Georgia Divorce Process

Getting divorced is not nearly as simple as getting married, in Georgia or any other state. While a marriage can be sealed by a trip to the courthouse and a couple of "I do's," divorce requires an often-protracted court battle over marital property, spousal support, and child custody (where applicable). It's also an emotionally stressful time in most instances, particularly when minor children are involved. The first step in getting divorced is to learn as much as you can about how the process works in your jurisdiction.

The Georgia Divorce Process: Overview

In most divorce cases, it's advantageous to work with an experienced attorney, who will know the process inside and out. But generally speaking, those filing a divorce in Georgia will (usually through their attorney) write a complaint describing the current living situation; an overview of shared debts and assets; arrangements made for children (if applicable); and problems that led to the divorce filing. This complaint (or petition) doesn't have to be too detailed; just enough to explain what went wrong in the marriage.

The complaint is then filed in the Superior Court of your spouse's county of residence or, if he or she has moved out of Georgia, at the Superior Court in your county. If both spouses are in agreement on the terms of the divorce, then it may be granted in a month or so. But it can take several months to several years when the terms are disputed.

Additional details about the divorce process in Georgia can be found in the following table.

Statute

Georgia Code ยง 19-5-2, et seq.

Information Required for Divorce Petition
  1. Residence or last known address of the respondent (spouse)
  2. Proof that the applicant meets the residence requirements for a divorce filing (not required for applicants filing counterclaims)
  3. Date of marriage and date of separation
  4. Names and ages of any minor children in the household
  5. Statutory grounds for the divorce
  6. Property and earnings of the parties (for determining alimony, support, and/or property division)

At any time before the divorce trial, the respondent may file a demand for a detailed statement of facts supporting the purported grounds of the divorce filing.

Uncontested Divorce

In divorce cases which are not defended by the responding party, the judge shall determine that the asserted grounds for divorce are legal and sustained by proof or shall appoint an attorney of the court to discharge that duty for him.

An evidentiary hearing for the determination of the existence of the grounds for divorce and for the determination of issues of alimony, child support, and child custody and other issues is authorized but not required.

Restoration of Prior Name

In all divorce actions, a party may request in his/her pleadings for the restoration of a maiden or prior name. If a divorce is granted, the judgment or decree shall specify and restore to the party the name so requested in the pleadings.

Disqualification of Alimony

A party shall not be entitled to alimony if it is established by a preponderance of the evidence that the separation between the parties was caused by that party's adultery or desertion.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Georgia Divorce Process: Related Resources

Get a Free Legal Evaluation of Your Divorce Filing

Divorce is a difficult process, not just in terms of legal filings and time spent in court but also from an emotional perspective. In most cases, you will want to retain the services of a divorce attorney, especially if the other party has representation. Get started today by having a Georgia divorce lawyer look over your divorce case at absolutely no charge.

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