Your Atlanta Divorce: The Basics

That cutie you met in Little Five Points seemed like the perfect match, so y’all tied the knot in Piedmont Park. But now your romance is flaming out like a Braves playoff run. Getting a divorce is a complex task anywhere, especially in The A. Here is some information covering the basics of Atlanta divorce law.

What Is a Divorce?

A divorce is a declaration by a court that your marriage contract is broken and the marriage has ended. After a couple gets a divorce, each spouse is then legally "single,” and can remarry. During a divorce, important decisions are made on a variety of issues, ranging from how property is divided to how custody of children will be handled. Your new status may affect your life in many ways and can be a very complicated process, possibly requiring the help of an attorney.

What Are the Reasons for Divorce in Atlanta?

There are thirteen grounds for divorce in Atlanta. Twelve of them are called Fault Grounds. Fault Grounds are split into two groups: those that might apply at the time a couple is married, and those that can arise after the date of marriage. The fault grounds that might apply at the time you were married are:

  • If you and your spouse are closely related by blood or marriage;
  • If your spouse has any mental incapacity;
  • If your spouse is impotent;
  • If there was any force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage; or
  • If a husband did not know his wife was pregnant by another man.

The fault grounds that might apply after your marriage are:

  • If your spouse committed adultery;
  • If your spouse willfully and continually deserted you for one year;
  • If your spouse was sentenced to two or more years of prison for a crime like murder, involuntary manslaughter, rape, or embezzlement;
  • If your spouse is habitually drunk or intoxicated;
  • If your spouse subjects you to cruel treatment;
  • If your spouse has an incurable mental illness; or
  • If your spouse has a habitual drug addiction.

Atlanta residents can also file for what is known as a No-Fault divorce. In this case, the marriage is claimed to be “irretrievably broken,” which applies if you or your spouse refuse to live with the other and there is no hope for reconciliation. You can file for a No-Fault divorce even if your spouse doesn’t agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

How Do I File for Divorce In Atlanta?

If you want to end your marriage, you can file a Petition For Divorce in the Superior Court. Good introductory materials can be found at the Fulton County Superior Court’s Family Law Information Center. You can either fill out the forms in the divorce packet and file them yourself, or you can hire an attorney who will prepare your case and represent you in court. Instructions for filing divorce paperwork are available from The Superior Court.

For information on filing fees, you can go to the Superior Court Clerk’s website or call the office (404) 612-5344. There are three Superior Court locations in Atlanta:

  • The Charles L. Carnes Justice Center Building: 60 Pryor Street, S.W., Atlanta, GA 30303. The corner of Pryor St. and Mitchell Streets.
  • The Fulton County Justice Center Tower: 185 Central Avenue, S.W., Atlanta, GA 30303. The black-glass building on the corner of Central Ave. and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
  • The Lewis R. Slaton Courthouse: 136 Pryor Street, S.W., Atlanta, GA 30303. The corner of Pryor St. and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

What Happens After I File For Divorce?

If you and your spouse have minor children, the court may not grant a divorce until each of you has attended the Superior Court’s Families in Transition Seminar. To find out when, where, and how much the seminars are, you can go to the Families in Transition website or call (404) 612-4618.

Additionally, divorce cannot be granted for at least 30 days after you have notified your spouse of the divorce. Therefore, the date of notification is very important. There is no automatic divorce in Atlanta. If you file for divorce, you can ask the court for the divorce decree after the waiting period has passed. This waiting period might be a cooling-off period, a time for possible reconciliation, or a time for you and your spouse to settle other matters before the divorce is final. In Atlanta, all child support, child custody, and property division issues must be settled either by agreement of the parties or by trial before the divorce is granted. Georgia gives you the right to a jury trial, but you and your spouse can allow a judge to try your case.

Get A Free Case Review

Going through a divorce can be an emotionally trying time, and having an attorney may make dealing with the paperwork, as well as your soon to be ex-spouse, easier. An experienced divorce attorney knows where to expect trouble and what to do to protect your interests. Contact a local attorney for a free case review to get started.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.