Georgia is one of eleven states in the United States that permit jury trials for divorce cases under certain circumstances. If you have gone to trial for a divorce, you have certainly been in what divorce attorneys call a contested case. Contested cases can be very nasty ordeals for all concerned, including the divorce lawyers. Atlanta, like so many cities in the state of Georgia, is located smack dab in the center of what many refer to as the “Bible Belt” or conservative area of our nation. In a divorce trial, not only can you experience the humiliation of exposing the reasons for a failed marriage to the public, a stigma can be attached to the participants who may endure a lifetime of shame for their failure to live up to societal expectations.
Whether Atlanta society is right or wrong in the judgmental way some approach divorce, or whether or not your humiliation is self illusion, before entering a contested marital divorce, you may want to ask yourself a couple of simple questions. First of all, is there any way for reconciliation between you and your spouse? With over nine million people living in Georgia, over 85 percent consider themselves as associated with some type of religion, and over 82 percent of those consider themselves as Christian. With strong similar values, work ethics, and community minded service of Georgia Christians, there should be no wonder the legal system in the state has been influenced by this group when it comes to the marriage institution. Regardless of their religious affiliations, Georgians value hard work and commitment, traits shared by the tenets of the Christian faith and essential in making a marriage contract work. Nevertheless, the divorce rate in 2002 in Georgia was 38 percent of the total marriages that year, and did not seem to change regardless of religious or non-religious affiliations. In the spirit of Georgian values honoring hard work and commitment, doesn’t it stand to reason that if at all possible, you should first try to reconcile before acquiescing to divorce?
Secondly, if your answer to the first question is honestly “no,” then you may want to ask yourself, is there any way you can get out of a bad marriage without a lot of public fervor? Obviously, there are reasons some people should not stay married, the threat of imminent harm being chief amongst them. So, if you have come to the place where you have decided there is no other alternative to divorce, there are two ways you can get a divorce in Georgia- Fault (Contested) or No-Fault (Uncontested or Non-Contested). The No-Fault process can be as simple as filling out a Petition For Divorce, Marital Settlement Agreement, and other legal documents easily obtained, and filing them with the proper Superior Court in the county of jurisdiction to hear the cause. Georgia permits No-Fault divorce not less than 30 days from the date of service on the Respondent and after the proper legal papers have been filed stating the marriage is irretrievably broken. Providing you and your spouse can amiably agree on the terms of the divorce about your finances, assets, and children, the process is relatively simple and inexpensive. In the event you are divorcing because your spouse has put you at imminent harm, a No-Fault divorce is probably not practical, but if there are other reasons you seek a dissolution of marriage, doesn’t it stand to reason, you should try and obtain a No-Fault divorce?
There are many reasons two people who have been married a while may not be able to amiably and maturely come to terms involving finances, assets, and children. In the event this happens, and it often does, there exists a real possibility for a contested divorce. When it does happen, you can present your case before a judge or a jury. In either case, it may be wise to be legally represented. In addition to the No-Fault reasons for divorce, Georgia permits Fault divorce on grounds of: intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity; mental incapacity at the time of the marriage; impotency at the time of the marriage; force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage; pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the husband; adultery in either of the parties after marriage; willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year; the conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude, under which he is sentenced to imprisonment in a penal institution for a term of two years or longer; habitual intoxication; cruel treatment, which shall consist of the willful infliction of pain, bodily or mental, upon the complaining party, such as reasonably justifies apprehension of danger to life, limb, or health; incurable mental illness; and habitual drug addiction. One of these issues have to be stated in a Petition for Divorce as the reason the petitioner is wanting to end the marriage. Many times, these stated reasons for divorce are value based, and in a state where the results of a divorce are public record, the participants are open to public scrutiny and sometimes ridicule. Therefore, in a contested trial, the legal outcome is of utmost importance, and you may want to consider consulting with a divorce attorney before you file for a divorce.
Regardless of the decision concerning divorce you may make, there are divorce lawyers in Georgia who can help you when it comes to divorce law. So, if you are considering a divorce, please contact us and we will help you find the divorce attorney in your area that can provide you with legal answers to the questions you may have.
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