Recently, I had a woman come in and ask me do I need a divorce? And the answer is that depends on her circumstances, what's going on in her life. An attorney can't really determine that.
So the first issue is what is a divorce? So a divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court. And that's just a fancy way of saying that the court is going to divide up the assets and the debts, figure out what to do about custody, child support and visitation, figure out if there's going to be any alimony and how the attorney's fees are going to be handled. So all of those are the issues within the divorce.
But what she actually came to me with was do I need a divorce? And that's a totally different issue. So we discussed things for a little while and I wanted her to think about things. She needed to think about, first of all, can the issues within her marriage be resolved without a divorce?
For example, if infidelity is the issue within the marriage, can the relationship be healed through counseling, whether it's individual counseling or family counseling, or self help books. If substance abuse is an issue, can a stint in rehab fix the situation? If there are mental health issues, will visits to the psychiatrist and some medication, determine what the issues are and fix the problem so that the marriage can be saved?
Other issues would be issues with child rearing. Are you able to handle all of the issues with regard to the child rearing on your own or with your family's support?
There are social issues to be considered. Are you going to be able to keep the friends that you have as couples when you're separated and/or divorced? Will you able to go to the same church? Will you be able to maintain family relationships on both sides of the marriage after the divorce?
There are financial issues that you need to think about. Can you maintain a lifestyle, even though it might be less, once you're divorced? Are you going to have access to credit once you're divorced? Is there credit in your name or is all of the credit tied up with your spouse's name? Will you be able to pay the debts that you have in your name or that you may have to assume? How are you going to pay for the attorney's fees to get you through a divorce?
So those are a lot of the issues that you'll need to figure out before you even decide whether to get a divorce.
And the main issue is if there is any kind of abuse, will the divorce be the proper vehicle for you to disentangle yourself safely?
So I gave her all of these things to think about and she went home and she will let me know if she does in fact need a divorce. And if you're facing the same issues, I hope that this gives you the things that you need to think about in making your determination as to whether or not you need a divorce.
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
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770 - 863 - 8355