A divorce touches almost every aspect of your life, from your property and finances to how much time you will spend with your children. Your choice of an attorney to represent you during this crucial time is one of the most important decisions you will make.
At The Siemon Law Firm, we have dedicated our practice to helping our clients navigate all of the issues they encounter in divorce. Our lawyers do more than provide you with advice regarding your options. We negotiate effectively and litigate aggressively to help you reach your goals.
Providing Zealous Advocacy For The Most Complex Cases
We often represent people who have significant assets they need to protect, such as business owners, celebrities and professional athletes. We also handle high-conflict divorce cases, including those involving domestic violence and contested child custody. When you come to The Siemon Law Firm, you can count on knowledgeable attorneys, zealous advocacy and personalized attention.
Divorce for business owners and professionals: Doctors, lawyers, dentists and other professionals have special interests that must be protected in divorce, especially in an equitable distribution state such as Georgia.If you are a part owner or shareholder in your practice, some or all of your practice may be considered marital property. In a worst-case scenario, you may have to sell your practice or take out a loan to pay off your spouse for his or her interest.
Experienced Lawyers For Protection Of Property In Your High-Asset Divorce
Are valuable property and assets or business interests at stake in your Georgia divorce? You may have worked hard to build a successful career or business, supported a spouse's efforts to do so, inherited significant wealth or otherwise accumulated substantial assets. If so, it is essential to work with a trustworthy and financially savvy family law firm that will work just as hard as you do to help you get through your high-asset divorce in the best possible financial shape.
A divorce attorney at The Siemon Law Firm will get to know you and understand all of your goals. Our representation includes conducting a full assessment of your finances with emphasis on issues including:
- Asset valuation — Obtaining accurate, credible and well-documented valuations of your home and other real estate, a family business, professional practice, investment and retirement accounts, or other key assets
- Marital property — Working to clearly distinguish between marital assets — subject to equitable property division at the court's discretion under Georgia law — and assets that are yours alone because you brought them into the marriage or obtained them as personal gifts or by inheritance
- Concealed assets and income — Following up on, or defending against, any suspicion that one spouse is concealing assets or income by deploying our own internal resources and quality forensic accountants, private investigators, and other experts if necessary
- Strategy — Developing a solid strategy encompassing all financial aspects of your high-asset divorce, including child support, alimony/spousal support, future tax obligations and other pivotal factors
- Enforcing/contesting prenuptial agreements — Applying deep knowledge and experience to enforce or contest a prenuptial agreement in accordance with your best interests
Understanding Why Prenuptial Or Postnuptial Agreements Are Important
To fully protect your assets, you should consider a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement, except it is entered into after marriage. Even though a postnuptial agreement may be difficult to discuss with your spouse, it will be easier to discuss the issue now rather than during a divorce proceeding.Our lawyers can also advise you in ways to protect separate property assets without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Thinking About A Divorce? Things To Consider Before You File
Every spouse who is considering divorce should make sure that he or she has considered a few items before filing.
- Why hiring an attorney makes sense — Even if you believe your case will quickly settle or there is no way you would ever need an attorney — think again. We have seen time and time again clients who come to us, already in the process of a divorce but faced with an unexpected conflict. Having a divorce lawyer right from the start who understands your personal issues and the facts surrounding your case is only to your benefit and advantage.
- Settlement is most likely: While every divorce case is different and some may even have to go to litigation if it is that contentious, almost all divorce cases result in a settlement agreement. This is most beneficial to all parties involved as it is more efficient and cost-effective.
- Understand your spouse's and your family's finances — now: Especially when it comes to property division, having a clear understanding of where your assets and debts are before divorce proceedings start is very important. Even if you trust your spouse and believe things are amicable it is always better to be safe than sorry. There are situations of hidden assets — don't let that be yours.
- Build your credit: A credit score is the key to any person's financial future. Your spouse's credit score will no longer be yours to latch onto. Make sure that you have a good credit score or start building toward a better one immediately.
- Consider where you will live: While you should stay in your marital home until any decisions are actually made, it is a good idea to at least start thinking about where you would live if you do end up having to sell the marital home or move elsewhere.
Does It Matter Who Files First?
The person who files for divorce in Georgia is the plaintiff, and the person who receives the complaint is the defendant. If your spouse served you with a divorce complaint in Georgia, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to file an answer. The reason your spouse claimed for divorce (known as the grounds for divorce) can affect issues such as marital property division, child custody and alimony.
Considerations During Divorce
The following list provides more information about some of the issues that arise during the course of a divorce:
- Annulment: An annulment is typically sought by those who wish to end their marriage in a way other than divorce. While rare, Georgia law allows marriage to be annulled in certain circumstances.
- Divorce for men: Many men who have gone through a divorce feel that they are at a disadvantage or will somehow be prejudiced by the court because of their gender. Our lawyers have the experience required to stand up for your rights.
- Divorce for women: Women often have different goals in divorce than men. Many of the women we represent are concerned about protecting their future security and the security of their family.
- Grounds for divorce: Georgia is not a no-fault divorce state. For you and your spouse to obtain a divorce, you must choose one of 13 grounds. Evidence of infidelity can have a major impact on how the courts rule in a divorce case, and social media accounts are often a prime mine of such evidence.
- The use of private investigators: Private investigators may be used to conduct research on a spouse's activities. We regularly work with private investigators to help develop our clients' cases and defend their interests.
- Standing orders in divorce: When you file for divorce in Georgia, the court will issue automatic domestic standing orders that will apply to you and your spouse for as long as your case is pending.
Be Careful About How You Use Facebook And Social Media During Divorce
What you do or say online can be used against you in a divorce, especially in a fault grounds state such as Georgia. Facebook pages are an issue in almost a third of the divorce cases we handle at The Siemon Law Firm.
