The Divorce Process in Georgia
Every divorce is different not only because of the relationship, but also based on what state you live in. However, one thing that is constant is there are specific procedures and times frames built into the law.
Once you decide divorce is the route you want to take, a plan needs to be formed. An idea of what you are going to do after is going to help the stress you may already be experiencing. You want to have an idea of where you will be living after the divorce, how your life may change on one income, and how your children may take the news if you have them.
While you are answering those questions, it is important to also understand the timeline of divorce. The first step and possibly one of the most vital would be finding an attorney. An attorney will give you advice on your divorce plan and advocate for you. You want an attorney who you can trust and is experienced because you will be sharing personal details of your life.
Once you find an attorney, you must formally petition the court for a divorce. It is important to decide what kind of divorce you are going to file for. In Georgia, there are generally two types of divorce you can choose from. These include:
When you and your spouse are not in agreement over marital issues, a judge will be the one to decide on those issues if they can’t be settled. Contested divorce can be time-consuming, expensive and stressful.
In a contested divorce, your spouse will be required to answer the complaint. Once they are served, your spouse has 30 days to file a formal response with the court. This is a time for them to get an attorney and file any defenses or counterclaims. Upon filing the complaint, the court will issue standing orders that prohibit either spouse from engaging in conduct such as draining accounts, moving kids, etc.
A major step in the divorce process is discovery. Both spouses are required to fully disclose and share information with the other side relating to income, assets, accounts, living expenses, and other relevant matters. An attorney may also be able to uncover assets that a spouse may have tried to hide or transfer.
In a contested divorce, the process can take a year or more to finalize. During this year, either spouse can request a court hearing for interim orders to address child custody, child support, spousal support, and possession of joint property. These orders are temporary but are immediate and have long-term implications. You and your attorney need to be proactive and strategic in these proceedings.
This is when you and your spouse can agree and resolve all differences on issues such as custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, and property division. This will avoid you having to go to court and having a judge decide your future. If you can work together, then you have the opportunity to make this process quicker, less emotionally draining and cost less.
As you can see there is a lot that goes into the divorce process and that is why it is important to have an experienced attorney by your side. If you do not have an attorney or are thinking about divorce, contact Brown Dutton & Crider at 770-422-4241.