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Chambers Family Law has more than 38 years guiding individuals through the divorce process. We recognize ending a marriage is never easy and only happens when all efforts to repair a marriage have failed.

Our experienced and compassionate Atlanta-based divorce attorneys can help you traverse the complex issues surrounding divorce including division/allocation of assets and liabilities, financial support, child custody, child support and all other family law matters.


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Divorce and Addiction

Our divorce attorneys have significant knowledge and extensive personal and professional experience regarding addiction and codependency. We have traveled through the toxic intersection where those two diseases collide and truly understand the byproducts, struggles and pain caused by addiction and codependency.

Our managing partner, Pete Chambers, feels strongly the terms “habitual intoxication” and “habitual drug addiction” should no longer be considered as “fault” grounds for divorce in Georgia, because it implies that having drawn the unlucky straw of being an addict/alcoholic is bad “conduct.” This contributes to many refusing to seek recovery due to the stigma and shame associated with societal views of addiction and alcoholism.

Rather, the terms “habitual intoxication” and “habitual drug addiction” should be changed to “untreated alcoholism” or “untreated drug addiction” or “failure to seek recovery from habitual intoxication” or “failure to seek recovery from habitual drug addiction.”

Failure to seek recovery is the actual contributing factor to a divorce, not merely having the disease of addiction/alcoholism

No matter what your prior journey has been, we will address your situation without judgement and with compassion and understanding. Let us help you rebuild and relaunch your new life.

5-Star Reviews

“With his deep understanding of addiction Pete was able to show compassion and grace in his daily interactions with me. This is more than a job to Pete; he has a passion for helping those struggling and conquering this disease of addiction. I have my life back and I will be forever thankful to him.”

- Anonymous

“To say it was one of the best decisions of my life would be an understatement. Pete took all of the problems and complexities of that unfortunate event, solved them, and coached me along the way.”

- Dave G.

“Pete Chambers and his team helped me every step of the way through my divorce with expertise and compassion. He presented a strategy, he respected my wishes, all the while fierce and focused to secure the best outcome for me.“

- Sarah M.

“He was compassionate and knowledgeable about the disease of addiction which I found great comfort in. Pete was able to reach a settlement that was not only fair, but better than we had hoped for.”

- Andrea W.

“I am extremely grateful to Pete for his knowledge and experience not only of the law but also of my situation in early recovery from alcohol. Pete’s compassion allowed me to focus on myself while he dedicated himself to my divorce case.”

- Paula H.

Grounds for Divorce in Atlanta

Legal grounds for divorce in Georgia, require at least one spouse to have been a resident of the state for at least six months. Spouses must be in a bona fide state of separation prior to filing a divorce, even if they remain living in the same household. (Under Georgia law, marital “separation” means the parties are not engaging in sexual relations.)

Married couples in Georgia do not need a reason to dissolve their marriage. Simply declaring their marriage is irreparably broken (the thirteenth ground for divorce in Georgia) qualifies as a “no-fault” basis for divorce. This is often the case in uncontested divorces when both parties are still on good terms.

Uncontested divorces are generally the most amicable and least expensive way to dissolve a marriage.

However, in contested divorces, when one spouse does not agree to a dissolution of the marriage or there is animosity between the spouses, Georgia recognizes 12 additional “fault” grounds or “conduct” grounds for divorce, including:

12 Additional Grounds For Divorce

Adultery or infidelity during the marriage

Cruel treatment (physical, verbal, and/or emotional abuse)

Willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year

Habitual drug addiction

Habitual intoxication

Past conviction of a crime of moral turpitude (examples: tax evasion, sale of narcotics or other illegal drugs, or any other felony)

Untreatable mental illness (However, no divorce is granted upon this ground unless the mentally ill party has been adjudged mentally ill by a court of competent jurisdiction or has been certified to be mentally ill by two physicians who have personally examined the party)

Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage

Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity, (incest or unlawful sexual relations between persons)

Force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage, (being coerced or tricked into marriage)

Pregnancy with another man’s child at the time of marriage, unknown to the husband

Impotency at the time of marriage

Child Custody and Visitation

Custody of children under the age of 18 is often the most emotionally charged conflict between divorcing parents. Agreeing about which parent the children will primarily live with and/or the parenting schedule, and who will make important decisions concerning the children’s welfare and upbringing can be complicated but is usually of utmost concern to both parents.

