ask the court to award them. In a divorce, the court is permitted to award attorney's fees, both at the temporary hearing and at the final hearing. But the Court does that after it considers the financial condition of both parties.
Thus, if you have one spouse that earns significantly more than the other spouse, that's an indication the Court might award attorney’s fees. But if that spouse is paying all the bills, then that weighs in their favor as well. It's just a determination that the court will make.
Generally, the request for attorney’s fees is included in the pleadings. Any time a lawsuit is filed, you almost always ask for the attorney's fees. But the award of attorney’s fees is something that generally happens on the back end. There is no guarantees that you'll receive it. And if you do receive it, there is no guarantee on how much you will receive.
I hope that helps. If you think it will help someone, please share. If you'd like more information on divorce and family law in Georgia, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.
I just recently had a man that came in for a consultation and he told me that he's looking for an attorney who can guarantee that his wife will not be able to touch his retirement account. I had to tell him that I can't do that. And that I don't think any attorney can do that. Here in the county that he needed to file in, there's no guarantee which judge you would draw. It' is done on a rotating basis, So, you won't know who your judge is until the divorce is actually filed. Even knowing who the judge is, I couldn't guarantee anything.
What I told him was, "If you knew who your judge was and you went in and sat in on that judge's domestic calendar and you watched cases all day long, you might see two cases that looked exactly the same to you. They sounded exactly the same to you. But the judge did this for one case and did something else for the other case. And the reason is, the judge is the fact finder. That means the judge is the one who decides who's telling the truth, decides how he or she is going to weigh that evidence, and makes the ultimate decision. So even though it sounded exactly the same to him and it might have sounded exactly the same to me, for some reason it sounded different to the judge sitting up on the bench. And he or she is the one that matters.
As such, no attorney can tell you with 100% accuracy what a judge is going to do. Once the judge is assigned, your attorney can tell you, "Generally, when I'm in this judge’s court room, he or she does this. Or generally they prefer this or that." But nobody can make you a 100% guarantee. I think once I explained all that to him, it made sense to him. It didn't make him happy. But it made sense to him. And now he understands there are no guarantees.
That's a big part of understanding that sometimes you just need to negotiate in a divorce. You need to understand all of the pieces in your divorce. Because it's better for you to make an agreement if it's something that you can live with, rather than having that man or woman up on the bench make all your decisions. Especially when you don't know how they will decide.
I hope this helps. If you have anybody that his might help, please share. If you liked it, please hit the like button. And if you'd like more information on divorce and family law in Georgia, please subscribe to my channel. Again, I'm Nedra Howard with Nedra K. Howard PC, a law firm where families matter.
When someone files a divorce or when they file their counter claim for divorce one thing they must allege is the date of separation. I know a lot of people get confused and concerned because they're still living in the same house. But you can still live in the same house and be separated. The separation that is referred to is actually the end of intimacy.
What you would need to allege is the date or about the date of the last time that the parties were intimate.
Then the state requires that you remain in a bona fide state of separation, which means no longer intimate. Don't resume those intimate relations after the case is filed.
I hope this helped, if you had any questions about the date of separation, understanding that you can still live in the same house but be separated. If you think it will help someone else please share and if you'd like more information about divorce and family law in Georgia please subscribe to my YouTube channel.
What is attorney client privilege? Under the law in Georgia, and probably everywhere, the things that an attorney and a client discuss are confidential. No one can make the attorney tell about the things that they've talked with their client. And vice versa. They can't make the client talk about what their attorney has told them. But either side can break that confidentiality by disclosing things to third parties.
So one of the things I often see is that people will bring their mother, or their father, or their friend, or whoever in for consultation. I always explain to them upfront that if there's anything that needs to remain confidential, that person needs to step out of the room. Because they don't have to ask you or your attorney what you discussed. They just put that third party up on the stand and say, "What did they talk about?"
Likewise, I tell them, don't leave your attorney's office and say, "My attorney said blah blah blah." Because then it's no longer confidential. They don't need to talk to either you or the attorney, they just put whoever heard that on the stand to get the information out.
