Beyond the emotional turmoil you may be experiencing, filing for divorce raises serious logistical questions regarding property division, custody arrangements and financial assistance (e.g. child support and/or alimony). In some cases, a family business may be a major asset shared by both parties. How to divide a business — as well as how to protect the non-investing spouse’s interest in the business — are matters in which Tom Cain is well experienced.
Grounds for Divorce in the State of Georgia
Georgia is a “mixed state,” meaning that you can apply either “fault” or “no fault” grounds as the basis for ending your marriage. You may also file for divorce if you’ve been separated from your spouse for at least two years. It may be beneficial to use fault grounds if you’re seeking an advantage in a disputed child custody case and/or a dispute about the division of marital property.
Equitable Division of Property
Georgia is an “equitable division” state, meaning that each spouse owns the income she or he earned during the course of the marriage. In other words, each party has the right to manage any property that’s in her or his name, free from interference from the other party. A Georgia judge will divide marital property in accordance with what she or he considers fair. Keep in mind, however, that this doesn’t always mean the marital property division will be exactly equal. In fact, in many cases it is not.
Child Custody Considerations
A Georgia judge will typically operate under the presumption that it’s best for your child to have frequent and continuing contact with both you and your former spouse. Whenever possible, Georgia judges seek outcomes that support joint custody arrangements. Keep in mind, however, that the exact nature of your child custody arrangement will be determined on the basis of the judge’s interpretation of your child/children’s best interests.
In the state of Georgia, both parents must support their children financially following a divorce. Child support amounts are heavily dependent upon each parent’s income and various other considerations, as well as how much time each parent spends with the child/children. In addition, sometimes the courts will “impute” income to a parent who has the capacity to earn more than she or he is actually earning.