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How to Financially Prepare for a Divorce

When you’re considering divorce, money may be the last thing on your mind. It’s normal to be preoccupied with your children, your future, and the emotional aspects of divorce, but don’t forget to consider your finances before you move forward. In reality, many couples struggle with their finances in the aftermath of a divorce. Keep these tips in mind to make sure you’re financially prepared.

1) Separate Your Accounts

First things first: you’ll need to have your own separate bank accounts after the divorce is finalized, but you should start now to head off any potential conflicts with your spouse. Open individual checking and savings accounts in your name only. Eventually you will also need to close joint accounts or remove your spouse’s name from shared bank accounts and credit cards.

2) Keep Track of Your Credit

In addition to bank accounts, you’ll want to start establishing credit in your name only. Open a new credit card and use it to build your personal credit history. You should also check your credit report as soon as possible to check for discrepancies, pay outstanding debts, and get a good assessment of your financial situation.

3) Start Cutting Expenses

In a situation like divorce, you need to face the money as well as the music. Understand that you may not enjoy the same standard of living that you had while married; at least not right away. To plan ahead for expenses like child support, attorney’s fees, and court costs, as well as the cost of living on your own, you should take a hard look at your expenses and see where you can save.

4) Take Inventory

Another important step involves gathering your financial records and taking inventory of your assets. If possible, collect about five year’s worth of documents—like payroll stubs, bank statements, tax returns, insurance records, benefits information, and investment accounts—and make copies that you will keep outside of the marital home. You should also inventory your assets, including any separate property you owned before marriage or inheritances given only to you, and perhaps even take date-stamped photos of valuable items like jewelry and antiques, just in case.

5) Start Retraining

If you spent a good part of your marriage as a stay-at-home spouse or caretaker for your children, you should start preparing to find a job and establish your financial independence. Take a look at your skills and experience and see if you might benefit from more education or training courses that can help to bolster your resume. As soon as you’re ready, start applying for jobs.

6) Update Your Estate Plan

To prepare for any eventuality, update your estate plan as soon as possible. You may need to disinherit your spouse from your will or trust, or remove their name from any medical directive or power of attorney you may have created. You can also change the beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, pension, 401K, and IRA.

When you’re considering divorce, it’s best to have help from a qualified attorney who understands what you’re going through. Call the Law Offices of Adam Stein to receive personalized guidance for all of your financial and legal concerns.

Divorce Laws in Lawrenceville and Norcross

Anyone getting a divorce in Georgia needs to comply with some basic rules. It is important to consult a divorce attorney as soon as possible when you realize you are a party or potential party to a divorce.

Even if you feel that your divorce is friendly, emotions still tend to run high. Divorce is stressful and has a large impact on your life, and the advice of a good divorce lawyer will make the process less stressful and help preserve your peace of mind.

You could be treated unfairly if you don’t have an advocate who will help you. A local divorce lawyer can help people in and around Lawrenceville and Norcross.

Residency Requirements

The first requirement is that one of the parties must be a resident of Georgia for six months before the filing. It doesn’t matter which party is the resident, the one filing or the respondent.

After the original petition is filed, either party is free to move anywhere.

The Divorce Petition

Georgia law allows for both fault and no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce states that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

Other grounds for divorce include adultery, desertion of at least a year, impotency, fraud in obtaining the marriage and drug addiction. If a party chooses to file based on one of these reasons, there must be proof provided to the court and the other party will be allowed to defend him or herself against the allegations.

Most people choose the no-fault divorce, because it is easier and faster. Your divorce lawyer can help you prepare the petition or respond to it. Responding to the petition can help preserve your rights.

Time Periods

A party who has been served a petition to dissolve the marriage will need to respond within thirty days, if he or she wants to argue against the petition. The court will not grant the divorce for at least 30 days.

Dividing up the Assets

Georgia is an “equitable distribution state,” so any property accumulated during the marriage, including retirement benefits, is subject to being split up between the parties. However, property that one party already had can be retained by the person who brought it into the marriage.

The Court can also consider other factors when dividing up the marital estate, such as how much each party can earn. Debts will also be divided up as fairly as possible.

Final Hearing and Decree

When the divorce is granted, the judge may order both parties to attend a hearing, particularly if there are issues in dispute.

The Final Decree will be the official written end to the marriage. In it, the judge will grant the divorce and make rulings on other important matters.

The final document may restore the wife’s maiden name and address custody of the children. Finally, the judge will order the end of the marriage.


Difference Between A Separation and A Divorce

What is the difference between a separation and a divorce?

In Georgia, you can have what is called a legal separation, which just means you are not having marital relations. Being legally separated in Georgia does not mean that the marriage is over.

There is no legal requirement that the parties in a divorce must separate for a period of time to qualify for a divorce, or that parties who have opted for a legal separation file for a divorce. There is also no requirement in a legal separation that the parties live in separate places, although making up and engaging in marital relations will adversely affect the separate status. These can be completely unrelated issues.

It is important to consult with a divorce lawyer in the Lawrenceville and Norcross areas if you are going through a separation, so you can understand your rights and how the separation will affect you.