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The attorneys at Chambers Family Law can help ensure your children receive a stable and supportive environment during and after your divorce.

Well versed in Georgia family law, our attorneys will address all sensitive issues, including any involving addiction, regarding child custody and parental and/or grandparental visitation.

For more detailed information on child custody issues, visit our Child Custody page.

Atlanta’s Best Divorce Attorneys

Property Division

In Georgia, courts seek to achieve an equitable (meaning “fair”), not necessarily always equal, division of marital property in divorce cases. This equitable division is an allocation of assets acquired during the marriage and may include property acquired by one or both spouses, no matter how the title is held.

For the most part, marital property is evenly divided, considering all factors, including tax considerations impacting each asset and/or the transfer of an asset to the other party.

Separate property, (property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, or property that has been inherited by one party or gifted to one party, excluding interspousal gifts) may not be subject to equitable division, depending on certain criteria, such as title, commingling, or active management.

Separate property issues can present complexities that often require a careful analysis and frequently require the use of a forensic accountant to trace any separate property component, increased value, or commingling of assets.

We work to determine the value of complex financial assets, find any hidden assets, consider all tax consequences, trace and allocate separate property interests, prepare any coverture calculations on assets that partially vest during the marriage and partially vest prior to or post marriage, and ultimately work to achieve a fair final division of the estate.

Our attorneys at Chambers Family Law are extremely experienced at handling high net worth divorces and frequently bring in financial experts or forensic accountants to compile a complete view and disclosure of the entire marital estate (ensuring the inclusion of all assets).

Spousal Support

Spousal support, or alimony, is determined by considering several factors. Unlike child support, there is no guaranteed right to alimony in Georgia, nor is there any calculated format to follow. Instead, alimony is based upon the “need” of the receiving spouse and the “ability to pay” of the obligated spouse.

The party seeking alimony has the burden of proof. This includes establishing to the court that an award of alimony is necessary and legally warranted. When alimony is awarded by the court one spouse must pay the other spouse monthly payments or may be directed to make a single lump-sum payment.

In Georgia, there are two primary types of alimony: temporary alimony and permanent alimony.

Temporary Alimony

Temporary alimony is awarded during the pendency of a case (usually under a Temporary Order) to provide the receiving party with sufficient support until the case can be concluded.

Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony is an award of alimony that is granted at the conclusion of a case to be paid following the entry of the Final Decree of Divorce. This alimony award can be paid as “rehabilitative alimony” for a period of time to allow the receiving party to restore their earning potential, or to allow for job training, further education, or reestablishment of a career. Rehabilitative alimony can either terminate or taper down over time. Alimony can also be paid for a long period of time or until the death of either spouse, the remarriage of the spouse, or establishment of a new live-in committed relationship, and is referred to as “lifetime alimony.”

For more detailed information on spousal support, visit our Alimony page.

Trusted Atlanta Divorce Attorneys Who Understand the Complexities of Addiction

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Divorce is never easy. When addiction and codependency are added stressors, we can help. Addiction, which is a progressive and chronic disease, that gradually weakens and has the potential to destroy a marriage, is listed as the third most cited reason for divorce.

Likewise, codependency intermeshed with addiction creates an unsustainable situation that will ultimately implode at some point in time.

Pete Chambers and Brandon Duckworth at Chambers Family Law can compassionately guide you through the process of divorce so that you reemerge stronger, calmer, and more confident for your life ahead.

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The Importance of Having a Divorce Attorney

Even if you and your spouse agree to an uncontested divorce, we strongly encourage hiring an attorney. Experienced, professional help preparing required documents, such as financial affidavits, child support worksheets, settlement agreements and other court pleadings can all be carefully and efficiently accomplished with our divorce attorney’s assistance. In the long run, you’ll avoid costly mistakes, language disputes, and future interpretation debates.

When a divorce becomes contested, legal proceedings such as hearings, mediations and trials are best handled by family law attorneys who will place you and your children’s best interests above all else.

If you’re beginning the process of dissolving your marriage, you are most likely overwhelmed by emotion and the laundry-list of tasks to complete the divorce process.

