Uncontested Divorce in Georgia
Filing For Uncontested Divorce in Georgia
This page will answer common divorce questions, and give you an overview of the uncontested divorce process in Georgia.
Filing for uncontested divorce in Georgia is relatively easy and can be done in a matter of days. Uncontested divorce is preferred by most divorcing couples because it is far less expensive and less stressful than a contested divorce.
Uncontested Divorce Meaning
The term "uncontested" simply means that you and your spouse both agree to get a divorce. The typical uncontested divorce requires minimal time at the courthouse to have it made final. Most of the process is done via phone calls and emails between the divorce lawyers.
Our Approach to Divorce
Our divorce lawyers prefer to assume a low-conflict approach to negotiating the terms of a divorce case. This approach can minimize cost and stress. However, if your divorce becomes contentious, rest assured that we are skilled and competent divorce trial lawyers. Regardless of the direction your case may move, we have the experience and resources to deliver a robust representation.
What Does a Divorce Lawyer Do?
The responsibilities of your lawyer for an uncontested divorce are:
- ✔ Develop an understanding of your situation
- ✔ Define your goals and objectives
- ✔ Prepare, file, and manage all required divorce legal documents
- ✔ Act in good faith to obtain the best possible outcome for you
- ✔ Manage negotiations with the opposing divorce lawyer
- ✔ Advise you of realistic expectations, challenges, and progress
- ✔ Develop a comprehensive Divorce Settlement Agreement
- ✔ Represent you at any formal meetings and court appearance
- ✔ File the signed and counter-signed divorce agreement with the Court for official recognition that you are legally divorced, and to make the terms of your Agreement legally binding. (You will be given a copy of the Settlement Agreement.)
How Long Does It Take to Get an Uncontested Divorce?
In Georgia, it is possible to have a divorce made final in 31 days, however; four to six months is common. Time delays are almost always because of protracted conflict between spouses. Emotionally driven arguments over financial matters, property division, child custody and visitation should be avoided as much as possible.
Even an uncontested divorce will have moments of dealing with strong emotions. As your divorce attorney, part of our job is to help you to make logical decisions at a time when you may not be thinking clearly. Let our knowledge and experience guide you through this difficult time and move you into a new, happier life.
The Uncontested Divorce Process
Before You File
Before you file for divorce you really need to do some careful planning. This is especially true if you have concerns for the physical safety of you or your family. Among the thngs to do are secure copies of titles, deeds, account balances (especially credit cards and loans!). You may also want to secure valuables, heirloom items, and similar items to prevent possible damage or removal by an angry spouse.
You need to anticipate the disruption to your life. Think about your needs to maintain a home, pay bills, manage childcare and parental duties . . . potentially with little to no help. Consider what resources you will need, who can help you make this transition, and what your post-divorce plan will be.
Starting a Divorce
To begin the divorce process you need to meet with a divorce lawyer. Your first meeting will be to discuss your situation and and give you the opportunity to ask questions about the divorce process. Everything you discuss with your lawyer is confidential.
Georgia residency laws determine if and where you need to file for divorce. Your lawyer will need to confirm that you meet the Georgia residency requirements to file divorce papers.
Cite at least one legal reason for seeking a divorce. In Georgia, your divorce peition must cite one or more of the Grounds for Divorce in Georgia.
Hiring a divorce lawyer requires only signing an agreement, providing basic information to your lawyer, and funding a retainer (think of it as an account from which lawyer fees and court costs will be paid).
The process formally starts when your attorney drafts the Petition for Divorce and files the papers with the Superior Court with your county of residence. Your petition will then be processed by the Court for formal divorce papers to be served to your spouse. The divorce papers are delivered to your spouse by a third party agent (usually a Sheriff's deputy or process server). Your spouse is allowed 30 days to file a formal response to the complaint. This allows a reasonable time for your spouse to hire a lawyer, prepare and file their formal repsonse. At this point, you are officially going through a divorce.
The Discovery Process
The discovery process is the time in which you gather relevant documents, evidence, and notes to facilitate a better outcome. Your lawyer needs as much accurate information as you can provide in order to address critical areas which will directly affect the results of your divorce and your post-divorce life. The items you may need relate to finances, property lists, children's needs, and . You should also consider information on your spouse realted to criminality, violence, physical abuse, employment instability, immoral behavior such as adultery, alcohol or substance abuse.
The Divorce Settlement - Terms of Divorce
A divorce settlement is a legally binding agreement that addresses how key areas of your relationship will be executed or managed. Common areas covered within a divorce settlement agreement are:
- Distribution of money, equity, investments, debt
- Division of property (homes, land, cars, motorcycles, etc.)
- Child custody, normal visitation, holiday visitation
- Child support, tutition, insurance, special expenses
You can ask for most anything in this binding legal agreement. Some things to consider are blocking over night stays of a paramour when the person has actual custody of the child(ren), requirement for who pays for college, etc.
Typically, each person tells their attorney what they want in these areas, and the attorneys then discuss the particulars. From there, the attorneys act as intermediaries to facilitate the creation of a mutually acceptable agreement. It can lower your costs if you and yor spouse can come to a prelim agreement on these items to ive your attorneys a better starting point.
When the Settlement Agreement has been thoroughly developed, and verbally agreed to by both parties, your divorce is almost finished. Depending on where you live, you may be required to completing a Parenting Class before your divorce is made final. Your lawyer will advise you of anything you need to do to complete your divorce.
If you have completed any special requirements, then all you need are both parties to sign the Agreement, and have your attorney submit the signed papers to the Clerk of Court for processing. If there are any issues that cannot be resolved by normal discussion, these points will be decided by a Superior Court judge, then the papers can move forward.
Other Things You Need to Know
Temporary Orders are a wise move when you file for divorce. It's a smart move to clarify where each spouse will live, how much access they may have to their home or possessions, child custody and visitation and more.
During a divorce it is usually forbidden for a person to sell, give away or otherwise dispose of financial assets, marital property, or other things of value. Hiding assets, especially money and investments, can result in serious problems with the Court. If there are Temporary Orders put in place, any violation of the Order is grounds for a Contempt charge (jail, fines, etc.)
Temporary Protective Order (TPO) - Restraining Order
If your situation escalates to stalking, harrassment, terroristic threats, or domestic violence you may need a restraining order or Temporary Protective Order to protect yourself or your family. We can help you to quickly obtain a TPO if you can prove a legitimate concern.
In Georgia, when spouses are living separately, either spouse may petition the court for child support or spousal support without having filed for divorce. The other party will be notified of such a petition, and the judge can grant a support order, which is legally enforceable, and subject to contempt charges if disobeyed.
Friendly Advice for Going Through a Divorce
From the moment your fights started including the word "divorce" your actions and words may be recorded or otherwise documented. You need to restrain yourself from displays of anger, inappropriate behaviors, and certainly actions that could be deemed of aggressive, threatening, or violent. Divorce is a time when you need to be on your absolute best behavior. One careless act can be a mistake can cost you a lot.