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What is the Best Time for a Divorce?

When the Kids are Older
Generally, kids will handle a divorce better if they can maturely handle it. Younger children typically will not handle the changes or relationship dynamics and the splitting of parents as well as older children. In addition if the children are younger it is more likely that parenting conflicts between the parents will be more prevalent and co-parenting will be more difficult. Younger children are less likely to want to transition during visitation and are more reliant on a steady care taker. As children mature they are less likely to have difficulties with the divorce. Younger children are also forced most times to mature faster to accommodate to changes resulting from the divorce. The age of the child may also need to be taken into consideration when additional issues exist; such as, child abuse, child neglect, irresponsible parenting, domestic violence, or parental alienation during the divorce.

When There is Domestic Violence
Domestic violence only progressively becomes worse over longer periods of time –especially if the domestic violence is unmonitored or not intercepted. In most case domestic violence is used as a means to control the other partner in the relationship, even in the instances that the violence is used against the children. Children are also highly influenced by the impacts of domestic violence, even more so if the violence also includes emotional aspects. What is most important is to be the proactive parent to make the violence stop as quickly and effectively as possible and address the “why” questions later. Remaining in the relationship in the presence of domestic violence is extremely dangerous and can cause children and the victim long- term emotional damage. Children that witness domestic violence are dramatically more likely to seek relationships later in life that are abusive in nature. Other psychological factors can also result from experiences of domestic violence; such as, higher inclinations to suicide, self-esteem issues, depression, etc.

When There are Children and Domestic Violence
In domestic violence situations your children are more important than the marital relationship. In Georgia victims of domestic violence can seek protection from an abusive spouse through, restraining orders, anger management, surrender of all fire arms, and other legal remedies. In such, circumstance the children are included in the victims legal orders and can also allow for the parents to get child support, spousal support or any other necessities in preparation of filing divorce. The filing of a restraining order or any other order of protection does not necessarily mean that the parties are required to divorce, but instead is only used to address the issues of domestic violence. Taking the next step of divorce is therefore your choice and not necessarily a requirement, unless absolutely necessary.

When There is Child Abuse
Child abuse is a common factor in divorce type situations and generally calls for immediate action. Failing to intercept child abuse, either emotional or physical can make you an accessory to the actual crime; if it is found that you have knowledge of the incident. If you suspect child abuse you should take legal measures to address the abuse prior to a filing for divorce. In the event of child abuse the State of Georgia allows for the parent seeking protection to obtain an emergency custody order protecting the child at risk of harm from the abusive person or parent. However, in most cases only physical violence or threats of physical violence are considered for emergency custody orders. This is often unfortunate as emotional damage can be just as detrimental or even more than physical acts of abuse. Parents are required to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their children and Child Protective Services can strip custody from both parents if the victimized parent fails to take action. Any evidence of child abuse should meet the evidence rules and meet the burden of proof to avoid reverse prosecution for false accusations.

When It is Financially Feasible
Financial standing is a huge part of a divorce as you will need to be able to sufficiently support both yourself and your children. Although it may be possible to achieve substantial amounts of child support, spousal support, and or attorney’s fees; do not count on it! Being the family bread winner gives you a distinct advantage in obtaining child custody and makes the divorce process easier. If you intend to seek custody you should have the means to provide financially support them and their current lifestyle. Before filing for divorce you should consider the following questions:

  • Have you calculated how much you may have to pay in child support?
  • Have you considered what a custody order, parenting plan, or visitation would look like?
  • Have you outlined the child’s best interest and your ability to meet their needs?
  • Have you considered your ability to provide a decent living arrangement?
  • Have you considered which spouse will move from the marital residence?

Timing – Do You Move Out Before Custody Has Been Decided
In some situations it is important for one party to move out of the marital residence, but you must consider the children. If you move out and leave the children with the other spouse, for a long period of time, then it may be more difficult to get custody. Moving out before any hearings concerning custody can set you up for being the non-custodial parent. To ensure an equal award of custody any relocation must be relatively short, and the party moving must demonstrate that they regularly maintained contact with the children and had no intention to abandon the child. If a party left due to domestic violence then the acts in question will be taken into consideration in relation to child custody.

Special Considerations for Homemakers
Sometimes you may not always be able to file for divorce when you are financially set; such as, the case with homemakers. Generally, stay at home parents are better primary physical custodians, but generally they are the underdog because most of the time they lack a substantial external support system. If you are a homemaker filing for divorce you need to develop a financial and emotional support system that can provide for you throughout the divorce and post-divorce. You should also consider your home life post filing for divorce; you should consider an escape plan if you believe the other spouse will become abusive once discovering that you have filed. If you are the homemaker it is better that you remain in the family home. Once you are prepared to file you must go all in and ask specifically for child custody, child support, alimony, and attorney’s fees. If you intend moving out make sure you request alimony with consideration to living expenses.

Perfect Timing in Divorce
The truth is that there is no such thing as perfect timing, except if the marital relationship is unbearable and anything is better than being there. Going through a divorce is tough and not amount of timing and planning will make it any easier. There is not a cookie cutter approach or kitchen timer strategies in divorce- each case is unique and requires individual legal care. The most important factors in getting a divorce is asking the right legal questions and finding the right legal representation to answer them. You can ask ten attorney’s the same question and get at least ten different answers so it is important that you are familiar with your attorney’s reputation and reviews based upon their legal advice. Any attorney you hire should have experience or specialization in family law and should be able to provide you feed back in a timely manner. Any attorney you hire should consider your children the number one priority and any other matter in the divorce secondary. If you feel an attorney does not accurately represent the needs of your children then they are not the right attorney for you. You must also possess the inner strength and maturity to consider your case through an objective scope; and direct your counsel to proceed appropriately and in accordance to the best interest of your children.

If you are interested in seeking a family law firm for a divorce, call us at 770-609-1247.  The divorce and family law attorneys at Coleman Legal Group, LLC are experienced in family law and can help with your unique legal needs.