How Long Does A Divorce Typically Take In Georgia?
A typical divorce really depends on the complexity of the case. It depends on a number of factors that people just really cannot control. You can get divorced in the state of Georgia in as little as thirty-one days, so long as everyone agrees; the proper paperwork must be filed out, and signed by the judge. It could take as much as two to three years. I had a case that lasted close to three years, but there was a lot of aspects to that particular case with custody matters, and huge division of debt, and property. Therefore, it really does depend on the complexity of each case. It also depends on the type of litigant that you are, and on the skills of the opposing attorney.
For example, if you have a reasonable attorney who is going to look towards trying to resolve it, and try for a settlement agreement, as opposed to someone who is going to be stubborn in litigation, and bury you in paperwork, it really makes an impact on how long the divorce will take. Then of course, there is the other aspect of the divorce that you really have no control over, such as the judge’s calendar. For example, the judge is not going to give you a court date unless his or her calendar allows it.
It really depends on the complexity of the case, the opposing counsel, and the county in which you are practicing family law. Requirements change from county to county. Some counties require mediation before you can even go forward with a trial, and some do not. There really is not a concrete answer to that question. It varies is the answer.
How Would You Define A Successful Outcome In A Divorce Case?
I would define a successful outcome as leaving the client in the best position that he or she can be after any divorce, emotionally, children wise, and financially set. Just being on the path of living the life they deserve to live without ending their divorce process in financial crisis or ruin, because of the expense of the process. That is what I call a successful divorce.
What Are The Main Factors That The Court Considers In Determining The Best Interests Of The Child?
In making that determination, the judge is going to look at the totality of the circumstances when it comes to the best scenario where children are involved. About eighteen factors are actually statutorily outlined in Georgia. I would say the most important factor the judge is going to look at, this has been stated several times, and they agree, the most important factor is going to be the ability and willingness of each parent to co-parent with the other. Judges are really starting to acknowledge, and accept the fact that this has been proven. The children really do need both parents, and they do better after the divorce, a separation, or after a custody dispute when the parents get along, and co-parenting with each other as if they were an intact family.
Of all the numerous factors that are considered by the court, that is going to be the most important one, the ability and willingness of the parents to actually get along and co-parent.
Who Works Out The Specific Schedules And Details Of A Child Custody Arrangement?
Ideally, the parents will make the decisions about the schedules. Ideally, the two of them can make a determination of what will work best for each family. Just because the mother and father are no longer living together, does not mean that they are no longer a family. They need to put their differences aside, and come up with what they think is best for their children. Judges keep in mind that they oftentimes have maybe eight hours or less to make a determination of what is in a child’s best interest. When you are dealing with children of varying ages, the judge is given the task of making that determination, because the parents cannot do it on themselves.
In the event that the parents cannot of course, the ultimate decision is going to be with the judge. Even if they can make the decision, the ultimate decision is with the judge, because the judge has to sign off on the agreements. A prime example would be a situation where there is a domestic violence situation. Those are heart-wrenching types of divorces, especially when children are involved. For example, the wife is the one who is the target of the domestic violence and she says, “Okay, I am going to give custody of the children to the father”, not because so much that she is believed that is in the children’s best interest, but because she has been so intimidated and bullied that she just gives in. She has no more fight left in her.
It is one of the reasons why it is statutorily required, even if the parties do agree on paper, it is the judge who has to look at the totality of the circumstances and make the final determination. Hopefully, the parties are going to agree, but if they cannot agree, the judge would decide.
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