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Do I really need an attorney to get a divorce in Georgia?

| Oct 5, 2015 | Divorce |

Financial concerns top the list of worries for many people these days. Jobs are harder to find, promotions are harder to come by, college tuition is astronomical and the cost of living is not necessarily going down.

At times like this, the prospect of paying a divorce attorney with hourly fees to help you and your spouse divide your assets in half may not sound appealing – especially if you and your spouse know how you want to handle issues such as property division, child custody and support.

Do you really need to have an attorney?

The short answer is no. Georgia divorce laws do not require either party to have or even consult an attorney to obtain a divorce. As long as you complete the paperwork properly and meet all of the deadlines, you can handle the matter “pro se.”

The better question is, “Is a DIY divorce really a good idea?”

This question can’t be answered the same way for everyone. Listed below are a few more questions you should ask yourself:

  • Do you and your spouse disagree on any details?
  • Do you have complicated assets, like a home that is underwater, retirement accounts or a business?
  • Do you or your spouse earn significantly more than the other?
  • Is there a history of abuse or financial control?
  • Do you suspect your spouse may have made purchases you don’t know about?
  • Do you have children? If yes, do you agree on how they should be raised, do you know how you’d handle your spouse having a new romantic partner or do you anticipate wanting to travel for the holidays?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, a DIY divorce may not be in your best interests. Even if you and your spouse agree on all aspects, you have a simple marital estate and each spouse has equal bargaining power, are you willing to put in the time?

In order to obtain a valid divorce, you have to know what documents to file, when to file them and how to file them. You must also appear in court at the appropriate times and be ready for a family court judge to change the schedule.

As a legal blog, we’d be remiss to inform our readers that even when the circumstances are right and you have the time to do it right, you should still consult an attorney about your options or have them review your proposed settlement. Spending just a little money now could prevent mistakes that could prove very costly.

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