– divorce

Divorce in Georgia

At The Thomann Law Firm, we will help you navigate the dissolution of marriage process, while focusing on long and short term goals.  We will help you transition into the next stage of your life while protecting your rights.

DivorceDivorce (also known as dissolution of marriage) refers to a legal termination of a marriage/marital relationship. Alpharetta family law attorneys handle the divorce process with each estranged spouse retaining his or her own counsel. A number of issues, ranging from child custody to division of property, must be addressed in a divorce Georgia.

While divorce is common throughout the United States, the couple’s situations are different, and therefore, the divorce processes vary. The divorce for short-term marriages without property or children usually are less complex and time-consuming than a divorce for long-term marriages with minor children, significant property entanglements, and marital debt

Furthermore, divorcing couples who decide to work together to negotiate the terms of their divorce (child support, child custody, debt collection, spousal support, and property division) will experience less stressful and less expensive divorce than couples who refuse to work together or can’t agree. Talk to our Alpharetta divorce attorney to figure out your options if you’re going through a divorce.

While hiring a lawyer who has vast experience in economic and other interests in a divorce is important, finding an attorney with whom you feel comfortable working with at a personal level is essential. Besides the legal expertise, divorce requires delicate people skills, compassion, and great understanding, as it is an intensely emotional process.

Completing a divorce without the help of a lawyer may suit some limited cases, as long as neither party has legal representation, and there are no minor children involved. However, most divorces, especially those involving complicated property issues and/or dependent children, go more favorably with the counsel of an Alpharetta family law attorney. Also, it is always wise to hire a lawyer if your estranged spouse has one.

If you are thinking of ending your marriage, here are the basic concepts of divorce that you should first familiarize yourself with.

Terms to Know

  • Custody: Having rights to your child. Child custody can either be physical, which means that the child lives with you, and you raise him or her, or legal, which means you have a right to make critical decisions about the welfare of your child.
  • Prenuptial Agreement: An agreement that a man and a woman can make before marriage in which they give up future rights to each other’s property in the event of death or divorce.
  • Stipulation: The divorcing spouses can enter into an agreement to settle the issues between them and is often entered into the court’s final judgment or order and decree.


Grounds for Divorce

Divorce “grounds” are the legal reasons on which you are requesting the court to end your marriage. Grounds fall into two categories: fault-based and no-fault.

Fault-based grounds are those that require you to prove something wrong that your spouse did to warrant a divorce. Extreme cruelty (physical or mental), desertion, and adultery are some of the common grounds in this category.

Today, filing for a fault-based divorce provides limited benefits. However, if you live in a state that views fault as a factor in the division of marital property or determining alimony, it is something to consider.

The “irreconcilable differences” or the “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” forms the basis for a no-fault divorce. In other words, it means that you and your spouse cannot get along anymore, and there is no reasonable prospect that you will reconcile.

Due to various reasons, most divorces have adopted no-fault as an avenue of choice. Usually, there is less tension and anxiety during the divorce process because you do not need to prove your spouse did something wrong.

This is quite beneficial, especially if there are minor children involved. Further, the divorce may move more quickly when you do not have to fight about the fault. Less arguing or disagreements almost always translates into lower legal fees.


Issues Involved in a Divorce

At its most basic, the divorce is a legal process that terminates a legal and financial relationship between two parties. However, every divorce is unique, and things like division of property or child custody create disputes in most divorces.

Here are the common issues our family law attorney Alpharetta at The Thomann Law Firm can deal with on your behalf:

  • Division of Property– Any property that either spouse acquired after marriage is considered “marital property,” and it’s subject to equitable division.
  • Alimony/Spousal Support– A monthly payment that one spouse makes to another in accordance with a court order or a settlement agreement. The purpose of alimony is to correct any unfair economic effects of a divorce.
  • Child Support– A monthly payment that a noncustodial parent makes to a custodial parent to cater to the needs of the child.
  • Child Custody– When a family separates, the court and the parents must make decisions in the best interests for the minor children, including where they’ll live, and how to make decisions regarding their welfare. This is usually the most challenging part to deal with in divorce proceedings.


