How to File for Divorce in Georgia
- Find an experienced divorce attorney
- Determine what type of divorce you’re getting
- Determine the grounds for divorce
- Submit a complaint
- Custody proceedings
In Georgia, there are several steps you’ll need to take from the start of your divorce to the end of the journey. In this blog post, we’ll explore divorce in Georgia in more detail and point you in the right direction when it comes to taking the best next step for you and your situation.
Keep in mind that while we will do our best to provide helpful information and tips, everyone’s situation is different and will require different strategies.
Step 1: Finding an Experienced Divorce Attorney in Georgia
This is arguably the most important step of the whole divorce process. An attorney who specializes in family law will be able to help you navigate each step and any complications you encounter. A “do-it-yourself” divorce might seem easier and cheaper, but in the long run, it can cost you more money and cause more stress. A skilled divorce attorney will serve as an objective third-party, help you put together complicated legal documents, and can provide alternative outcomes and ideas that you wouldn’t think of yourself.
Step 2: Determining What Type of Divorce You’re Getting in Georgia
In Georgia, divorces can be contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree to the terms of divorce like custody, division of assets, or alimony. In a contested divorce, both parties disagree to some extent. This is another scenario in which having an attorney is important; a lot of people might think they have an uncontested divorce going into the process, then discover that the divorce is actually contested when a point of disagreement arises.
Step 3: Determining the Grounds for Divorce in Georgia
In Georgia, there are 13 grounds for divorce:
👉 Divorce on the grounds of intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity
👉 Divorce on the grounds of mental incapacity at the time of the marriage
👉 Divorce on the grounds of impotency at the time of the marriage
👉 Divorce on the grounds of force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage
👉 Divorce on the grounds of pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the husband
👉 Divorce on the grounds of adultery in either of the parties after marriage
👉 Divorce on the grounds of willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year
👉 Divorce on the grounds of conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude, under which he is sentenced to imprisonment in a penal institution for a term of two years or longer
👉 Divorce on the grounds of habitual intoxication
👉 Divorce on the grounds of cruel treatment, which shall consist of the willful infliction of pain, bodily or mental, upon the complaining party, such as reasonably justifies apprehension of danger to life, limb, or health
👉 Divorce on the grounds of incurable mental illness
👉 Divorce on the grounds of habitual drug addiction, which shall consist of addiction to any controlled substance as defined in Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 16
👉 The marriage is irretrievably broken. Under no circumstances shall the court grant a divorce on this ground until not less than 30 days from the date of service on the respondent
The grounds you choose can have an impact on issues such as property division, child custody, and alimony. For example, if adultery is involved, the offending party can be denied alimony.
Step 4: Submitting a Complaint for Divorce in Georgia
A complaint for divorce is a formal document asking the court for a divorce. In Georgia, 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 six months.
Find your local Superior Court by searching on the Georgia Superior Courts website.
One question we frequently get when it comes to filing a complaint is, “How will my spouse know I have filed for divorce?” You can’t get a divorce in Georgia without notifying your spouse. You are required to provide your spouse with the filed legal documents. This is usually done by process server, and they will have to file an answer within 30 days of the date they were served.
How to acknowledge service in Georgia:
In Georgia, your acknowledgement of service to a complaint for divorce must be in writing and filed with the Clerk of the Court of the County and State printed on the petition. An answer to the Petition is due 30 days after you have been served or you have acknowledged service.
Step 5: Divorce Discovery Process in Georgia
Discovery generally happens in a contested divorce. Both spouses are required to fully disclose and share information with the other side relating to income, assets, debts, accounts, living expenses, and other relevant matters. An attorney who specializes in divorce may be able to help uncover assets that one party tried to hide or transfer.
Step 6: Divorce Custody Proceedings in Georgia
If you have children, custody terms will be part of your divorce. A parenting plan will need to be drafted and a judge will turn it into a final order under the conditions that it ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the children involved.
Step 7: Divorce Trial in Georgia
Most divorces are settled out of court, but in the event your divorce goes to trial, it’s important to be prepared. Trials happen at the end of the divorce process and can be taxing for both parties. It’s important to have a family law attorney by your side who can represent your best interest and make sure you’re fully prepared if your case goes to trial.
Step 8: Divorce Finalization in Georgia
The finalization and length of your divorce depends on a lot of factors, like whether there are children involved, if it is a high-asset divorce, if it is contested or uncontested, and more. An uncontested divorce in Georgia will usually take 90 days or less however a contested divorce could take a year or longer depending on your situation.
Learn more about the contested divorce timeline in this video⤵️
Make Sure to Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney to Stand by Your Side
A “do-it-yourself” divorce might sound cheaper, faster, and more convenient than hiring an attorney, but it can cost you more money in the long run if you make a mistake. The divorce process is complicated; doing it yourself makes it more difficult. With a family law attorney who specializes in divorce, you get a partner who can be your advocate during this season of your life.
If you have questions about your situation or are interested in scheduling a consultation, contact the attorneys at Brown Dutton & Crider today. Call (678) 730-2578 or get in touch with us here.