This is a very common question that I get. Attorneys can be expensive and if you agree on everything, why get an attorney? I always advise people to get an attorney for a divorce if one of two things are true. The first is if you have minor children. The second is if you have any joint debts or joint assets, like a mortgage, house owned jointly, or cars owned jointly. Now, I know that one of these circumstances exists is most every divorce. But in these circumstances, there are some very good reasons to hire an attorney. I will discuss each situation below:
If you have minor children, you will want an attorney:
If you have minor children, I always recommend getting an attorney to draw up your divorce papers and agreement. The first reason is that drafting a workable parenting plan that fits the individual needs of your family can go a long way to help your children be happy and secure moving forward. Every family situation is different and a good parenting plan takes into consideration the unique aspects of the family and the children. I have drafted literally hundreds of parenting plans, and all of them are different. If you hire me to assist you, you will sit down with me (not my assistant) and we will discuss what would work best for you, your spouse and your children. Furthermore, there are specific issues that must be dealt with in every parenting plan before the divorce can be approved by the Judge.
The second big reason to get an attorney if you have children is that in Georgia, all divorces are required to comply with the Georgia child support statute (O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15). This statute is very confusing, and the requirements for meeting the statute are quite demanding. There are Child Support Worksheets that must be filled out properly and then there is specific language that must be included in the Final Divorce Decree and in any Agreements. Further, even if you are able to get the Judge to sign your paperwork, the fact remains that you may have cheated yourself out of thousands and thousands of dollars because the amount of child support was not calculated correctly.
If you have jointly owned assets or joint debt, you will want an attorney:
Division of marital property and marital debt is a vital aspect of any divorce. When you get a divorce, a big priority should be to remove any remaining financial entanglements between you and your spouse. So, for instance, if you purchased a car that is titled in both names and the debt on the car is in both names, you will want to include very specific language for how to deal with that. I can include the proper language in the divorce agreement that best protects you in the future. This is even more vital when we start talking about homes and mortgages. Can one party refinance the debt and keep the home? If so, when and how should that be accomplished? Or should the home be sold? If the house is to be sold, what agreements need to be in place to make that process go smoothly. These issues can be very difficult to handle and the paperwork needs to be just right to provide for an orderly process moving forward.
Another note about equitable division of marital property: The concepts involved with joint assets and joint debts are complicated. Just because something was purchased under the name of one party does not mean it is not marital. And sometimes assets obtained during the marriage are not marital property. You should surely hire an attorney if you own a home together, if there are any other joint assets or joint debts, or if there are other significant assets and debts that you would question whether they are marital or not.
Do not hesitate to call 706-277-0606 if you are still unsure if you need an attorney for an uncontested divorce.
Over the years, I have seen countless situations where someone comes to me after their divorce is over and asks me to fix the problems with the paperwork. Some of these problems cannot be fixed (generally equitable division of property is final and cannot be modified later), and others are very difficult and expensive to fix. It is always preferable to handle these issue correctly the first time while the Divorce is going on.
If you would prefer to set an appointment for an uncontested divorce, you can CLICK HERE to set an appointment online.
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