Divorce and Property Division

In most divorces, the couples divide property and debts. The general rule is that family courts divide the marital property of a couple – meaning the property acquired during the marriage. This would include assets, such as bank accounts, real estate, and so forth. The court will decide on property division in your divorce depending on whether you live in a “community property” state or an “equitable distribution” state.

Most states, including Georgia, have adopted the principle of equitable distribution. Therefore, a family court considers the facts of your case and divide the marital property between you and your spouse. Whatever the judge finds to be fair in your circumstances will determine the final judgment or order on property division. There is no guarantee that the couple will share the property equally.

In a community property state, the courts divide all marital assets equitably – on a 50-50 basis – unless some reason leads to deviation from this standard rule.

In both community property states and equitable distribution states, you will be allowed to keep any property that you own separately. Separate property generally includes any assets you acquired before marriage and some types of assets, such as gifts and inheritances, you may have acquired during the marriage. Once an asset is confirmed as “separate property,” you will own it exclusively, and will not be considered for division during the divorce.

However, you should remember that any separate property you commingled with joint (or community) property during the marriage will likely lose its protection status, and may be subject to division during your divorce. You can avoid this scenario by keeping your separate property in a personal account and/or ensure you keep all records of transactions involving your separate assets.

Divorce can be a very complex matter, so consider working with our Alpharetta family law attorney before proceeding.

Divorce and Real Estate

Proper division of real estate is one of the most complex and contested parts of any divorce due to the issues surrounding it, especially in the current real estate market. Issues often arise when a spouse with an “underwater” mortgage cannot agree on how to divide the debt. Couples may also face many problems when attempting to agree on how split the proceeds from the sale of their marital home or any other real property.

The division of marital property in a divorce can be a complex and difficult process. The division process becomes even more tenuous for all parties involved because real estate cannot be divided equally in most cases.

divorceOur accomplished Alpharetta divorce attorney at The Thomann Law Firm can provide you valuable insight and robust legal representation for real estate matters in your divorce. Our team of family law attorneys understands that many people value real estate, and therefore, we will work towards finding a positive outcome for you through mediation or litigation. Our lawyers have extensive experience handling real estate issues in divorce proceedings.

Issues You Could Face in a Divorce Involving Division of Real Estate

Divorcing couples who are real estate owners often face legal situations regarding:

  • Who will be responsible for the payment of the outstanding mortgages
  • The proper valuation of a commercial or residential property
  • Any side agreements not mentioned in the divorce decree
  • Short sales of properties
  • Joint residency

We Can Handle All Matters Involving Real Estate Division

You can trust our Alpharetta divorce attorney to help you in handling the issues that arise from real estate division during your divorce, including:

  • Mortgage modifications
  • Determining responsibility for mortgage payments
  • Short sales
  • Property transfers
  • Deeds instead of foreclosure

The Thomann Law Firm has been representing clients in divorce proceedings for more than 25 years, dealing with a wide range of legal issues related to real estate division Georgia. We take time to examine your case, listen to you, and develop an effective and efficient legal strategy to achieve a positive outcome for you! We have gained an excellent reputation for outstanding legal representation for our clients and a high success rate in divorce cases.


Divorce and Marital Debt

While you will experience significant emotional turmoil in your life during divorce, the financial challenges complicate the issue further. Most couples end up taking on joint credit card debt, joint car loans, and joint mortgages during the marriage. That debt must be divided during a divorce.

Depending on your state, divorce courts typically use two ways to divide marital debt:

Divorce and Marital DebtIn community property states, the courts consider that both spouses should share any debt burden incurred during the marriage, irrespective of whether the names of both spouses were on the debt.

The courts in other states, such as Missouri, divide marital debt equitably, so spouses will generally have to pay the debt they incurred only. If both spouses incurred the debt on a joint credit card or loan, then they will have to divide that debt during divorce. If one spouse incurred the debt alone without involving the other, he or she would take full responsibility for it in divorce.

