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Divorce Process in Georgia
The divorce process in Georgia is never exactly the same for everyone. Whether contested or uncontested divorce, there are numerous variables that effect the final outcome.
Filing for divorce in Georgia can be done as an uncontested divorce or a contested divorce. The paperwork is effectively the same, as are the processes to determine matters such as child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, and more. The element of contested comes into play when the divorcing parties cannot agree to specific points of the settlement. This situation is resolved through further litigation, mediation, or in court before a judge.
Filing for Divorce in Georgia
Part of how file for divorce in Georgia is preparing and submitting a formal petition for divorce. Part of your divorce petition includes stating at least one of the legal grounds for divorce.
Your formal divorce petition is almost always submitted in the county where you live. When the papers have been officially received by the County, a deputy or process server will hand-deliver the divorce papers to your spouse. Your spouse has a 30-day period to file a counter-claim which basically begins the personal side of the divorce process.
During the process, the lawyers will negotiate a divorce settlement agreement which defines the terms of your divorce regarding property division, child custody, child and spousal support payments, and other key points of ending a marriage. When this is completed, you and your spouse will sign the Settlement Agreement and it will be submitted to the court for review. Upon the courts approval your divorce will be granted and you will no longer be married.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce?
It is possible to get a divorce in Georgia in 31 days, however; this is rarely the case. A typical uncontested divorce takes six months to a year, whereas a contested divorce usually takes six months to two years to become final. The amount of time required basically comes down to how long the two parties choose to fight (extend litigation).
Am I Required to Hire a Lawyer?
Although you are not required by law to hire a divorce lawyer, you will probably have lifelong regrets if you don't hire a divorce lawyer. When spouses each hire a lawyer a lot of the emotion and bickering can be filtered out as specifics are negotiated. Without a lawyer, and without full understanding of divorce laws, you stand to potentially lose everything you own.
Options: Separation and Annulment
Legal Separation in Georgia does not exist. This means that even if you are no longer cohabitating, you are still legally married. This is especially important for you to know as dating someone can lead to allegations of adultery. If you want to be legally separated in Georgia you need to hire an attorney to draft a Separate Maintenance Agreement. This provides legal protections for your rights, finances, and property while living apart.
Annulment. Georgia courts are reluctant to grant an annulment, however; it is possible to get an annulment in Georgia. The primary cause to successfully seek an annulment is to prove that the marriage was done with invalid circumstances in place. Grounds for an annulment include:
- Person(s) mentally incompetent at the time of the marriage.
- Person(s) underage at the time of the marriage, and parental permission was not obtained.
- Person(s) consented to marriage due to coercion or fraud.
- Person(s) legally married to another living person.
- Person(s) are close blood-relatives.
Schedule a free consultation to learn what to expect in a divorce. During your consultation we can answer questions, explain how we can help you, go over payment options, and discuss potential outcomes. To get started simply call us at 770-956-1400 to schedule a free consultation.