What happens in a separation?

Georgia does not allow a divorce until a couple has been legally separated for 30 days, but the separation can simply be the filing. The separation can look the same as the marriage to people on the outside. Just like with a divorce, there is a residency requirement. One party to the divorce must be a resident of Georgia for six months before filing for an official separation.

A divorce can be a lot like a divorce, in many significant ways. For instance, parties can agree or ask that a judge order child support while they are separated. Georgia is also a state which allows for alimony, or spousal support, and this can also be ordered during a legal separation.

What is a separation agreement, and is it binding?

When parties file a separation agreement, they don’t need to go to Court, but the agreement is just as binding as a regular divorce agreement. They don’t need to bring in a divorce attorney, but if they choose to represent themselves, they are held to the same standard as if they had.

The separation agreement includes the kinds of things a divorce decree does. This is where the child support order and alimony order will be. Because there are so many factors to consider when determining child support and alimony, the parties should at least seek the advice of a divorce attorney if they are going to file the petition themselves. Because the Separation Agreement is legally binding, the long-term effects can be serious.

What happens if there is no divorce filed?

Georgia law allows coupes to separate without divorcing. Many couples stay legally bound in marriage because of various reasons, some personal and some practical.

Some people don’t divorce because their religion forbids it. Some couples stay married for longer because one of them has insurance through an employer and the other does not, so they stay married so that everyone in the family can maintain health insurance coverage.


Divorcing in Georgia: What Couples Need to Know About Ending Their Marriage in The Peach State

Divorce laws vary and, when considering divorce, it’s important to know the unique legal requirements of your state. Georgia has its own set of rules concerning divorce and, by exploring the overview of Georgia divorce laws below, you’ll be best equipped to end your marriage in The Peach State.

Residency requirement

Like all states, Georgia has its own residency requirements that must be met in order for a couple to be granted a divorce. While local jurisdictions may also have their own requirements, the state requirements to file for a divorce in Georgia are:

  • Either you or your spouse have been a resident of Georgia for six months immediately prior to filing; or
  • If you are a non-resident, you can file for divorce in the county that your spouse lives in, provided that he or she has been a resident for six months

You should always consult with an attorney regarding your eligibility to file for divorce in Georgia prior to taking any action.

Grounds for divorce

In Georgia, there are two types of grounds for divorce: fault and no-fault. In a no-fault divorce, the parties do not have to prove fault in order for their divorce to be granted: the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” There are 12 fault-based grounds of divorce recognized by the court:

  • Adultery
  • Incest
  • Mental incapacity at the time of marriage
  • Impotency
  • Force, menace, duress or fraud at the time of marriage
  • The wife was pregnant by someone other than her spouse at the time of the marriage, without the knowledge of the husband
  • Willful desertion
  • Two or more years of imprisonment for a crime involving moral turpitude
  • Habitual intoxication
  • Habitual drug addiction
  • Cruel treatment that causes reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm
  • Incurable mental illness

Division of property

Many couples are concerned with how their property will be divided after a divorce. Georgia is known as an equitable distribution state. Although there are exceptions to every rule, in an equitable distribution state, generally any property acquired during the marriage will be divided between the spouses, while property obtained either before the marriage or through third-party gifts or inheritance remain the property of the individual and will not be divided. Keep in mind that property obtained prior to a marriage could become the shared property of the spouses if circumstances change during the marriage—such as adding your spouse to the title of a vacation property you owned before getting married.The division of property must be “fair,” but does not have to be precisely equal. When considering what is fair, the court will consider a number of factors, such as each spouse’s income, assets, and debts.


Alimony is money awarded to one spouse from the other. It can be awarded either temporarily or permanently. The amount of alimony awarded will vary from case to case: each spouse’s financial needs, assets, income, earning capacity, and other relevant factors will be considered by the court in order to determine what amount of money is appropriate.

Child custody

If the divorcing couple has children and can’t come to an agreement on physical custody, legal custody, and visitation, a judge will decide for them. To make the decision, the judge will focus on what arrangement is in the best interest of the child. The judge can consider any relevant factor in determining the best interest of the child. Common examples of factors a judge could consider include each parent’s relationship with the child and the financial capacity of each parent to provide for the child, as well as any detrimental factors such as a history of drug/alcohol abuse or criminal record.

Child support

In order to calculate the amount of child support a parent may potentially owe, the courts consider the total gross income of each parent, as well as a number of other additional factors that influence a parent’s ability to support their child. The amount of the award is calculated using a worksheet developed by the Georgia legislature. The legislature has provided a schedule of basic child support obligations, based on the combined adjusted gross income of both parents: the amounts listed are subject to adjustment based on the particular factors that are relevant in your case.

Experienced divorce lawyer for Georgia residents

The Law Offices of Adam Stein provide excellence in legal representation for family law clients in Gwinnett County, Georgia. To learn more about our divorce and family law services, and to receive your free initial consultation, please visit our website at www.family-lawyer.biz or contact our office at (770) 822-1985.