Protecting Yourself Financially When Going Through Divorce

As your divorce progress, you should take several steps to protect yourself from ill-informed decisions of your soon-to-be-ex, such as going on a spending spree with a joint account or credit card before finalizing your divorce.

  • Cancel joint credit card(s)– Once you know your marriage is ending, it is crucial to close joint accounts or credit cards so that no one can run up any balances further.
  • Keep detailed records– If you haven’t closed some accounts when you decide to end your marriage, keep track of the charges you and spouse incurred separately. We advise you to run a credit report so that you find out exactly the accounts that are under your name. The court may want you to prove who racked up what debt.
  • File joint-debt documentation with the court early– It is essential to get the debt “on the record” earlier in the process as it will make it easier for you to prove who owes what.
  • Borrow money to pay off joint debt– You can take out personal loans to pay off your portions of the debt to get rid of joint debt, and you’re left with the portion in your name only. Having joint debt after finalizing your divorce can pose significant risks. For instance, the creditor can come after you to the entire debt amount if your ex fails to pay his or her portion, or even files for bankruptcy.
  • Build up your own credit– We advise you to go for a new credit card in your name only to start building up your credit.

Divorce can be complicated and messy, and it can be difficult to think clearly to make informed decisions when your life is turning upside down, and things may not be happening the way you want. However, you should keep a level head when it comes to financial matters so that it can be much easier for you to move on to the next chapter of your life after finalizing the divorce.

If you’re going through a divorce that involves marital debt, our divorce attorney Alpharetta at The Thomann Law Firm can help you navigate this delicate process. Contact us at 678-389-8581 or online.


Divorce and Retirement Savings

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (also known as a QDRO, pronounced “quad row”) can protect your rights.

DivorceNavigating divorce can be difficult emotionally and challenging financially. The division of property and assets that you and your spouse have accumulated during your marriage will present a considerable challenge that requires you to make informed decisions. Any rash decision or actions could result in an imbalance between the two of you after the division of property.

Most people own retirement savings, which is one of the largest and most valuable assets. That is why it’s a crucial issue in divorce proceedings. Determining how to divide retirement savings can be one of the most difficult parts of divorce, as it may have tax implications, and thus, most people often don’t handle it properly.

If you are planning to get a divorce or separation, you are legally entitled to part of your spouse’s pension plan or employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k), unless you had a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise. Likewise, if you have an employer-sponsored retirement account, your spouse is legally entitled to part of the balance as well.

However, if your spouse was the breadwinner, how do you ensure you get your share of his or her retirement account? How do you stop the employer of your spouse from paying out all of the benefits to your spouse or ex-spouse, leaving you with little or none? You need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to protect your interests under these circumstances.

What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?

A QDRO is a court judgment, order, or decree related to alimony, child support, or property rights that can direct how you will get your share of plan benefits from your spouse’s pension plan.

Unlike a marital settlement agreement, a QDRO gives you protection and guarantees since it allows for separation and withdrawal of funds in the retirement plan without penalty and depositing it to the retirement account of the non-employee spouse (typically an IRA) or creating provisions for payout.

Do not assume you have guaranteed rights to retirement just because your right to part of your spouse’s retirement funds is included in your divorce decree. That will be a big mistake!

However, it is essential to note that QDROs only apply to IRS tax-qualified plans that are covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (otherwise known as ERISA). They don’t apply to government or military pensions governed by other laws. You don’t need a QDRO to divide SEP or IRA assets.

Drafting a QDRO During Divorce

Only the Domestic Relations Orders approved by the court and the retirement plan’s Plan Administrator are the ones considered QUALIFIED. Your lawyer can often use standard QDRO forms for retirement plans to draft the wording of your QDRO.

Sometimes these are adequate, but you are eligible for a substantial share of your spouse’s retirement account, you may have to consider working with a family law attorney Alpharetta at The Thomann Law Firm who specializes in QDROs to ensure that your QDRO covers all of the related issues in your marital settlement agreement and protects your rights fully in a way that a generic QDRO form can’t.

Your attorney will need more time to do the research and paperwork if he or she isn’t experienced in QDROs, and as a result, it’ll cost you more in legal fees. Further, he or she could likely miss something important that could bring unnecessary costs.

