The Four Steps to a Divorce
Columbus GA Divorce Lawyer Mark Jones Discusses the Four Steps to a Divorce in Georgia and Alabama
To divorce or not to divorce? That is the question. The subject is one that causes much gossip. One need only look at the issue of whether Jay-Z and Beyonce are or are not headed to splitsville to see how much attention is devoted to the subject.
A divorce is about as pleasant as a root canal every day for an extended period. Or getting punched in the guts for an equally long period. Or learning that your best friend has died in a car accident over and over and over. Indeed, the Hebrew word for divorce in Deuteronomy 24 literally means, “a hewing off, or a cutting apart.” A divorce is an amputation of a part of your body in a sense.
No one signs up for a divorce; just as no one signs up for cancer. This is one reason why Lawyer Mark Jones — like a surgeon with a scalpel removing a cancer — does everything he can to ensure his clients are divorced as quickly as possible without protracted litigation. The faster the divorce can happen, the shorter the unpleasant experience for the client and the shorter the recovery period following the divorce. The goal is catharsis – a purging of emotions during the divorce process until the client achieves a sense of restoration.
So how does the divorce process work in Georgia and Alabama? There are four steps. At any point during the process, however, the parties can agree to resolve all the issues between them. This is usually quite difficult for the parties because, oftentimes, emotions run extremely high in divorce proceedings. In reality, a divorce is simply a financial transaction involving two people and an allocation of liabilities. So what are the steps in this financial transaction?
Step One: Paperwork
Every divorce in the history of man has involved some sort of legal paperwork. Indeed, a divorce in the Bible is described as a “certificate of divorce.” In Georgia, a divorce is technically a lawsuit governed by the Civil Practice Act. In Alabama, a divorce is a lawsuit under the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. A divorce involving children has exponentially more paperwork than a divorce without children. Other factors that may increase paperwork include whether the parties own real estate or have retirement accounts that require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.
Step Two: Temporary Hearing
If the parties cannot agree on what the paperwork — i.e., if they cannot settle their differences together or through their own counsel — then judicial intervention is necessary. Divorce cases are not favored by judges. Judges are really busy. They know that the divorce is a financial decision involving the allocation of liabilities and the assignment of responsibility for the primary upbringing of children. They also know that the parties are the best ones capable of resolving the issues between them. They don’t care who cheated on whom, the evil stuff the other party did to you, or who wants the Vizio or the toaster more than the other.
At the temporary hearing, the judge will hear limited testimony and make an interim decision involving major issues such as child custody, who possesses the marital home, and how much child support should be paid. Regarding custody, a temporary hearing is a big deal, because temporary custody, is good custody and allows one party to control the primary upbringing of the child.
Lawyer Mark Jones makes every effort to resolve cases on a final basis at temporary hearings, because all the decision makers are there. Of note, a temporary hearing in Alabama is dubbed a “pendente lite” hearing.
Step Three: Mediation
In most judicial circuits, mediation involving a third-party neutral is required before a divorce case can proceed to trial. There are numerous great articles concerning mediation. Again, this is another opportunity for the parties to resolve the divorce case. Mediation is completely confidential and the parties need not reach an agreement at the mediation unless both parties want to settle the case.
Step Four: Final Hearing / Trial (Final Decree)
If you and your spouse simply cannot agree at mediation, the judge will decide your case on a final basis. Be prepared to be extremely pissed off following the final decree you receive from the Court. Again, judges generally do not like family law cases and the petty disputes associated with them. Typically, cases that make it this far involve couples fighting for custody of a child/children.
There are four steps to a divorce in Georgia: Paperwork, Temporary Hearing, Mediation, and Final Hearing. It really is that simple. What is complicated is the emotions, liabilities, assets, and children involved in divorce proceedings. Call Lawyer Mark Jones at 706-DIVORCE today for a free consultation regarding your case.
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