Initial Motions in a Contested Georgia Divorce

Below is a list of some common initial motions in contested actions. A motion is simply a request for the court to enter an order, which is binding law on the parties until amended by the trial court or vacated by a higher court.

  1. Motion For Exclusive Possession. A common initial motion is a motion for exclusive possession of the marital residence. Unless there is a court order, such as a temporary protective order, neither party is automatically entitled to live in the marital residence exclusive of the other spouse. One spouse can voluntarily agree to move out but cannot be forced out, until a court rules on the issue.  See Dealing with the Marital Residence in a Georgia Divorce

  2. Motion for Temp. Alimony and/or Child Support. If the parties are not living together, there will be a temporary order of support of some kind. For example, the noncustodial could be ordered to keep the historic bills at the marital residence current, the mortgage and utilities, which is common. Or, the noncustodial could be ordered to pay direct temporary alimony or child support until further order of the court.

  3. Motion for Attorney Fees. With the pending standing order that effectively “locks down” all marital retirement and investment accounts, the parties may need leave of court to sell assets to have resources to pay for their lawyers.  Or, if one spouse has significantly more income, then that spouse could be ordered to pay the attorney fees of both lawyers under O.C.G.A. 19-6-2 out of marital income or assets upon consideration of the respective financial circumstances of both parties, so there is an "even playing field".  It is a case by case assessment.  See, Attorney's fee Awards in a Georgia Divorce.  

  4. Motion for the Appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem. Guardians deserves an entire section. The Guardian is a separate individual, usually a lawyer, who will be appointed by the court to represent the child / children and make a custody recommendation. He or she will interview the parties and the children and witnesses and may report back to the judge via a written report. The guardian will usually make a custody recommendation in favor of one of the parties or he or she could remain neutral. The guardian is generally paid by the parties on an hourly rate like the lawyers. It is a significant expense. Some counties offer a public assistance guardian but most do not. The guardian is a party to the case, will appear in all court proceeding, and will testify at trial as to his or her recommendation. The court does not have to follow the recommendation but usually will. Fulton County Divorce Lawyer Russell Hippe will help you deal with the guardian. Once appointed, they are extremely powerful. Mr. Hippe has secured positive custody results in contested trials over the recommendation of the guardian, but these results are rare. The court will usually follow the custody recommendation of the guardian.

  5. Motions for Drug or Alcohol Screens. It is not uncommon for a party to want to secure a drug or alcohol screen of his or her spouse. These motions are commonly granted. A party can be ordered to appear at a lab within a certain period of time and take a hair follicle drug test. (Usually the courthouse has facilities to conduct a urine drug screen on site, and the court will order such screens upon proper motion). The guardian can ask for a drug test as well.

  6. Motion for Psychological Evaluations. The parties have the right to request a court order for the children and each or both spouses submit to a psychological custody evaluation or even a psychiatric evaluation.

  7. Discovery Motions. Parties can file any discovery motions that they need to secure information – such as motions for the forensic examination of computers – or to protect themselves from excessive discovery, such as motions for a protective order. Atlanta Divorce Attorney Russell Hippe has successfully asserted motions protecting the reputation and confidentiality of his clients who are ordered to submit to embarrassing tests and examinations in this process.