The type of retirement plan in question is another essential factor in the drafting of a QDRO. Calculating defined contribution plan assets (like 401(k) plans) is easier than calculating defined benefit plan assets (like pensions) because defined benefit plan payments involve complex actuarial calculations and factors such as years of employment. If your spouse has such a plan, your attorney may not be able to determine your share of the plan assets and therefore, might have to hire an actuary to calculate it.

Your attorney should read the summary plan description of the retirement plan and other plan documents because QDRO’s terms shouldn’t contradict the terms of the plan. Defined contribution plans involve issues that are different from those related to defined benefit plans. For this reason, it helps to work with a specialist.


 Why Choose Us To Handle Your Divorce

If your marriage is almost coming to an end and you’re considering either a divorce or separation, it is in your best interest to consult an Alpharetta family law attorney at The Thomann Law Firm. Our experienced, reputable, dedicated, and professional divorce lawyer will guide you through the divorce process, advise you on your rights and responsibilities, as well as advise you on child support, alimony, child custody, property division, etc.

Our divorce attorney can also prepare a separation agreement for you and handles everything efficiently and effectively. Our lawyer will explain to you how domestic violence injunctions should your spouse threaten to assault, harass, or harm you or even attempt to take the child(ren) forcefully.

Going through a divorce can be emotional and complex, and you need an experienced attorney with whom you feel comfortable by your side, and who’ll protect your rights and future. You may choose to save your marriage, and our family law attorney can refer you to a marriage counselor.

However, if you believe that divorce is your best course of action, our Alpharetta divorce attorney is ready to help you through the necessary steps to end your marriage. He or she will advise you on obtaining a fair division of the marital property, receiving or paying spousal support, and obtaining the custody of your children.

Call us today at 678-389-8581 or contact us online to schedule a FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION with our family law attorney Alpharetta.

Practice Areas Of Expertise

Child Support

At the Thomann Law Firm, we understand child support laws and how to obtain desirable results in establishing new child support orders or modifying existing child support orders

Custody | Visitation

Long after a divorce is finalized, custody issues often continue to arise.  At The Thomann Law Firm, we focus on the children’s best interests when dealing with custody and visitation issues.


At The Thomann Law Firm, we will help you navigate the dissolution of marriage process, while focusing on long and short term goals.  We will help you transition into the next stage of your life while protecting your rights.

Domestic Violence

Are You a Victim of Domestic Violence?
The Thomann Law Firm is available to provide aggressive representation for victims of domestic violence.  If you have experienced abuse or threats of domestic violence, call us today for a consultation.

Property Division

Division of Property can be a stressful situation. At Thomann Family Law we recognize this and vow to make the process as stress free as possible by handling everything and keeping you informed, and up to date. We will make sure you are adequalty represented.

Alimony & Spousal Support

Spousal support—also known as alimony—is granted during a legally married couple’s separation or upon the finalization of a couple’s divorce.

Let's Work Together

As an experienced family law trials lawyer I represent you to the fullest capacity. Service area licensed in the state of Georgia. Nearby cities  we service Alpharetta, Cumming, Roswell, Marietta, Atlanta, Druid Hills, Gresham Park, Decatur, Hapeville, North Atlanta, North Decatur, Candler-MacAfee, North Druid Hills, Avondale Estates, Panthersville, Scottdale, Conley, College Park, Vinings, Belvedere Park, Clarkston, Forest Park, Chamblee, Lake City, Mableton, Smyrna, Tucker and surrounding area

  • Family Law
  • Divorce
  • Annulment
  • Uncontested Divorce
  • Alimony
  • Cohabitation Agreements
  • Collaborative Family Law
  • Divorce Mediation
  • Legal Separation Agreements
  • Marital Agreements
  • Marital Property Distribution
  • Domestic Violence
  • Name Changes
  • Paternity
  • Post Divorce Modification
  • Postnuptial Agreements
  • Premarital Agreements


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Atlanta Area Children of Divorce Seminars
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