Family law can be a complex area of the legal system. If you are preparing for marriage, facing divorce, or dealing with a child custody dispute, you may have family law questions. Here are some of the most common questions and answers about Georgia family law:

Q: What is a legal marriage?

A: A legal marriage is a civil contract between partners that has been licensed by the state and then formalized in a civil or religious ceremony.

Q: What legal rights does a married couple have?

A: Married couples enjoy several rights and protections under the law. Spouses are entitled to share in property and assets acquired during the marriage. They are also entitled to receive insurance, pension, Social Security, veterans, disability, and unemployment benefits. Spouses who are not citizens cannot be deported from the country. Spouses are also considered immediate family with access to restricted areas such as intensive care units in hospitals and jails.  There are also several tax benefits available to married couples.

Q: What is a legal divorce?

A: A divorce is a judicially sanctioned termination of a marriage contract between two individuals. The court divides the spouses’ assets and liabilities. If there are children involved, then the court will decide on the custody and visitation arrangement. A divorce gives each person the legal right to marry someone else. Georgia has thirteen grounds for divorce – twelve fault and one no-fault.

Q: What are the grounds for divorce? 

A: Fault grounds hold one spouse responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. Fault grounds for divorce include adultery, abandonment, alcohol or drug abuse, physical or mental cruelty, and insanity. The no-fault ground for divorce recognizes the marriage is irretrievably broken. Most divorces in Georgia are no-fault divorces. If there are no issues surrounding the division of assets and debts, or child custody, then no-fault divorces usually take less time to be finalized.

Q: How is child custody and visitation decided? 

A: Child custody and visitation can be negotiated through divorce attorneys and included in a final settlement. If the parents cannot agree on child custody, then the court will evaluate what is in the best interests of the child. The court will consider the age of the child, the mental and physical health of the parents, and the level of involvement in the child’s life. The court will also factor in evidence of current or prior history of drug addiction, child abuse, or family violence.

Q: How is child support determined?

A: The court will evaluate the material needs of the child and the ability of each parent to provide financial support. The court will also consider the standard of living the child was accustomed to prior to the divorce.

If you have questions about family law, contact Sauls Law Group or call us at (770) 212-9168. We are family law experts who can help you navigate divorce, asset protection, and child custody issues.