Divorce and Legal Separation Lawyer
Kip Shepherd has handled Lawrenceville GA divorce cases for over 24 years. Many divorces can be settled through mediation. However, if one spouse is not being cooperative, it is necessary to appear before a Judge. Kip Shepherd has the experience to settle those cases which can be settled and aggressively litigate the cases which need to be litigated. Uncontested divorces in Gwinnett County take from 45-60 days from the date the divorce is filed. Legal separation is handled similar to a divorce. The primary difference is the parties cannot remarry.
Typically alimony is owed if one spouse makes more than double that of another spouse. The amount depends upon the spouse’s relative income. The length of alimony depends on the length of the marriage. Alimony is particularly awarded in instances where one spouse stays at home to raise the children and thus gives up opportunities to advance a working career.
Equitable property division is usually 50/50 including any retirement/pension accumulated during the marriage. Be aware of the balances on retirement and credit cards when divorce becomes an issue. It is not uncommon for a spouse to charge attorney fees to a joint credit card or borrow from retirement under the theory that the spouse is paying half anyway.
Child Support is awarded pursuant to the child support worksheets. The payer should ensure that child support is reduced as each child turns 18 or graduates high school. Child support is paid until the child is 18 or graduates high school but not later than 20 years of age. Frequently a child will graduate several months after his/her 18th birthday.
The income tax exemption for children goes to the parent the children live with for the majority of the year. The parent entitled to the exemption can agree to allow the other parent to have the exemption due to child support/income disparities, etc.
If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the Court will hold a hearing 45-60 days after filing. This is called a temporary hearing. The Judge decides, on a temporary basis, who gets custody, visitation, child support, who gets marital home place and, sometimes, who pays ongoing debt. After the temporary hearing the parties usually schedule mediation. 90% of divorces settle at this mediation. If the case does not settle at mediation it is usually 6 months or longer before the case is resolved.
Debts usually go with the items associated with the debt. For example, if you get the TV you have to take the payment with it. If you get the car, you get the payment as well.