Another issue with the attorney client privilege is sometimes I have clients who are in a heated email exchange with their spouse and they include me in the emails. And I never respond to those emails because I don't want to violate the attorney client privilege. I will immediately contact my client and say, "Don't do that anymore. Don't include me on any of those things. If you want to forward the emails between just the two of you, that's fine, but don't include me on it."
So, if you ever think that there's something that needs to remain absolutely confidential between you and your attorney, then don't bring a third party in and don't let the third party know any of that confidential information.
I hope this helps. If you think it will help someone that you know, please share. And if you'd like more information about divorce and family law in Georgia, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Exactly what is a standing order?
I had a lady that called me. She was all freaked out because she thought her husband had filed this divorce and had a private hearing with a judge where she wasn't involved. She was really worried. So, she came in for a consultation and I took a look at that order. What it turned out to be was just the standard standing order.
A standing order is an order that is local, which means for each county or circuit. It just lays out the procedures for going through a divorce. It lets you know that neither party can harass the other party. It lets you know that neither party can sell, trade, or take a loan out against any kind of marital assets that are subject to the divorce. It will provide that the children need to stay within the jurisdiction of the court. If there are mediation requirements, it will lay out those mediation requirements. If the circuit or the county requires a parenting class, it will give you information about the parenting class.
So, you can just relax when you see that order. It's just a standard order that just kind of tells everybody the rules that are going to be required in going forward with the divorce.
After I explained everything to her, she relaxed a little bit. She understood it was just the standard thing, and that there were actually protections for her.
Each county or circuit has other things that may be specific to that county. They may have a specific procedure that they want everybody to know about. They may have other specific requirements. As such, it's important when you receive that standing order, that you read it, and you understand it. If there's something in there that you don't understand, maybe you should talk to your attorney.
I hope this helps you to relax a little bit if you see that order and it freaks you out a little bit. Understand it's just a general order.
If you know somebody that it will help, maybe you want to share it. If you'd like more information, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.
A contested divorce is one where the two parties cannot reach an agreement on all of the issues. This process is different from an uncontested process. The process begins with one of the parties filing a complaint with the Clerk of Court in the county where the Court has proper jurisdiction and venue for the divorce.
The other party is served by the sheriff. Then the party that was served has 30 days to file an answer. From the day that the answer is filed starts a six-month period called discovery. And in discovery the two of you can exchange documents and have each other answer questions under oath. The purpose of discovery is to get everything out on the table so that you have enough information to either make an agreement with the other party or go forward with a trial. Just because you're allowed six months, doesn't mean it always takes six months. If you both do what you're supposed to do, it can be done in two or so months. But you're allowed that time in case other things pop up.
The next step would be mediation. Mediation is a process where the two of you show up with your lawyers, if you have them, and a neutral third party, the mediator. That mediator just goes back and forth between the two parties trying to reach an agreement. So sometimes you can reach a partial agreement or a temporary agreement, sometimes a full agreement, and sometimes no agreement. But if you reach an agreement at mediation, they'll do a handwritten document. The parties will sign it. One of the attorneys generally will put it into proper form and submit it to the Court so that you're done fighting about whatever it is that you've agreed to at mediation.
And then anything that's left over is just taken to trial. And in Georgia you can have a bench trial, which is a trial with just the judge, or a jury trial. And jury trials take longer to prepare for. They take longer to get through. They are more expensive. But each party has a constitutional right to have a jury trial. So, there are things that your attorney cannot do to speed things up or make them less expensive.
There are other things that may be involved in the divorce. Sometimes depositions are necessary. That is a process where you show up and either your attorney is asking another person to answer questions under oath with a court reporter there to take it down, or vice versa. Maybe you are the one that is being asked these questions under oath in front of a court reporter.
In some circuits you will have to take a parenting class. And that will be required before a judge will allow you to have a hearing or before they will issue a final order.
But those are the general steps in a contested divorce.
And while a divorce may be contested, at any point the two parties may reach an agreement and end the divorce amicably. So, there are a lot of factors. It's probably something that you would need to talk to your attorney about.
I hope this helps you understand the process for a contested divorce. IIf you think you know someone that could use this information, please share it with them. And if you'd like more information, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.