If your spouse has hired an attorney, you need a tough, experienced one as well, to guide you compassionately through the process and ensure your financial and custodial interests are protected.

Atlanta’s Best Divorce Attorneys

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

You must file for divorce with the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where you or your spouse have lived for at least 6 months. You’ll start by filing a Complaint for Divorce, with the legal grounds for your divorce and what issues you want the court to address.

Divorces can either be contested or uncontested. In uncontested divorces, both parties agree to the terms of divorce, such as child custody, the division of assets or alimony. In contested divorces, the parties do not agree and must settle these terms in court. We highly recommend seeking legal advice before filing for divorce.

The quickest way to be divorced is to resolve all issues between you and your spouse and to execute all requisite paperwork before a case is filed with the court. 

Once the “uncontested” case is filed, (including confirmation the defending spouse has been served), the State of Georgia imposes a mandatory 31 day waiting period before the court can enter the Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce, (specifically 31 days after the date of confirmation of service on the defending spouse). In other words, a divorce can be finalized in as little as 31 days if everything is resolved, and all necessary documents are completed and properly filed. 

For contested cases, the timeframe can be significantly longer, and an exact end date cannot be predicted. Factors that impact how long these latter types of cases take include, but are not limited to, the county in which the case is filed, the actions taken by you and your attorney, the actions taken by your spouse and his or her attorney, whether a Guardian ad Litem and/or other experts are involved in the case, and how your assigned judge handles his or her particular case docket. 

Chambers Family Law will always keep you well informed throughout the process as to how events may impact the progress of your case and to allow you to be part of the important decisions being made that will ultimately impact YOUR life.

The simple answer is that until you have a court sign a Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce, you are still married and not able to marry anyone else. Some spouses want to have a trial separation and use that time to see if they can save their marriage.

If that is your goal, we highly recommend that you work with a marriage counselor. Georgia does not recognize a “legal separation,” but you must be in a “bonafide sate of separation” to file for divorce (meaning you are no longer having sexual relations).

Georgia does have a legal proceeding called “separate maintenance.” The goal of a separate maintenance action is similar to a divorce, and can provide for financial support for children, support for either spouse, and allocation of property during the period of separation.

However, the spouses are not divorced, cannot remarry, and a reconciliation may terminate the legal impact of a separate maintenance order.

No. The State Bar of Georgia Ethics Rules prevent lawyers from representing both parties because you and your spouse/former spouse have conflicting interests. For example, if you are the party obligated to pay child support, alimony, or attorney’s fees, then our attorneys would negotiate so that you pay as little as possible.

On the other side of the coin, if you are the party who is to receive any of these financial awards, then we would negotiate for you to receive as much as possible.

The goal of our representation depends upon which party we represent. This does not mean each party is required to have an attorney. Either party is free to represent himself or herself. Even if one party chooses to go unrepresented by an attorney, we can still only represent one party.

However, one attorney can act as a scribe and draw up all the necessary paperwork and process the divorce through the court system for both parties, as long as both parties are clear on the role of that attorney and that the attorney does not represent either party and cannot give either party any advice and is merely drafting all paperwork and processing the divorce.

You should consult a divorce attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights and to file an answer to your spouse’s claims. You should file an answer (and/or counterclaim) within 30 days from the date you are officially served with the complaint to file a response with the court.

You need to give your lawyer time to prepare your response. Even if you acknowledge the conduct claimed against you in the complaint, there are defenses you could use to keep the issue from affecting the outcome of your divorce. You can also contest your spouse’s claims for child custody, child support, marital property division, separate property, and alimony raised in the complaint.

Hopefully, yes. In uncontested divorces, when a marital settlement agreement has been reached, these documents can be filed with the court without either spouse having to physically go to a courtroom.

But in Georgia, a divorce settlement agreement should include all the material terms of the agreement (for example, terms regarding equitable division of the marital residence and retirement accounts, custody agreements, etc.) in very detailed and unambiguous language. It could be difficult to enforce a vague agreement or an agreement that is not properly drafted, or one that is subject to interpretation debates. This is another reason why having an attorney represent you is so important.

If your spouse will not sign the divorce papers, the divorce case will proceed as contested. This means that the pending issues will need to be decided by the court after a final trial.