If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement regarding all issues related to the divorce, including child custody, division of property/debts or even the grounds for the dissolution, the courts consider the case to be contested.
Cases can be contested in whole or in part. If a divorce is contested in whole, this means that the parties have not been able to agree on any terms. However, many divorces may be contested in part. This means that perhaps the parties agree on child custody but disagree over the amount of child support to pay.
Georgia law provides for many fault-based grounds for divorce, as well as one no-fault divorce method. Seeking a no-fault divorce — saying that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” — does not make your divorce uncontested, nor does it have anything to do with the issues of settlement. It simply does not seek to assign specific blame to one party as to why the marriage did not work.
Ultimately, if you file on fault grounds, such as adultery, substance abuse or addiction, you must prove your spouse guilty of these actions.
What Happens When I File For Divorce In a Contested Case?
When filing a contested divorce in Cumming, you must include a financial disclosure affidavit with the court showing details of your current budget, assets and debts. You must also exchange copies with your spouse.
Either party may request a temporary hearing to ask a judge to determine if any temporary orders are necessary regarding child support, child visitation, dissipation of marital assets or even harassment. These orders will be in place until completion of the divorce decree.
If there are children involved, you will also be required to file a detailed parenting plan before the divorce will be finalized, regardless of whether it is an uncontested or contested divorce. Should custody be in dispute, the parties can request a guardian ad litem to investigate any allegations that the parties are accusing of one another. This guardian ad litem will meet with you and your spouse, as well as others familiar with your children, and will make recommendations to the court based on their independent investigation.
After the divorce case is filed, there is also a period of time where each of the parties can request information from each other or people not directly involved in the case. This is called the discovery period.
Jonathan C. BeardAttorney & PartnerJonathan joined the firm in 2014 and is a graduate of Reinhardt University, Kennesaw State University, and the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law at Faulkner University. As a partner at Miles Hansford and Tallant, LLC, Jonathan's practice primary focuses on ...
Lauren C. GilesAttorney & PartnerLauren Clipp Giles joined Miles & Tallant, LLC in 2009. Her primary practice areas include landlord/tenant law (both negotiating transactions and landlord/tenant litigation), real property disputes, zoning litigation, contract and business litigation, and ...
Brian A. HansfordAttorney & Founding PartnerBrian Hansford is one of the founding partners of Miles Hansford & Tallant, LLC. With over 15 years of experience, he is the leading criminal defense attorney at the firm and has successfully represented clients facing DUIs, drug violations and felonies, ...
Jonah B. HowellAttorney & PartnerHowell joined Miles Hanford & Tallant, LLC in June of 2016. As a Partner with the firm, his primary practice areas are civil and probate litigation, corporate and business representation, estate planning and local government law. Jonah is a native of ...
Kevin J. McDonoughAttorney & PartnerKevin McDonough, a Partner at Miles Hansford & Tallant, LLC, focuses his practice on three areas of law: Family Law, Business Law, and Wills and Estates. He works closely with his clients to help identify the goals that are most important to them and then ...
Deborah Anice PittmanAttorney & PartnerDeborah Anice Pittman joined Miles Hansford & Tallant, LLC in 2016 and is now a Partner in the firm. Her primary practice areas are family law and criminal defense; however, she also handles general civil litigation matters and is a certified civil and ...
Joshua A. ScogginsAttorney & PartnerJosh Scoggins has extensive experience representing clients in real estate related matters including purchase and sale transactions, real estate development, construction law, commercial leasing, easement acquisition, utility issues, title disputes, ...
Kevin J. TallantAttorney & Founding PartnerKevin Tallant is a Cumming, Georgia native, and is one of the founding partners of Miles Hansford & Tallant, LLC. His primary practice areas include local government law, contract and business litigation, probate litigation, and real property law. Kevin ...
J. Ethan UnderwoodAttorney & PartnerEthan Underwood practices in the fields of land use, real estate, and property tax law, representing developers, as well as individual property owners. He has negotiated numerous zoning and development actions and advises clients regarding environmental ...
You are not obligated to go to trial if all issues can be resolved. Many courts require that parties attend mediation before a final hearing occurs. Mediation is where a specially trained neutral person works to see if they can help the parties reach a settlement. If settlement occurs, whether through mediation or negotiations, your lawyer can submit a settlement agreement to the judge for review and approval to finalize the decree.
If all issues are not resolved, your divorce will go to trial with the option of by jury or by a judge alone. The vast majority of divorces are done by bench trial — one without a jury. Even if a party wants a jury trial, if issues regarding children are involved, then a trial by judge is required for custody decisions. A jury can make decisions regarding property and financial issues.
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