Should I File Now? - When You Should File Your Georgia Divorce Immediately
Sometimes you need to file an action immediately. This should be carefully considered but includes the following situations:
Family Violence. If you are honestly afraid of your spouse, and if there has been an act of family violence (an incident involving credible verbal threats of physical abuse – the raised fist - actual shoving, slapping or hitting, trespassing, the stealing of valuable separate property, etc.), you should promptly file for a temporary restraining order. This is a separate action from a divorce. See Temporary Protective Orders.
Powder Keg. Where there has not yet been an act of family violence but tensions are high, and the aggressor spouse has refused to move out of the marital residence, you should file. To get the spouse out, unless you can obtain a Temporary Protective Order, a motion for exclusive possession will have to be filed with the divorce complaint. (Until there is a court order, either from a TPO or from a temporary hearing, both spouses have equal rights to remain in the marital residence.)
Contriving Spouse. Where the client is concerned the spouse is planning a divorce and is moving marital assets or is planning an unannounced move with the children out of state, the client needs the immediate protection of the Court’s standing order that prohibits such assets and/or children from being moved. There is no standing order until an action is filed.
Substance Abuse. Where children are involved, and where the client is dealing with a spouse with a serious drinking or drug problem, a contested action should be considered. By initiating a filing, pressure in the form of an emergency motion for an alcohol and drug screen can be filed. In some cases, this can actually benefit the spouse suffering from an addiction.
Cutting off Support. Where the earning spouse is cutting off historic financial support of a spouse who is caring for the children, a divorce or a separate maintenance petition should be filed and a motion for temporary alimony, attorney fees and child support should be expedited.
Intense Custody Dispute. Where there is a hotly contested custody matter – where one spouse is seeking sole custody - the client believes the other spouse is a true danger to the children - and is certain that the parties will never agree on custody terms, a contested complaint and motion for temporary custody and support and possibly a motion to appoint a guardian ad litem should be filed.
Grossly Unreasonable Spouse. Where the client is married to a grossly unreasonable spouse and, because of this, pre-filing negotiations will be pointless, the client should go ahead and file.
Adultery by Spouse who May Seek Alimony. Where the client has discovered the adultery of a spouse who will likely claim alimony and is absolutely certain he or she wants to end the marriage, the client should go ahead and file. In this situation, the Roadmap steps can still be used but pre-filing negotiations should be limited. Under Georgia law, where the adultery of one spouse is the cause of the divorce and prevents reconcilliation, the cheating spouse is barred from alimony. O.C.G.A. section 19-6-1; See also, Anderson v. Anderson, 273 Ga. 886, 230 S.E.2nd 272 (1976). If the non-cheating spouse waits too long, he or she can be argued to have forgiven the affair.
If you think that you need to file your divorce immediately, please contact Mr. Hippe. He will gladly give you a phone consultation. However, he cannot give you specifc legal advice until you are a client.