By David Walker, Attorney at Law
Our office has handled divorce cases for over 30 years. There are, of course, many common issues in these cases. Here are some frequently asked questions answered for you.
When is a divorce uncontested? Only when the parties sign a written agreement that settles all the issues. An uncontested divorce consists of the filing of a divorce petition and related papers, and the filing of a written, signed settlement agreement. Then, the judge must sign a decree of divorce that approves the agreement.
What is a contested divorce? Every divorce is contested until the settlement agreement is signed, filed, and approved by the judge to whom the case is assigned.
Is a prenuptial agreement legal? Yes, if it is properly written, signed by both parties, without coercion, and with a full disclosure of assets, these agreements are valid. Likewise, postnuptial agreements are now legal.
How is child support calculated? The gross incomes of the parties are totaled for a combined family income. A child support worksheet is used to calculate the amount of support from this total income and the number of children involved. The noncustodial parent will pay his or her proportionate share to the other as child support.
How are attorney fees set? Most attorneys bill by the hour because it is generally impossible to estimate how long a given divorce case will take. Some attorneys advertise flat fees for an uncontested divorce. Often these fees sound very low. Many have extra charges for the agreement, decree, court appearance, etc. Most of the time an advertisement for a “$495 divorce” may omit important features. A person should ask detailed questions about what is included.
Why can divorce cases become expensive? To settle a divorce case, both parties have to agree on all issues, and sign a written agreement covering all of the issues of division of property, debts, child custody, visitation, etc. Negotiation can become detailed and time consuming. Both parties must agree to settle a divorce case. In the absence of a settlement, a court hearing is necessary. Extra expenses can occur such as court reporters for depositions or guardians ad litem for minor children.
A negotiated settlement affords more control than going to court, where the final decision lies with a judge. Often a settlement is less expensive than a court hearing. However, if an agreement cannot be reached through mediation or negotiation, we will vigorously defend our clients’ interests in court to ensure a fair outcome.
David S. Walker, Attorney at Law
David Sinclair Walker, Jr. P.C.
Stone Mountain GA 30087
•North Gwinnett Office: 6340 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 200, Duluth GA 30097
•South Gwinnett Office: 2330 Scenic Highway, Snellville GA 30078
Telephone 770-972-3803; Facsimile 770-921-7418 email firstname.lastname@example.org
-Admitted in GA and D.C. -UGA Law ’76 -Certified Mediator -Georgia Bar No. 731725770) 972-3803 or visit http://www.walker-law-firm.com/