At Gray Eittreim Martin, LLC, divorce is a primary aspect of our practice. Divorce can be one of the most taxing and stressful experiences a person can go through. It not only impacts the two people divorcing, it also significantly affects family and loved ones, especially children. No matter how amicable a divorce may be (and to be sure, an amicable split is the goal in every case), it still presents new challenges for clients and their families that can be emotionally trying.
At GEM, our divorce clients receive unparalleled personal attention during one of their greatest times of need. We pride ourselves on our ability to listen to our clients and understand their needs and wants. We fight for our clients and do our best to alleviate some of the stress that comes with divorce.
It’s important for those considering divorce to understand that there are many elements that go into filing and completing a divorce, such as property division, alimony, child support, and custody.
If you have questions about divorce, call GEM’s attorneys at 770-225-7000 for a confidential consultation.
Property Division in Georgia
Georgia is an “equitable division” state, meaning that any marital property must be divided fairly, which does not necessarily mean “equally”. There are many factors that go into determining an equitable division of marital property, and clients, especially those with significant assets, need to have confidence that their counsel knows how to first find the assets, value those assets, and then effectively argue for a fair distribution based on all of the facts and circumstances of the unique situation presented by their divorce. Our attorneys and staff members have the skill and knowledge, honed over decades of practice, to uncover the true composition and value of the marital estate through our mastery of the information-seeking, or “discovery”, process inherent in a divorce litigation.
Alimony, or spousal support, is the obligation of one spouse to provide the other spouse with financial support. Like other aspects of divorce, alimony is decided on a case-by-case basis, and there is no set “formula” for determining an appropriate level of alimony. Alimony, it is said, is based on the recipient spouse’s reasonable needs, and the paying spouse’s ability to pay. However, in truth, many factors go into the court’s determination of an amount and term of alimony to be paid by one spouse to the other.
Among these factors are:
- Length of the marriage
- The age of the parties
- The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage
- The income and earning capacities of the parties
- The health of the parties
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage
These are just a few of the many factors that a judge or a jury might consider when determining whether alimony should be awarded and what an appropriate amount and duration of alimony should be given all the facts and circumstances of the marriage. Because of this, it is critically important that your family law counsel is well-versed in arguing for, or, as the case may be, against an award of alimony.
We at GEM pride ourselves in being leaders in the profession in terms of handling complex, high asset divorce cases, which often include significant claims for alimony. As such, we have deep and broad experience arguing both sides of arguments for and against alimony.
Preparing for Custody and Parenting Time
Separating spouses should try to prepare a potential schedule and plan for custody and parenting time before divorce proceedings begin. Getting an idea of what an ideal custody arrangement and parenting time schedule will help parties in the initial phases of the case and usually help with formulating a final plan that both parents can agree upon. Ideally, this plan will detail the following:
- Daily schedule
- Drop-off and pick-up locations
- Holiday and vacation schedule
- Methods of contact between the parent and the child
- Methods of transportation
An agreeable outcome is more likely when former partners are willing to work together. Absent an agreement, however, the judge will make the ultimate custody and parenting time determination based on the best interests of the child or children. There are myriad factors that go into making this determination, and judges take their task in this regard most seriously. Many times, in fact, judges will appoint experts to assist them in making these critical determinations, and while the ultimate decision rests firmly with the judge, heavy emphasis is placed on the recommendations of these experts. The involvement of these experts, called guardians or custody evaluators, can significantly complicate a case, and often judges may appoint both a guardian and a custody evaluator in the same case.
The attorneys of GEM have extensive experience in arguing exceedingly complicated custody and parenting time cases involving both guardians and custody evaluators.
Information About Child Support
In the state of Georgia, parents are required to support their children until the age of 18 or until the child graduates from high school. There are some exceptions to this rule, and there are a few circumstances where a child support award can even go beyond the age of 18.
Child support payments are calculated based on income, commission, tips, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, and other sources that contribute to a person’s income. Georgia’s child support guidelines use an “income share” model, which means that both parents’ incomes will factor into the overall child support payment. The guidelines themselves are complex, and there are many avenues for argument for increases or decreases in the support amount that can be exploited by skilled attorneys and parties. For that reason, it is essential that your counsel is not only well versed in the many factors that impact a child support amount, but also skilled in how to argue those factors in negotiations and to the court.
The attorneys of GEM have broad experience in arguing child support matters, especially in high-income cases, where the statutory guidelines offer less guidance and arguments for increasing or decreasing support amounts become critical.