Saturday, March 24, 2012

What Is A Temporary Hearing?

A temporary hearing is unique to family law. It is not a full trial, but a quick hearing with the judge. The temporary hearing can be held in open court or in the judge’s chambers. The purpose of this hearing is to determine what will happen while a divorce is pending. A temporary hearing can address:

  • Where the parties will live
  • Who will stay in the martial home
  • Who is responsible for covering bills
  • Who will keep which vehicle
  • Will there be alimony
  • Will one party pay the other’s attorney’s fees
  • Who the children will live with
  • When the other parent will have visitation with the children
  • What amount of child support will be paid
During a temporary hearing, both attorneys present a brief overview of the case, call witnesses to the stand, and argue their case to the judge. There is no jury involved in a temporary hearing, although there may be other parties in the Courtroom. The temporary hearing is limited to two live witnesses, the party and one other; however, affidavits are often submitted and used in temporary hearings. Affidavits are sworn statements by others who have information related to the divorce.

A temporary hearing is brief; it is not a time to bring up the details of everything involved in a divorce, but rather a time to give an overview of the important points to the judge. Again, the purpose of the hearing is for the judge to make a decision regarding temporary issues while the final divorce is pending. 

After a temporary hearing, the judge will issue a temporary order that will be in effect until a final divorce is granted. In Georgia, the temporary order does not dictate the final order. A temporary hearing and a final hearing are not governed by the same rules of law; however, it is important to be fully prepared for the temporary hearing because the tone of the hearing may set the course for a divorce proceeding.

If you have a temporary hearing scheduled it is recommended that you have legal guidance. Call The Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC at 770-466-2700 to set-up your free initial consultation.

Information on Gwinnett and Walton Counties Parenting Seminar

Under Georgia law, both parents of children under the age of 18 years old in a divorce, separate maintenance, paternity, change of custody, visitation, legitimation, and any other domestic action, are required to attend a parenting seminar. Uniform Superior Court Rule 24.8. The divorcing parent’s seminar “focuses on the developmental needs of children, with emphasis on fostering the child’s emotional health during periods of stress.” Gwinnett Courts Parenting Seminar The seminar must be completed within 31 days of the original complaint and should be attended in the County which the action was filed. Certificates will be issued after completing the seminar.

If a parent cannot attend the class in the County the divorce was filed, they should contact their county superior court and see if their county holds an acceptable parenting seminar. Since the seminar is mandatory in Georgia there are many classes available to suit parent’s schedules.

The Gwinnett County Divorcing Parent’s Seminar

  • Pre-registration is required, online registration available
  • Held at Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center: 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville, Georgia, 30046, Conference Room A west wing, second floor
  • Three Thursdays a month in the morning 9:00a.m. - 1:00 p.m., and one Thursday a month in the evening 5:00p.m.- 9:00p.m.
  • Parties can attend on any day
  • Cost $30, cash or money order
  • Additional information Gwinnett Courts Parenting Seminar
The Walton County Parenting Class
  • Divorce must be filed before attending class
  • Pre-registration is required
  • Held at Social Circle Public Safety Building:138 E. Hightower Trail Social Circle, Georgia, 30025, Community Room
  • Two Thursday a month in the evening 6:30p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
  • Plaintiff to attend the second Thursday of the month, Defendant to attend third Thursday of the month
  • Cost $25, cash or money order
  • Additional information Walton County Parenting Class

My Spouse Left Months Ago, What Do I Do?

If your spouse has been away from your marriage, you should consult an attorney to protect your legal interests. People sometimes ask if they can have a divorce based on the fact that their spouse has left them. The simple answer is yes, but it may be difficult to prove.

In Georgia there are 13 grounds for divorce, 12 of which are fault grounds, meaning that the divorce is the result of one spouse’s behavior. O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3 Desertion is the willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for one year. GA Bar. In order to have a fault divorce based on desertion, you must show that your spouse has been away from your marriage for 12 consecutive months and that they were away willfully.

This reason for divorce is not common because most people obtain a legal separation of divorce prior to a year long separation. Additionally, if spouses have been apart for a year they have likely already separated their assets and debts and an uncontested, or no-fault, divorce may be easier, quicker, and more efficient.

If your spouse has left your marriage contact our office to discuss your options for separation or divorce. 770.466.2700

What is Alimony?

Many people have heard the word alimony but aren’t sure exactly what it is. When a couple is divorcing their once shared assets are divided up and that may include a sudden decrease in previously shared income for one spouse. Alimony can be appropriate in any divorce where one spouse earns less than the other and they are in need of financial support during a divorce. “Alimony is payment by one spouse to the other for support and maintenance.” GA Bar.

Alimony is either ordered as temporary or permanent. Temporary alimony is ordered in the amount needed to keep things as they are while the divorce is in process, while permanent alimony is awarded when the divorce is final for long-term support.

As with many issues in divorce, spouses can agree to the terms of the alimony on their own. Typically in uncontested divorces alimony is not seen, but if the parties agree otherwise, it can certainly be part of their final divorce.

If the parties cannot agree on alimony, and one party is requesting it, then Georgia Courts award alimony according to the needs of the spouse. “The judge shall consider the peculiar necessities created for each party by the pending litigation.” O.C.G.A. § 19-6-3. The judge has broad discretion when ordering alimony, in fact, there is no set formula in Georgia to determine the amount of alimony.

Finally, alimony is barred if the reason for divorce is the requesting party’s adultery. O.C.G.A. 19-6-1.

If you are considering divorce but concerned about your finances, alimony may be the solution. Call the Law Office of Christine M Bechtold, LLC for your initial consultation. 770.466.2700