Today, many people take their own pictures and post them on their Facebook pages.Facebook and other social media sites, like Vine, Instagram and Snapchat, each outlet leaving a chronological trail of photographic or video evidence of infidelity. Texting and Twitter can also provide evidence of an extramarital affair.
Isn't My Facebook Account Private?
Many people assume that what they do or say online is private, protected by logins and personal passwords. When it comes to a divorce case, however, private information can quickly become part of a court record. Today it's routine for divorce attorneys to request Facebook login information as a part of discovery and to print pages from the person's account.
If your account contains evidence of an extramarital affair, your spouse can file for divorce using the fault ground of adultery. While a spouse's behavior will not affect a divorce settlement in many states, it can in Georgia:
- You are not entitled to alimony in Georgia if you committed adultery and that adultery is found to be the cause of the breakup of the marriage.
- If you were at fault for the breakup of the marriage, the judge can award your spouse a greater share of marital property.
- If you have children, your behavior can affect your child custody and visitation rights.
Online Information Is Not As Private As You Think
Although people tend to think of their online accounts as protected and private, the truth is that such "private" information can easily become part of an official court record. Deleting a post doesn't necessarily erase that post, as someone could have taken a screen shot while it was still up. This is true even for Snapchat, the app wherein the sent photo self-destructs after a number of seconds.
Even if you've blocked your spouse on social media, mutual friends could serve as a conduit of information, informing either party what the other has been posting. This information could significantly affect a divorce, if for example, one person is claiming to be broke, but then posts pictures of a lavish purchase or a trip with a new significant other.
If you are getting a divorce, it is important to exercise great care to make your posts as private as possible, and to refrain from posting anything on any site that you wouldn't want the whole world to see.
International Divorce In Georgia
Filing for divorce and resolving the many issues that arise in a divorce such as child custody and visitation, property division and alimony is complex in itself. However, when a divorce involves international issues, such as being married outside of the United States but seeking a divorce after living in the U.S., creates additional and complicated legal issues. That is why it is so imperative to spouses seeking an international divorce to make sure their attorney is knowledgeable, experienced and well-versed in international divorce issues.
Extensive Experience With International Divorce Matters
At The Siemon Law Firm, we have seasoned divorce attorneys who effectively handle not only domestic divorce matters but international divorce cases as well. We have represented clients in divorce cases in all different parts of the world. We serve a diverse clientele involving the following countries and many more:
- South Africa
- Great Britain
Guidance On A Vast Range Of International Legal Issues
With more and more U.S. citizens traveling and working outside of the country, it is not uncommon for couples to have a foreign wedding and then come back to the U.S. to work and live. Some couples may even continue their marriage in different countries, sharing their time between one or multiple countries. Whatever your specific international situation, we can help you with a vast range of legal issues, including:
- Jurisdictional conflicts
- International/foreign divorce
- International/foreign child custody and visitation
- International/foreign alimony
- International/foreign child support
- International/foreign property division
Jurisdiction: Where Do I File For Divorce In Georgia?
Determining where to file for divorce is complicated. Any number of factors can determine the correct jurisdiction, depending on the type of action you are filing. Here are a few examples:
- If you separate and your spouse moves two counties over, you must file in the state and county in which the marital residence was located. However, if your spouse stays in the other county for more than six months, you may have to file a suit in that county.
- In child custody cases, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) determines the jurisdiction.
- If you get divorced in Georgia, then you move to Texas and your ex-spouse moves to New York the UCCJEA will determine jurisdiction.
The bottom line is that you need to discuss your particular situation with a lawyer. Because the correct jurisdiction is dependent on so many factors, it takes an attorney with dedicated experience in family law to advise you best.
What Happens If I File In The Wrong Jurisdiction?
If you attempt to file in the wrong county or state, the clerk's office may realize the error and not accept your complaint for divorce. Or, the clerk's office may not notice, which means you may become deeply involved in the divorce proceedings before a competent lawyer gets involved and realizes the court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case. This can result in the case being dismissed after you have already invested a significant amount of time and money into it.
In the worst scenario, you could end up with a divorce decree that is unenforceable. Five years down the road you may discover that the decree can be set aside as invalid.
Uncontested Divorce In Georgia
The litigated approach to divorce is expensive. The cost of a lengthy dispute over assets or child custody can quickly exhaust badly needed assets. If you and your spouse can come to an agreement on all the issues in a divorce, you can obtain an uncontested divorce. Our lawyers can prepare a settlement agreement that will work for both parties.
The value of having an experienced divorce attorney represent you in an uncontested divorce comes from our in-depth understanding of the challenges that might come up in the future. Our lawyers will work to resolve those issues now through the settlement agreement while both parties are agreeable and ready to work together.
The completion of an uncontested divorce can be a straightforward process. However, preparing your own legal documents can result in costly mistakes that you will be unable to correct later. Our lawyers will help you avoid those mistakes by completing all of the legal documents that you need to dissolve your marriage and move on with your life.
Lawyer Access For Those Who Can't Afford A Retained Attorney
One option for couples who want to handle their own divorce without a retained attorney is the lawyer access project. The lawyer access project enables you to utilize our attorneys to draft the necessary legal documents and talk to an associate attorney to answer questions, such as modifications.
Ready To Speak With An Attorney? Call Us.
Whether you are considering divorce, are ready to act or have been compelled to respond, our attorneys have the knowledge and resources to help answer all of your divorce-related questions.
Call 770-884-7067 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also contact us online. We offer convenient office locations in Alpharetta, Atlanta and Cumming, Georgia.