Georgia Contested Divorce Attorney
Going through a divorce in Georgia? If you and your former spouse cannot agree on certain issues prior to divorce, you will likely find yourself in a contested divorce. This means that some issues (like marital property division, child custody, child support, and alimony) will require formal legal proceedings to resolve. Both parties will have to file motions and pleadings with the court, and the case may eventually make its way to trial. Don’t go through this process alone. You need an experienced attorney who can guide you through the divorce process and represent you to the fullest extent of the law.
At Fennell, Briasco & Associates™, we believe in a legal approach that maximizes your parental rights and protects your financial interests. Divorce is difficult on everyone. We understand the emotional toll that divorce can have on any family—whether with or without children. This intensely stressful period of your life demands the patience and experience of Georgia’s most skilled divorce attorneys. Contact us today at (770) 956-4030 for a FREE consultation regarding your Georgia divorce.
Courtroom Experience Where It Counts
The attorneys at Fennell, Briasco & Associates™ know how contested divorces work in Georgia. Our team of family law attorneys has represented clients in Georgia courts for over a decade, arguing before both the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court. We have strong working relationships in courtrooms across North Metro Atlanta and we know how to push back against the toughest divorce lawyers in the state. At Fennell, Briasco & Associates™, we proudly serve the following communities in Metro Atlanta:
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces
In uncontested divorce cases, parties seek to resolve the divorce as quickly and amicably as possible by reaching an out-of-court agreement on all issues related to the divorce. The parties will negotiate and reach a marital dissolution agreement that specifies how to divide marital property, how to split child custody, and how to resolve issues related to child support and alimony. Once the parties submit this agreement to the court, the court can issue a final divorce decree. While parties in an uncontested divorce case may not be overjoyed by the terms of the settlement agreement, they often hope that they can resolve their differences in a short period of time and move on.
In contested divorce cases, things do not always go over so smoothly. The reality is that, in many divorce cases, spouses cannot amicably agree on all the terms of their divorce. Especially in cases that involve child custody or significant financial assets, it simply isn’t prudent for one party to concede to an unfair settlement. Under the Georgia Uniform Rules for Superior Courts (Rule 24.7), a superior court may not issue a final divorce decree until “all contestable issues in the case have been finally resolved.” In other words, if the parties cannot reach an agreement about certain “contestable issues,” then the court cannot finalize the divorce.
In contested divorce cases, the parties will enter a formalized legal process that involves (1) submitting pleadings to the court about the contested issue, (2) going through discovery to find relevant information/evidence about the issue, (3) attending court-ordered mediation to resolve the issue, and (4) going to trial, if necessary, to resolve any ongoing divorce issues. In these contested divorce cases, the parties may ultimately reach an out-of-court settlement prior to trial.
Issues in a Contested Divorce
As specified by the court rules above (see Rule 24.7), the presence of any contestable issue will prevent the superior court from issuing a final divorce decree. When parties cannot agree on one or more of the following issues, the parties have a contested divorce and should consult an attorney about how to proceed with their case:
Alimony (sometimes called spousal support) is a periodic or lump-sum payment made by one former spouse to the other to provide for their financial support. Alimony payments are often rehabilitative, meaning that they are of a limited duration to help the ex-spouse get back on their feet after separation. In contested divorce cases, the parties may not reach an agreement on the amount and/or duration of alimony payments. To resolve this issue in a contested divorce, the parties will go through an intensive discovery period regarding each other’s finances and personal lives. Then, each party will argue before the court and/or a mediator as to how much they should pay or receive in alimony. Always consult an attorney to understand the best arguments in favor of your financial stability.
Child Support is a recurring financial payment made by one former spouse to the other for the payment of housing, food, clothing, and other basic necessities of a child. If contested, the parties will not agree as to the amount required to support health and wellbeing of the child. This issue can become even more complicated if the child requires significant financial resources for academics, extracurricular activities, or medical bills (especially if the child has a learning disability or physical disability). In these contested divorce cases, the parties will present arguments to the court about the amount they should either pay or receive in monthly child support payments. Because child support payments may last until the child reaches age 18, there is significant financial value (for both payors and recipients) wrapped up in questions of child support. To represent the financial interests of you and your child, contact the team at Fennell, Briasco & Associates™ today.
Marital Property Division
During marriage, spouses jointly hold property as a married couple. For everything from cars to investment portfolios to real estate, this property may be held in common by both spouses. Upon divorce, the process of untangling this property between the ex-spouses can be a particularly contentious issue (as commentators sometimes refer to this process as “unscrambling the egg”). When soon-to-be divorced spouses cannot agree on who will receive certain assets—for instance, who will get the car and who will stay in the house—then the divorce is contested. To represent you in a contested divorce case, contact our team today at (770) 956-4030 to team up with one of Atlanta’s most trusted divorce attorneys.
Child Custody refers to the award of legal and/or physical custody of a child to parents following a divorce. Legal custody generally refers to a parent’s ability to exercise decision-making authority over the child for medical, academic, and extracurricular decisions. Physical custody refers to the physical care of the child, including where the child lives full-time and attends school. Because it is impossible for divorced parents to each have 100% physical and legal custody of their children, it is a likely outcome that one parent will receive more parenting time than the other. During divorce proceedings, this can clearly lead to contentious and heated legal disagreements. At Fennell, Briasco & Associates™, we understand just how important your children are in your life. Our mission is to represent you to the fullest extent of the law and stand up for your rights in child custody.