North Atlanta Divorce Lawyer

Enlist the Advocacy of an Experienced Atlanta Law Firm

Going through divorce is hard, and facing an uncertain future is scary and overwhelming. We can help provide you the certainty and direction you are looking for. You are probably wondering:

  • What should I expect?
  • How long will it take?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What will happen to my lifestyle?
  • What will happen with my children?

At Brenner Law Group, LLC, we understand how difficult the divorce process can be, but it is our goal to make the process as smooth as possible for you and your family. Attorney Emily Brenner has more than 30 years of legal experience, and is seasoned in handling both simple and complex divorce cases.

Learn how she can assist you in a free, 30-minute introductory phone consultation – call (404) 418-4006.

Attorney Emily Brenner: Guiding You Through the Legal Process

Sandy Springs divorce attorney Emily Brenner recognizes that every family is unique and that you need answers that consider your specific circumstances. The first questions we ask are, “What would a win look like to you? What are your priorities?”

Once we know the answers to these questions, our team makes a preliminary assessment of the facts of your case so that we can determine a strategy. Depending on your circumstances, there may be steps we recommend you take before filing for divorce, particularly where complex assets are involved or where protective measures are called for.

Remember, the steps you take in the beginning can have a major impact on the outcome of your divorce case. Understanding the different aspects of divorce will prepare you for the divorce process. Below we’ve provided useful information to help you understand the basics of the Georgia divorce process, but this information is in no way intended to be a comprehensive guide.

The Four Issues of Divorce That Must Be Decided

In Georgia, there are four issues that must be decided before a final decree of divorce can be issued:

  • Child custody*
  • Child support*
  • Alimony, and
  • Property division

* only if you have minor or dependent children

A Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce will only be granted after all issues have been decided either by agreement of the parties or by trial before a judge or jury. Our skilled family lawyer in Sandy Springs can help you find resolutions to these issues and any others that arise during your case.

Uncontested Divorce Cases

Some divorce cases are completely uncontested. That means that the divorce is sought on no-fault grounds (irretrievably broken with no hope of reconciliation) and the parties have agreed on all issues.

Assuming that everything is really uncontested, all the paperwork, schedules, and agreements can be filed with the Court and the divorce can be finalized 31 days after the papers are served. It is often not necessary for both parties to appear in court to settle an uncontested Decree.

Before entering into a settlement agreement in an uncontested divorce, it is important to make completely sure that your agreement is well-written. Unfortunately, we have seen many cases that were supposedly uncontested wind up in court later on because the agreement is either ambiguous or silent on an important point. If you and your spouse are pursuing an uncontested divorce, call Brenner Law Group, LLC to learn how we can help with your divorce agreement.

Contested Divorce Cases

Contested divorce cases can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to resolve. A seasoned divorce attorney can help you understand and prepare for each stage of a contested divorce. The procedural flow of the case is set out by law, and in general goes as follows:

The Complaint (Petition)

All divorces start by filing formal papers known as the "Complaint," or the Petition for Divorce, in the Superior Court of the couple's jurisdiction. The complaint sets out your issues with regard to ending the marriage, as well as child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, personal and real property division, division of debt, and any applicable attorney fees.

When the complaint is filed, the Court generally issues a standing order prohibiting you or your spouse from making any major changes to your assets or debts, or removing your children from the jurisdiction of the Court.

The sheriff or a private process server will serve a copy of the complaint on your spouse. After a complaint has been served, your spouse files documents in response, denying or admitting every paragraph in the complaint. In the State of Georgia, you have 30 days from when you were served or acknowledged service to file your answer.

Temporary Orders

Divorces can take months and even years to resolve. It can take time to learn about all the assets and debts, and to develop the evidence you will need to properly present your case. The law anticipates that the parties may have interim needs that must be addressed on a temporary basis, like parenting and support issues. For just that reason, either party can request a hearing to seek temporary relief.

Discovery

“Discovery” is the legal word for fact-finding and developing the evidentiary basis for presenting your case and/or challenging your spouse’s case in court. The law provides us with a way to ask written questions and ask for documents, requiring responses under oath. Sometimes an attorney will elect to ask questions and review documents in front of a court reporter so that all communication is documented.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (Mediation, Arbitration, Settlement Negotiation)

Once our firm has the information we need, we will meet with you to review your expectations. The financial and emotional costs of going to a trial should be weighed against the realistic expectations of what could be won or lost at a trial.

It is often beneficial to see if we can resolve the case between the parties without having to go to a hearing. In fact, most judges require divorcing spouses to take this step. It’s important to understand that negotiation is every bit as much an art as is trying a case, so you want an attorney who is experienced in negotiating divorce and family law cases.

Even if you have an uncontested divorce, or even if you think that you have worked everything out, you should not sign any papers without having a skilled divorce attorney review the documents with you to make sure you are protected and that you are truly getting or giving what you think you are getting or giving.

Sometimes the option that seems cheap is very, very expensive in the long run. Too often, people wind up litigating over terms in sloppy settlement agreements, and it can cost more than if things were done correctly in the first place. We encourage you to make sure that your settlement agreements are handled by an experienced divorce lawyer like Emily Brenner.

Trial

If you can’t settle your case, the next step is a trial. The trial may be in front of a judge only, or either party may ask for a trial by jury.

If one of you asks for a jury trial, the judge alone will first determine the issues of child custody and visitation. The jury then decides the financial issues of the case (property division, debt allocation, child support, and alimony). After the jury trial, the judge alone will decide whether to award attorney fees.

At Brenner Law Group, we are always open to settling your case if that is in your best interest, but we prepare all our cases as though they are going to trial. Our team gathers all evidence that would be needed for trial so that we can make the best possible case for our clients. We have found that by always being prepared to go to trial, our clients are able to negotiate from a position of strength.

Appeal

Appeals are uncommon in divorce cases because the judge has very wide discretion in deciding your case. If you have gone through a divorce and are thinking of appealing the judgment, get in touch with our Sandy Springs divorce firm immediately. We can evaluate your situation and determine your legal options to pursue an appeal.

Are You Filing in Fulton County?

It’s important to know that Fulton County is the only county in Georgia with a separate family court. The Family Court Division has set up specific administrative procedures that must be followed in divorce cases in Fulton County.

Contact Brenner Law Group Today

At Brenner Law Group, divorce and family law is all we do – and we do it really well. Ms. Brenner has more than 30 years of experience in divorce and family law, holds a Master’s degree in counseling psychology, is trained in the mediation of high-conflict cases, and was the 14th woman in the United States to be accepted to the National Board of Trial Advocacy (1990). When you choose Brenner Law Group you can be confident that you will be represented by an attorney who knows the ins and outs of divorce in Georgia.

If you are contemplating a divorce, have been served with divorce papers, or need a Sandy Springs divorce lawyer at any stage in the process, call us at (404) 418-4006 or e-mail us to schedule a consultation.

Leave Your Family Law Matters to a Strong & Skilled Attorney.

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