How to Save Money on your Divorce – Part 3

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We want to help you formulate a plan for your divorce action that is as painless as possible.  Sometimes, that is just not feasible.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you are trying to determine whether you should try to work on an uncontested divorce:

  1. Timing is key. If you need support and you are not sure whether your spouse will agree to pay you an appropriate amount of support, you may not have time to pursue an uncontested divorce action.  Sometimes, the length of time you spend working on an uncontested divorce can cost you in support payments you might have been awarded if you had filed a contested divorce petition and pursued your case in court.  You should assume, as a general rule, that a court will not award support retroactively, so every month you wait to file may be costing you support payments that you won’t recover later.
  2. If you are worried that your spouse is hiding assets or trying to dispose of them, you probably should not waste time trying to negotiate an uncontested divorce.
  3. Along those same lines, if your spouse is unwilling to share information about marital assets and income, you may need the benefit of the discovery process. By use of Georgia’s “discovery” process, we can require the production of documents and other information, so that we can learn the extent of assets, debts, and income of the parties.
  4. If you are afraid of your spouse or if your spouse has ever been violent, you may need a court order to protect you, your property, or your children. We can discuss the various processes that are available to protect you.

A few months ago, I was in court when a gentleman appeared without a lawyer and attempted to make his case regarding custody and child support.  The judge who heard him was one of my favorite judges and the comment he made to the gentleman stuck with me.  The judge said that sometimes going to court without a lawyer was really a “false economy.”  The gentleman was trying to save money by not hiring a lawyer, but he was really losing money because he was not getting the result he needed.

Obviously, the best way to determine the route you should take in your divorce is to consult an attorney.  I genuinely want to help you get a good result and I am committed to the concept of giving you value for the money you pay.  I will also tell you when you need to abandon the idea of the painless divorce and dig in for the fight.

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How to Save Money on Your Divorce – Part 2

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Over the last 25 years, I have personally advised thousands of people in the Chattahoochee Valley about the best way to proceed with their divorces.

My first priority in the initial consultation is to figure out what you need and what you want.

Do you want a simple uncontested divorce?  Will your circumstances force you into fully contested divorce litigation?  Do you need help deciding how to proceed?

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When you hire us for your uncontested divorce, this is what we do:

  1. I meet with you and take the pertinent information we need that will allow us to make a decision about how to proceed with your case.
  2. I explain to you some basic laws in Georgia regarding marital property, support, and child custody.
  3. We discuss whether there is a reasonable possibility that we will be able to draw up an agreement for an uncontested divorce that your spouse will sign.
  4. If, together, we decide to proceed with an uncontested divorce, we will draft all the documents you need for your uncontested divorce.
  5. Ordinarily, in our uncontested divorce proceeding, it is our client’s responsibility to get the spouse’s signature on the divorce documents. This is the key to holding our costs down.  We don’t typically negotiate with your spouse or appear in court when we are hired for an uncontested divorce action.
  6. In an uncontested divorce proceeding, we prepare the documents you need, you obtain your spouse’s signature and then you return the documents to our office.
  7. We file the documents with the Clerk of the Superior Court and we pay the filing fee*.
  8. We are required by law to wait at least 31 days after filing your divorce petition before we may move forward with finalizing your divorce.
  9. At the conclusion of the mandatory waiting period, we will prepare an affidavit for you to sign, in which you request the Court to execute a Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce.
  10. We will then take the entire package of documents to the Judge for signature.
  11. After the Judge signs the documents, we file the Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce with the Clerk’s office and your divorce is complete.

For more information about whether an uncontested divorce action is appropriate for you, please call our office and make an appointment for an initial consultation.  I will soon be posting more information about our policies and procedures.

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*When you are comparing costs of different attorneys’ uncontested divorce actions, it is important to know exactly what you are paying for.  Some very low-cost uncontested divorce packages do not include items such as the court’s mandatory filing fee.

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