Filing for Divorce in Georgia
More Divorce Topics
Complaint for Divorce
One spouse must file a Complaint for Divorce to begin the case. The Complaint will ask the court for a divorce, state the grounds for divorce, address issues in the case and inform the court what the party is seeking in the way of relief. It is generally required to be filed in the county where your spouse resides and must be served upon the opposing party. To be legally sufficient, there are legal requirements, including citing one of the legal grounds for divorce that must be shown and requested in the Complaint.
The Complaint must also be verified. Meaning the party bringing the Complaint must take an oath to the facts listed in the Complaint, must sign it under oath, and have it notarized. When the divorce papers have been filed with the County of residence, a copy of the divorce complaint will be served (delivered) to your spouse. Your spouse is obligated to respond within 30 days after receiving the papers.
Answering a Complaint for Divorce
A party who has been served with a divorce must file an “Answer and Defenses” to the Complaint within 30 days. The Answer is your response to the opposing party’s Complaint. Defenses (if you assert any) to the Complaint may be waived if not addressed in the first responsive pleading. A party is permitted to file a Counterclaim for Divorce in their Answer. This is where the Defendant can assert grounds for divorce and may also request relief against the opposing party. The quick deadlines require you seek an experienced attorney immediately upon service of the Complaint.
Failure to Respond to a Complaint for Divorce
In the event a party fails to respond to the Complaint for Divorce, they can forever waive legal defenses they may have. Further, a lack of response opens that party to a final judgment without their participation or knowledge. A court is authorized to grant a final judgment on all divorce issues (child custody, visitation, child support, asset and debt division, alimony, and attorney fees) even in the absence of participation by one of the parties.
Your Type of Divorce
Now that you have filed, and your spouse has been served the divorce papers, your divorce process will move forward. Depending on the attitude of the divorcing parties and the circumstances of the case, your divorce can become one of the following:
- Contested Divorce: A contested divorce is a type of divorce in which the spouses cannot come to an agreement on one or more major terms of their divorce, such as division of property, child custody and support, and alimony. In a contested divorce, the issues in dispute may need to be resolved through mediation or by a judge in a court trial.
- Uncontested Divorce: An uncontested divorce is a type of divorce in which both spouses agree on all the major terms of their divorce, such as division of property, child custody and support, and alimony. As there is no disagreement, the divorce can be finalized relatively quickly and without the need for a trial or court hearing.
- Mediated Divorce: A mediated divorce is a type of divorce in which the spouses work with a neutral third-party mediator to negotiate the terms of their divorce settlement. The mediator helps the spouses communicate effectively and reach an agreement on issues such as property division, child custody, and support. Mediation can be a less adversarial and more cost-effective alternative to a contested divorce, as it allows the parties to work together to find solutions that meet their individual needs and interests.