Like any other state in the U.S., the Georgia divorce process can be simple or difficult depending on how well spouses cooperate and the details of the case.
The more both agree, the easier and quicker they arrive at a satisfactory final decree – and the less costly the divorce is. Uncontested divorces can take as few as 31 days to finalize. However, more points of contention mean a longer divorce; this can cause some contested divorces to drag out for years.
Below is a general overview of how the divorce process works in Georgia. For a more detailed account specific to your case, set up your REAL Case Analysis with David Ward. Call 770-383-1973.
What Is the Georgia Divorce Process?
Meet filing criteria
To file a divorce, one spouse must have lived in Georgia for at least six months at the time of filing. Once the spouse has filed for divorce, the other spouse has 30 days (if residing in Georgia) or 60 days (if residing outside of Georgia) to respond. But even if your spouse signs the papers the next day, a judge will not approve a divorce for at least 31 days.
Disclose financial information
After your spouse responds, the law requires you both to divulge financial information to allow for property division. After divulging all financial information, the couple must divide all marital property “equitably.” It is important to note that equitable does not mean equal; it means both spouses must divide the property fairly.
To do so, you may need to hire a property appraiser who can tell you the value of all of your property to help facilitate the property division. And, of course, the Ward Law Firm will represent you to make sure you exercise your rights.
Create a parenting plan
Spouses who have children must create a parenting plan that details custody and visitation as well as attend a parenting seminar. At the divorce hearing, the judge will examine the plan and act within the best interests of the child(ren). In most situations, the judge will attempt to grant joint custody unless it would not be in a child’s best interests.
The judge will also grant child support (in most cases to the spouse with primary custody) and will make a ruling on whether to grant alimony or spousal support.
Throughout the process, both spouses must show the court they are making good faith attempts to accommodate the other, even submitting to mediation if necessary.
After spouses agree to the terms of their divorce or the court has ruled on all the issues in a contested divorce, the judge will sign a legally binding final decree.
Is There Anything Else I Need to Know?
We may need to file temporary orders on your behalf during the divorce. Some of these orders may include:
- Protection of one spouse from the other if a “clear and present danger” of harm exists (or if violence has already occurred)
- Provisional spousal support
- Educational support orders to pay for tuition and other expenses associated with children’s school attendance
- Healthcare orders that maintain health insurance premiums to prevent the policy from lapsing
The court may also file and hear additional orders of child visitation schedules, property issues, assigning payment responsibilities for the couple’s monthly bills (credit cards, etc.) and other issues prior to the final hearing.
Get Help from the Ward Law Firm in Gwinnett County
Georgia divorce laws are complicated and change periodically. Sometimes the terms of the final decree require modification as circumstances within the family change. Because so many issues are a part of a divorce, seldom are two alike.
Make sure you get everything to which you are entitled. Call us today to schedule your REAL Case Analysis. Contact the Ward Law Firm at 770-383-1973.