Spouses should immediately determine their case when filing for divorce in Georgia because the legal procedure depends on this issue. There are two options: contested and uncontested.
Differences Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on all the terms of the breakup. However, in a contested divorce, the parties may argue on child custody, property division, alimony, or one of the partners is against the dissolution of the marriage.
In the first case, the spouses agree on their own or with a mediator's assistance. In the second case, a judge decides on divorce-related issues. This decision following the law will be fair, but it may not always satisfy the couple. For example, one of the spouses wanted to keep a house, and the other – a car, but the court may oblige to sell the property and divide the money equally.
The couple will receive the final decision in an uncontested divorce faster since the court does not need additional hearings to consider the evidence. The cost of divorce will also be lower.
The uncontested divorce process looks like this:
- Draft papers;
- Spouse reviews and signs the documents;
- Judge reviews and signs the documents;
- Final decree.
The contested divorce process looks like this:
- Filing the petition;
- 30 days to respond;
- Case management conference;
- Final decree;
- Appeal (If either spouse disagrees with the judge’s decision, they can file a request to a higher court.)
Divorce Papers Preparation
Getting a divorce begins with completing legal forms. The Georgia Court may request the following documents:
- Complaint for Divorce;
- Acknowledgment of Service and Summons;
- Consent to Trial 31 Days After Service and Waiver of Right to Trial by Jury;
- Defendant’s Acknowledgement of Service Affidavit of Waiver of Venue and Personal Jurisdiction;
- Settlement Agreement;
- Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit of Plaintiff;
- Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit of Defendant;
- Mandatory Seminar Notice;
- Final Judgment and Decree; and
- Report of Divorce, Annulment or Dissolution of Marriage.
Depending on the state requirements and the case specifics, the required paperwork list may differ.
There are several ways to prepare divorce documents: entrust them to a lawyer, do it yourself, or use the services of online divorce companies. But, of course, everyone chooses the most affordable and quickest way for themselves.
Many people who decide to do a DIY divorce are often confused by various legal forms and make mistakes when filling them out. Therefore, couples increasingly began to look at alternative options for preparing papers.
Divorce over the internet allows couples to prepare the necessary legal paperwork for an uncontested separation from the comfort of their home. Online divorce is an inexpensive tool and provides paperwork under the latest Georgia requirements.
To submit an application for divorce online, spouses only need to sign up on the divorce company website and go through a survey regarding their marriage and breakup.
One of the main fields in the questionnaire is the grounds for divorce. In Georgia, Family Law allows no-fault and fault divorces. To obtain a divorce without fault, the spouses need to point out that irreconcilable disagreements have destroyed the marriage, and the spouses can no longer get along with each other.
The fault complicates the divorce process. The petitioner has to provide the court with solid proof of the misconduct of the other spouse. Emails, photos, or witness statements can be the evidence.
Fault-based reasons for divorce in Georgia include:
- willful and continued desertion for at least one year;
- cruel treatment;
- habitual intoxication or drug addiction;
- impotency; and
- conviction of a crime.
After the system accepts the entered data, the petitioner receives completed divorce forms online in two business days. If the spouses entrusted a lawyer with preparing the papers, the waiting period depends on the specialist’s workload.
After the spouses get the papers, they should make two copies and check with the county clerk about the filing fees.
File for Divorce in Georgia
When applying for an uncontested divorce, a couple jointly files a petition. The spouses do not have to go to court together. It is enough that the second partner has no objections and immediately signs all the necessary forms.
A contested divorce is a more complex proceeding. The petitioner must submit documents to the court and serve the respondent under the court record.
Even though servicing a spouse is a mandatory step in filing documents in both cases, in a contested divorce, it may be difficult or impossible for the petitioner to do it in person. But, again, the reasons can differ, ranging from a bad relationship with the soon-to-be-ex to a missing spouse.
The petitioner can serve their spouse by mail or hire a sheriff. If the petitioner does not know the whereabouts of their spouse, they must inform the county clerk and obtain permission to publish the divorce notice in the local newspaper.
The court gives 30 days for the spouse service and possible reconciliation in Georgia. However, even if the spouses have no claims against each other and agree to a breakup, the court will not grant a divorce before the end of the waiting period.
Dissolution of marriage doesn't have to be exhausting and stressful. Spouses can always negotiate and use internet divorce services to cut costs. But sometimes, it is simply impossible to get a divorce without the help of an attorney. And then you should choose a lawyer carefully.
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