How long does a divorce take in Georgia?

Hi, I'm Dave Ward from the Ward Law Firm. One of the things that people almost invariably want to know is how long is my case going to take? When a divorce is filed, there are certain minimum timeframes that come into effect and they fall under different rules procedurally. However, the overwhelming majority of cases where divorces are granted are granted under Georgia's no-fault provision which states that a marriage is irretrievably broken with no hope of reconciliation.

When a divorce is going to be granted under those terms, the law states that a court cannot hold the trial until 30 days from the date that it's been filed has elapsed, and that's to see whether or not there is in fact any opportunity for the parties to reconcile. Now, I can tell you, even in an uncontested divorce, it never ever happens that fast. Usually, the best that you can hope for in a situation where you have a truly uncontested divorce which are very, very rare coincidentally.

 But if you do have a truly uncontested divorce, usually the best that you're looking at is between 60 and 90 days, and that's usually a result of the trial court's schedule as opposed to really anything else. It just takes a certain amount of time to get on to a calendar to appear before the judge to handle those things. There are other ways of dealing with that as well when you have an attorney assisting. As far as a contested case goes, unfortunately, there's not a real good answer to that, and there are several reasons for that.

Number one, there are a lot of things that can happen over the course of a contested case, and some of those things do take quite a bit of time. One of the big things is the discovery process. Discovery in divorce cases and other civil cases under Georgia law is presumed to be six months. Now, a judge can either lengthen that period of time where they can shorten that period of time, but that's the presumption in Georgia.

Other things that come into play are trying to go through negotiations and see if the parties are able to reach a settlement. That's one thing that hopefully can shortcut things a little bit, but there's never a guarantee that that's going to happen. In addition to that, there's always the fact that when the divorce is filed, you've gotten through the discovery. If that's what's going to be happening, then there's always the question of when can you get on a trial court's calendar?

Most courts before they'll even consider putting you on a calendar are going to require that you attempt mediation in the case, and that can take 45 days just by itself to schedule. The divorce process itself, if it's contested and remains contested the entire way through can take nine months, or believe it or not, even longer depending on the complexity of the case and the issues that are involved.

If you have any other questions about divorce in Georgia or anything else related to family law, give me a call. I'm Dave Ward from the Ward Law Firm and we protect business owners facing divorce.