Finding answers for common questions related to divorce in the state of Georgia can be difficult to acquire online. And, when something is found, the results can sometimes be just as difficult to understand. Below, we have answered the most common questions we are asked daily.
What are the grounds for divorce in Georgia?
In Georgia, a divorce can be granted based on the fact the marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no hope for reconciliation by the two parties. This no-fault ground is the most common ground for divorce in Georgia.
A fault ground for divorce does not have to be alleged.
There are 12 fault grounds for divorce in Georgia. Those fault grounds for divorce are as follows:
- Conviction of either party of an offense involving moral turpitude and imprisonment for 2 or more years
- Habitual intoxication
- Habitual drug intoxication
- Cruel treatment
- Incurable mental illness
- Pregnancy of wife by man other than the husband of wife
- Force, duress or fraud in obtaining marriage
- Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity
- Mental incapacity at time of marriage
How long does it take to get a divorce in Georgia?
The length of time it takes to get a divorce varies. It depends on the complexity of your case, whether there are children involved, whether the case is uncontested or contested, etc.
Uncontested cases: An uncontested divorce may be granted thirty days after the defendant has been served with the complaint for divorce. Uncontested cases are cases in which both parties agree and there are no disagreements as to any issues.
Contested cases: Cases where the parties cannot come to an agreement regarding the major issues in a divorce such as child custody or the division of marital property. These cases can take much longer to resolve and may involve going to trial.
Additionally, each party’s approach toward the case (cooperative, difficult, getting back at the opposing party, etc.) always influences the time it takes for a case to be resolved.
Do I have to go to court to get divorced?
In uncontested cases, meaning a case that has been settled between the parties through agreement – a divorce is granted after all the necessary paperwork is filed with the court. One party may be required to go to court and testify that the marriage is irretrievably broken with no hope for reconciliation. In some cases, you can present a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and no court appearance is necessary.
In contested cases, a divorce would only be granted following a trial or hearing where the parties cannot settle the case between themselves. Both parties must be present for hearings and trials in contested divorce cases.
Do I need an attorney to get a divorce?
Yes, having an attorney to handle your divorce is always a good idea. Divorces can be complex, especially when issues involving child custody, child support and marital property division come up. Attorneys are trained in the law and know the proper procedures in a divorce such as what documents need to be filed, where those documents need to be filed, how to serve the other party and so forth.
Many people may feel they cannot afford to hire an attorney and try to represent themselves. However, this is usually a mistake as it may be hard to undo any mistakes that have already occurred.
Can I change my name back to my maiden name?
Yes. Your attorney will ask whether you want your maiden name restored and will include the appropriate language in the Final Divorce Decree, restoring your maiden name.
Am I legally separated once the divorce is filed?
In order to file for a divorce, you must state that you are in a state of separation. In Georgia, separation simply means the parties no longer engage in marital activities and relations. The two parties can be separated even if they reside in the same house but do not share the same room.
In Georgia, legal separations are not recognized as an end to a marriage. The parties must go through the divorce process in order to end the marriage.
Can I get an annulment?
Annulments are rarely used. Generally, the only basis for an annulment is an allegation of fraud or where one party thought they were divorced at the time of the new marriage but then found out their divorce was either not final or valid.
Where do I file for divorce in Georgia?
Generally, a divorce is filed in the county where the defendant lives. The divorce complaint and supporting documents are filed with the Clerk of Superior Court in the county where the defendant lives. There is a specific exception to this requirement that allows you to file in the county of the marital residence if the other party has not relocated from that county more than six (6) months before filing.
When can I file for divorce?
You must have lived in Georgia for at least six months prior to filing a divorce action.
How much does a divorce cost?
Costs vary depending on the complexity of the case, whether there are children involved and whether the case is uncontested versus contested. There is no way to predict the total cost of a divorce.
Can I get alimony?
You may be entitled to alimony or spousal support depending on the circumstances of your case.
Alimony is awarded to either spouse according to:
- Needs of the spouse requesting alimony, and
- Ability of the other spouse to pay
Will I have to pay alimony?
The main controlling factors in determining the amount of permanent alimony or spousal support are the needs of the spouse requesting alimony and the other spouse’s ability to pay. Whether you must pay alimony will depend on the circumstances of your case.
What if my spouse does not want a divorce?
All it takes is for one party to want a divorce in Georgia. In Georgia, a divorce can be granted if one party testifies that the marriage is irretrievably broken with no hope for reconciliation.
Do issues such as child support, child custody, alimony, and property need to be decided before the divorce is final?
Yes, issues of child support, child custody, alimony or spousal support and marital property division must be decided before the divorce is finalized. The parties can come to an agreement as to those issues or the parties can request a bench trial or jury trial and let the fact finder decide those issues.
At what point during the divorce process can a spouse remarry or start dating?
Only after the case is finalized and all the paperwork is signed by a judge and filed in the Clerk’s office. If you start dating before the divorce is finalized that may be used as a factor when determining awards of alimony, spousal support, child custody and visitation. Although the decision to date or remarry is entirely personal, you may want to rethink getting into another relationship so quickly after a divorce.
Contact Dreyer Law at 770-253-7256 if you are currently considering divorce or need divorce help. Mr. Dreyer handles all aspects of divorce throughout Coweta County.