Do I Need an Attorney for an Uncontested Divorce? How Does Having Children Impact My Decision?Written on February 12, 2015
An uncontested divorce is when two spouses can reach a mutual agreement outside of trial. It is an effective way to save money and avoid excess expenses if you and your spouse can agree on three major areas:
- Finances, including alimony and child support
- Division of property, including assets and debts
- A parenting plan for child custody and child visitation, including schedules and rules.
Negotiating a settlement is just one step in a lengthy process. Once an agreement is reached, it still must be presented to a judge as a settlement agreement, and if approved, it will be made an order of the court, called a final judgment and decree.
Be aware that in Georgia, should you proceed with a contested divorce, child custody arrangements are always decided by a judge. The court may award joint custody or sole custody, and will consider the child’s choice of which parent to live with provided that he or she is at least 14 years old. In either case, both parents are expected to have continued relationships with the child; therefore, the parent without custody is granted parenting time rights.
While it’s not technically required to have an attorney for a divorce in Georgia, proceeding without one is not a wise decision. On any list of top life stressors, divorce rates in the top three, because divorce affects every facet of life: your daily and future financial situation, your dwelling place, and perhaps most importantly, the amount of time you spend with your children.
There is often intense sadness, anger, loneliness and fear with a divorce. There may be depression or anxiety resulting from trust issues. Making decisions that impact you and your family’s entire future during such physical and emotional turmoil is not always a wise thing to do. Trying to navigate this all alone would be like sailing through a hurricane without a seaworthy captain at the helm.
It is always recommended that you consult with an attorney before entering any agreements with your spouse. At The Silverbach Group, our experienced attorneys can guide you through all of your legal rights and obligations, including the development of a parenting plan to submit to the court. These plans must including the following, among other things:
- Where a child will reside on each day of the year (including holidays and birthdays), transportation arrangements, and supervision details (if required).
- How decision-making authority will be divided with regard to the child’s health, religious upbringing, education, and enrichment activities; and how disputes will be settled.
Finally, calculating child support can be a complex task. Georgia Child Support Commission provides downloadable worksheets, and a new version of which was released January 6, 2015, at http://www.georgiacourts.org/csc/.
Having the legal assistance of The Silverbach Group will help to protect you while solidifying final decisions and help make one of life’s most traumatic events as simple as possible.