An uncontested divorce is a divorce where both parties have reached an agreement and settled all of the issues. So, all of the issues would include dividing up the assets; dividing up the debts; figuring out custody, visitation, and child support; if there will be any alimony; and how they will play the attorney's fees and the court cost.
If they can reach an agreement on all of those issues, then the way it's done in my office is that they would bring that information to me, I would draft all of the paperwork for them, and they would come in and review and sign the documents.
Once everything is signed and notarized, then we would file it with the court. In Georgia, you have to do the e-filing for divorces.
Then I would mark 30 days out on my calendar. On the 31st day, I would file something that tells the judge that he or she can look at the documents. As long as all of the documents are in order, the judge generally grants a divorce without either party having to go to court.
In some circuits, they do require that both parties take a parenting class. In that situation, I do ask that all of that be done before I file that motion with the court on the 31st day.
There are advantages to an uncontested divorce. First of all, the agreement is something that the two of you have decided or reached an agreement on. So, it's something that you can live with and not something that's forced on you. Second, it's usually faster and it's usually less expensive. One attorney can do it for both parties. The party that's not being represented by the attorney doing the drafting always has the option of taking all of the documents to an attorney of their choosing just to have everything reviewed. But if there's nothing on the documents that causes any concerns, you can certainly both use the same attorney. Although the attorney represents the person that came to them and signed the contract. But it's faster, it's more efficient, less expensive and it is done amicably.
I hope this helped give you some information on the process for an uncontested divorce. If you know someone that could use this information, please share. If you'd like more information, please subscribe to my YouTube channel..
Today, I'll be giving you some hints on what not to do during a divorce. A lot of these are common sense, but nonetheless, I'm going to give you a couple ideas.
Number one, don't date while you're married. If you haven't already started a new relationship outside of the marriage, don't start one during the divorce. If you have started one, maybe you want to consider putting that relationship on hold until your divorce is final. It usually just complicates things and makes things a lot messier than they have to be.
Don't get pregnant or don't get someone pregnant. If you become pregnant during the course of the divorce, the divorce has to be put on hold until the baby is born.
Don't resume intimate relations with your spouse. In the State of Georgia, you are required to remain in a bona fide state of separation throughout the divorce. If you have resumed those intimate relations, generally by operation of law, that divorce has to be dismissed. And you would have to start all over and file a new divorce. It can be done, but it's just extra drama that you really don't need.
Don't hide money from your spouse or your attorney. Usually, that stuff comes out anyway. Just be up front and honest and just let your attorney know what's going on. Likewise, don't run up a bunch of debts. It always looks bad when you sit in front of the judge and must explain why all of a sudden you ran up these debts that weren't normal debts before the divorce was filed.
Don't put the kids in the middle. Don't have them relay messages between the two of you. Don't tell them what all is going on. Let them be kids. Leave them out of it. Don't badmouth the other spouse.
Don't do things out of spite either to your spouse or his family or his friends or any of that kind of stuff. That stuff usually comes back and bites you in the back end if you're sitting in front of the judge. The judge doesn't want to hear about tit for tat and all of that kind of stuff. Try to rise above it.
Don't compare your divorce situation with the divorce situation of your family and friends. Although the process is usually similar, the facts of your case are different from the facts of their case. And the facts determine what the outcome is going to be. So don't take advice from your plumber. Just kindly tell your sister that you understand what happened in her divorce, but you're going to discuss these things with your attorney.
Don't focus on the little stuff. You need to be able to see the big picture. This is where an attorney can really help you. Because the attorney knows you shouldn't be fighting about pots and pans if there's a big retirement account or alimony is the big issues. You need to focus on the big things that will get you through once the divorce is final.
Don't refuse to negotiate. Usually the best outcomes happen when the two of you can negotiate and each of you has to give a little to get a little. But if you can't or won't negotiate with the other side, then you end up putting your entire life in front of a judge or a jury to make determinations that you will live with afterwards.
