DIVORCE IN GEORGIA: DOES IT MATTER WHO FILES FIRST?
It is not necessarily a good idea to rush to file for divorce, but there may be some benefits to filing first for those persons contemplating divorce. These benefits were outlined in the Forbes magazine recently and have been attracting a great deal of attention.
The benefits which are associated with the filing for divorce first includes:
- Being able to select the best professionals available.
- Additional time to prepare documentation.
- Reducing the possibility of the ex-spouse trying to hide assets.
In several instances, consulting an attorney before filing for divorce will result in time and money saved during the court process. Identifying the most suitable professionals can take some time. Additionally, along with a qualified divorce attorney, a therapist may be helpful in providing guidance through the experience, which can be quite emotional and traumatic. A divorce financial analyst is recommended when the situation involves a complex mix of assets.
Preparing Your Divorce Documents and Paperwork
As the team of experts is put in place, the necessary paperwork should be gathered in preparation for the finalization of the divorce. Several documents are required to ensure that the outcome of the divorce is a fair settlement.
These documents include:
- insurance papers
- tax returns
- estate plans and
- details on stocks and retirement plans.
Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders
The Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders, or ATROs provides protection for the assets throughout the divorce proceeding. An ATRO is a court order which protects the assets through the freezing of accounts. They prohibit either spouse from transferring any property rights, bank accounts or insurance documents, and from any change of beneficiary on insurance policies by a spouse.
The risk of any spouse being able to destroy assets to prevent access by the separating spouse is reduced through the use of ATROs. If you are the first to commence filing, then the protection begins before the other spouse is able to hide any assets.
The Divorce Petition
In Georgia, the filing process begins once a complaint is filed with the court. This document is referred to as the divorce petition and includes the reason for the divorce, a list of assets and details of the arrangements that will be made for any children that may be present in the marriage, according to family law. The petition is filed with the Superior Court, usually in the country of residence for the non-filing spouse.
There are 13 causes for divorce that are recognized in Georgia, with the majority of petitions stating the cause as the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Additionally, other causes which can serve as grounds for the granting of a divorce, include drug addiction and cruel treatment.
The process is not an easy one, whether it is the process of filing for a divorce or being in receipt of the divorce paperwork from a spouse. Contact an experienced family law attorney such as Georgia divorce attorney Diana Whipkey Young, if you need someone qualified to explain your legal options and also to ensure that your best interests are protected.