If you live in Dunwoody Georgia and may be getting a divorce, here is some info you can use.

Dunwoody divorce lawyer DeKalb County

Most of Dunwoody is in DeKalb County Georgia.  DeKalb County does not have a Family Court; Dunwoody divorce cases for residents of DeKalb County are filed in the DeKalb Superior Court which is in the courthouse in downtown Decatur.  For that small portion of Dunwoody that is in Fulton County, the case would be filed in Fulton Superior Family Court.

If the parties have already separated at the time of filing the divorce case, it matters where each party lives.  For example, if you and your spouse reside in Dunwoody DeKalb but then your spouse moves out and is residing in Sandy Springs (Fulton County), then it is possible you will have to file your divorce case in Fulton County.  The general rule is that the case must be filed in the county of residence of the Defendant unless the Defendant “acknowledges service” and consents for the case to be filed in the Plaintiff’s county of residence.  Sometimes you will have a choice of which county to file your divorce case in, and your Dunwoody divorce lawyer can help you decide which is the best choice for you.  DeKalb and Fulton County divorce case procedures are quite different because Fulton County has the family court structure and DeKalb County does not.  While the procedures are different, the law is the same in both jurisdictions.

Dunwoody divorce lawyer mediation

Whether you and your Dunwoody divorce lawyer wind up in DeKalb County or Fulton County,  your case will likely be required to go to mediation before you have a hearing in front of a judge.  (There are exceptions to this, for emergencies and in cases of family violence.)   Mediation of your Dunwoody divorce gives you and your spouse an opportunity to try to resolve the case with assistance of a neutral third party, the mediator.  The mediator does not have authority to make decisions about your case, but is experienced in helping parties resolve their Dunwoody divorce case by agreement.  Most often, if the parties are represented by lawyers, the lawyers go to mediation with the clients to provide advice and assistance.

Trials versus settlement

Dunwoody divorce lawyers, like divorce lawyers everywhere, resolve most of their cases by agreement.  Trials are very expensive and are usually destructive to the parties from an emotional standpoint.  Trials usually require months of waiting and do not usually bring the client the validation or emotional payoff they were seeking.  The judge’s decision can be unpredictable and can leave both parties dissatisfied.  If you and your spouse wish to resolve your case as amicably and inexpensively as possible, it is possible to do so with the assistance of a qualified Dunwoody divorce lawyer.  For an early and inexpensive resolution of your case, it will be important for the two parties to be transparent about financial matters, income, assets, and expenses.  “Game playing” must be off the table for a truly uncontested divorce.

Do both sides need an attorney?

Many Dunwoody divorce clients want to know whether both parties have to have lawyers.  The ethical rule governing lawyers is that a divorce lawyer can represent only one side of the divorce case, because the two divorcing parties have conflicts of interest.  Your Dunwoody divorce lawyer cannot represent both sides of your case!  However, many times one party is represented by a Dunwoody divorce lawyer who draws up the paperwork for the uncontested divorce.  The other party simply takes the draft paperwork to an attorney of his or her choosing to review and make sure that it is acceptable from that side’s point of view.

Uncontested Dunwoody divorce

An uncontested Dunwoody divorce must resolve all issues of the marriage in the settlement agreement, including issues such as child custody, the parenting schedule, child support,  alimony, division of real property, personal property such as furniture, retirement accounts and other investments, and marital debt.  If you and your spouse discuss these matters before you retain a Dunwoody divorce lawyer to represent you, make sure that you do not “agree” to anything before you seek counsel.  An agreement between the parties can be enforceable even if it is oral, so you want to make sure that if you are in discussions about the issues, you always make clear that you are in preliminary discussions only.  Any notes you have should be marked “draft for discussion purposes only” or something similar.

More information

Dunwoody divorce lawyers Hindson & Melton LLC have many resources on our website that can help you become more informed about your Dunwoody divorce case.  Some clients prefer to read the information and articles available on our website, and others prefer to come in to the office and just talk about your case.

Do we represent more men or women?

Many potential clients ask whether our firm represents more men or women in divorce.  We represent an equal number of men and women in Dunwoody divorces.  Our goal is to work with our client to define and attain your objectives for your case.

The attorneys of Hindson & Melton LLC would be pleased to speak with you about the possibility of assisting with your Dunwoody divorce.  Contact Dunwoody divorce lawyers Karen Hindson or Joy Melton for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Divorce and Family law resources

Browse Divorce and Family Law articles