Don't hide things from your attorney. One of the worst things as an attorney is to be in front of the judge, in the final hearing, and all of a sudden learn about some kind of new information. Your attorney knows how to handle things, how to frame things, spin things, whatever you want to say, but they must have that knowledge ahead of time.
Stay off social media. Nothing good happens on social media during divorces. Don't put anything on there about your spouse, his family, his friends, your children, any of that stuff, just stay off social media while you're getting a divorce.
The number one pet peeve for attorneys and judges as well is if one of the parents withholds either child support or visitation from the other spouse. Just don't do it. If you need help with that, get help from your attorney who may in turn have to get help from the court. But don't do the self-help. Don't withhold the visitation because the other party didn't pay child support. And don't withhold child support because the other party's withholding visitation. Just don't play those games.
I hope this helped give you things to think about, things that you're not going to do during your divorce. If you'd like more information, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.. If you think it will help somebody else, please share it with them.
How do you prepare for a divorce.? There are many things that you can do. The first thing is just to get educated on the process. If you know what the process is going to be in the future, it makes you relax a little bit about where you are right now.
Choose an attorney. If you're going to hire an attorney, that should be your very first step. And then that attorney may have some other things that they want you to do, but these are some of the basics.
The most important thing is get yourself organized. Go through and start gathering your W-2's, your tax returns, your bank statements, your pay stubs, retirement accounts, credit card statements, anything that shows what the value of your assets and your debts are. Gather anything that shows documentation of the value of anything that you brought into the marriage that you may want to take separately from marital assets. If you have any of those documents, dig them up, show them to your attorney.
The other thing that you might start doing is investigating things for life after divorce. You may want to start looking at what it would cost you to live after the divorce. Are you going to be able to afford to stay in the home? Do you need to go somewhere else? And if you need to go somewhere else, what is that going to cost you? If you need to do some training or education or something like that so that you can support yourself afterwards, you need to start investigating that early. Don't wait until the divorce is over to figure out that you need some job training to be able to support yourself. If you want to go to school, find out what that costs and what you need to do to get yourself enrolled in that school.
Sometimes you need to establish credit in your own name. Maybe you need to start a separate bank account in your own name. Do that early.
Stay off social media. There's nothing really good that's going to happen on social media. Don't ever put anything on social media negative about your spouse, about your children, about your spouse's family, about what you're doing that you're not supposed to be doing, or what he's doing or she's doing that they're not supposed to be doing,. Just stay off social media. In fact, in my firm, I have a social media addendum to my contract. Because anything that you put on social media is something that may be put before the judge when you're sitting in that courtroom.
Focus on your children if you have children. Don't badmouth the other parent. Try to keep the children out of the middle of it, don't have them go tell mommy or go tell daddy this or that or play games with your children. Try to keep them out of the middle of it.
Stay single. If you haven't already started dating, don't start dating while you're getting divorced. If you already started a relationship, maybe you need to consider putting that relationship on hold until your divorce is final. It always complicates things.
Secure any kind of irreplaceable heirloom items or items of value if you think there's a possibility that they'll be lost or misplaced or damaged.
Keep a journal. A divorce may take you several months or years to get down the road. Things get all jumbled up during that time. By the time that you start having to testify on the stand, things get all muddled. If you have a journal or a calendar, it helps you keep things straight. You can figure out what happened first or about when something happened. It will just make you so much more comfortable as you get towards the end of the process.
And the number one thing is, take care of yourself. Make sure that you're eating good food, that you're getting some exercise, and that you're sleeping. Maybe you need some counseling. There's no shame in having counseling. And take some support from your friends. Be very careful about what you tell them. Try to not focus on the divorce when you are with them. Just focus on being well and healthy and present for yourself and your children.
I hope this helped you with some tips about how you can prepare for a divorce. If you think this will help somebody that you know, please share. If you'd like more information, subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Nedra K. Howard
Nedra has represented clients in matters relating to divorce, separate maintenance, child custody and support, family violence protective orders, adoption, prenuptial agreements, business disputes and litigation, personal injury, property damage, and wills.
John B. MIller & Associates, P.C.
16 Eastbrook Bend, Suite 201
Peachtree City, GA 30269
Call us today so we help you
770 - 863 - 8355