Uncontested Divorce

To be an uncontested divorce, either the separated spouses agree to get divorced or one spouse chooses not to participate in the divorce proceeding.

Collaborative Approach

When separated spouses agree to get divorce, they must also agree on all matters effected by the divorce.  Once these agreements are reached, the divorce can be finalized through a Settlement Agreement submitted to the court.  The spouses’ objective in an uncontested divorce is to solve all the issues related to the divorce without involving a court, except as to enter the final judgment and decree of divorce.  Said another way, the spouses will solve their own issues, such as personal and real property division, debt allocation, alimony, and any number of other issues particular to dissolving their marriage.  In contrast, in a contested divorce, the parties call upon a judge or mediator to solve their disputed issues.

Once all issues are resolved, the spouses will typically enter into a settlement agreement that states their agreed upon terms.  Married parties with children may also seek an uncontested divorce but must make additional agreements and plans regarding the custody and support of their children.  The spouses’ agreements should be reached prior to or contemporaneously with filing a Complaint for Divorce with the proper court, and then the agreements must be presented to the court at a certain time and in a certain manner.

One-Party/Missing Party Divorces

A divorce may be obtained by one spouse without the other party’s participation if, and only if, certain procedures are followed.  Even if one child custodyspouse acquiesces but does not participate by signing agreements or attending court, the court may still allow a divorce to become final.  Nonetheless, that party must be given notice of the divorce and due process must be satisfied.  Sometimes a party to a divorce may be unable to locate his or her spouse.  Georgia’s divorce laws also provide a procedure for obtaining a divorce under those circumstances.

Undoubtedly, the necessity to meet requirements of notice and strictly adhere to proper procedure requires precise knowledge and experience.  The attorneys at Alford & Burkhart can provide those elements to their clients under these difficult circumstances.

Our Unique Processes

Alford & Burkhart LLC have developed materials and methods for facilitating a cooperative and collaborative process between spouses seeking an uncontested divorce.  Once agreements are reached between spouses, it is essential that those agreements are memorialized in a legal binding contract — a settlement agreement.  Alford & Burkhart LLC draft customized and comprehensive settlement agreements for their clients, which accurately state the unique agreements of spouses and leave nothing left for the Court to decide for the parties.

When divorcing spouses are willing to be cooperative and collaborative, a divorce can be obtained in a relatively cost and time effective manner.  Nevertheless, having experienced legal counsel like the attorneys at Alford & Burkhart LLC to facilitate the settlement process and to navigate the court system ensures that your uncontested divorce is done effectively and efficiently.

Issues Determined By Divorce:

Division of Marital Property

Georgia law gives courts or juries authority to award a spouse both real and personal property held in the name of the other spouse, as alimony or as an equitable division of property.  Only the real and personal property and assets acquired by the parties during the marriage are subject to equitable property division.  A property interest brought to the marriage by one of the marital partners is a non-marital asset and it is not subject to equitable division, since it was not generated by the marriage.  Gifts and inheritance may also be excluded from property division even if received during the marriage.

Georgia law does not require that marital property is split equally or “50/50.”  Instead, Georgia law requires a “fair” division of property.  “Fairness” is based upon a myriad of factors.

Alimony

“Alimony” a.k.a. “Spousal Support” may be awarded by a court or jury on a temporary or permanent basis.   The purpose of alimony is often to allow a spouse with less income-earning potential to obtain an education or develop skills, find adequate employment, and/or to continue to enjoy the quality of life enjoyed during the marriage.  Alimony is to be awarded to either spouse in accordance with the needs of the spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay.  Georgia law requires that the principles of liability for alimony apply equally to women as well as to men.  However, alimony is not a right, and the law does not require that alimony is awarded in a divorce.

Child Custody and Visitation

The fundamental concern of Georgia’s legal system in child custody is “what is in the best interest of the minor child.”

There are two aspects to child custody: Legal Custody and Physical Custody.

Developing a custody plan, often referred to as a “Parenting Plan,” can be a challenge for separated or divorcing parents.  Parents naturally have their own parental interests in mind and may also have potentially differing definitions of their child’s best interest.  Parenting Plans demand careful consideration of the needs of a child balanced with the practicalities of parenting.

Child Support

Divorcing parents are obligated both to their child and to society to support their child.  Georgia law mandates the use of a Child Support Worksheet in determining the financial, child support obligations of parents, and divorcing parents must submit Child Support Worksheets to the court in divorces with children.  Child support is calculated based upon parents’ gross monthly income, and adjustments and deviations for other expenses of the child paid by parents.

Other Issues

Issues related to health insurance, taxes, family violence, and attorneys’ fees may also be determined in a divorce action.