Online Divorce in Georgia
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Filing for divorce is an emotional and hard time for spouses and their children alike. It goes beyond gathering and filing divorce papers. Divorcing couples also need to pay various fees, work with a divorce lawyer, figure out their living situation, and determine the custody of children if any.
They can make the situation a bit easier by getting informed about the divorce process in their state of residency. How does it work in Georgia? Keep reading to find out!
Valid Grounds to Get Divorce in Georgia
Georgia isn’t one of “no-fault” divorce states. Aside from irretrievably broken marriage, there are also many other ways to get divorced in this state. That gives divorcing couples a lot of options (13 in total) to choose from.
The following are legal grounds for divorce in Georgia:
- Irretrievably broken marriage
- Impotency during the marriage
- Incurable mental illness
- Mental incapacity
- Habitual drug addiction
- Habitual intoxication
- Cruel treatment
- Fraud, menace, or duress used to force the spouse to get married
- Illegal marriage between close relatives
- A crime, i.e. a criminal conviction, involving moral turpitude
- The wife got pregnant by another man (not her husband) at the time of the marriage
How to Get a Divorce in Georgia
From residency to custody and abandonment, a wide range of factors come into play when filing for divorce or legal separation. Let’s cast some light on different circumstances spouses face when ending the marriage.
As for the residency requirements, either party must be a resident of Georgia and have a legal marriage domicile to establish divorce jurisdiction. You must have lived in this state for at least 6 months before filing for divorce.
Same State, Different Address
You’ll be capable of moving from one place (city or country) to another in Georgia. While you won’t be required to list each address, you shall prove the places you’ve ed lived in at the final court hearing.
Proof of Residency
Be prepared to prove your residency in Georgia when ending your marriage. As stated above, the courts require divorcing couples to verify their six-month residency. Make sure your proof of residency is valid. Otherwise, your divorce case will be overturned or dismissed.
Resident versus Nonresident
Divorce proceedings are taken on by courts even if one party doesn’t reside in Georgia. You may be wondering what happens if either spouse moved out of state upon filing for divorce. Don’t worry, your divorce case will still be considered.
How to Establish Residency
There are different way to establish residency, such as:
- Getting a driver’s license
- Registering to vote
- Getting a job in Georgia
- Registering a vehicle
- Opening charge accounts
- Taking out a valid library card, etc.
Whichever way you choose, avoid maintaining a residence out of Georgia which implies that you don’t plan on remaining in the state where you’ve filed for divorce.
There are counties in Georgia that determine the venue (actually court) for divorce proceedings. Some well-known and reputable venues include the State Court of Richmond County, Sumter County Courthouse, Grady County Courts, Fulton County Superior Court, and Cobb County Courts.
Keep in mind that it is mandatory to file for divorce in a county in which either party resides to have jurisdiction.
An uncontested divorce with no minor children doesn’t pose problems with property division, child custody, alimony, and child support. As there are no issues to address, the judge doesn’t have to settle any arguments between spouses.
In this case, the spouses have to deal with child support, alimony (or spousal support), and custody. All these things add to the cost. It is a good idea to use online maintenance (alimony) calculator to estimate your expenses after getting a divorce.
Georgia Family Laws
Georgia family law is specific in some matters. For example, it doesn’t recognize legal separation. Children who turn 11 are allowed by family law to decide on their residence. Read on to learn more.
Spousal Support, Maintenance, or Alimony
Alimony (also called spousal maintenance) is a payment one party should make regularly after the divorce. Under state law, spouses are responsible financially for each other. This responsibility lasts as long as the Decree in Divorce in Georgia is granted.
Unlike other states in which alimony is considered the broad remedy, it’s authorized when it comes to limited divorce situations in Georgia. It can be either permanent or rehabilitative.
Custody and Visitation
Visitation (parenting time) and custody orders are determined so that they suit children’s interests. Spouses need to share visitation and custody with that in mind. Even if they don’t make the parenting arrangement when ending their marriage, the judge will define and issue a court order that elucidates when children are going to be with their parents.
Child support is not always entirely controlled by the parenting agreement between ex-spouses. The custodial parent might not waive it on behalf of minor children. The Income Shares Model is used in Georgia when calculating child support.
Georgia Divorce Papers and Forms
Here are papers and forms you will probably need to prepare when completing a divorce in Georgia:
- Petition for Divorce
- Domestic Relations Case Filing Information Form
- Marriage Settlement Agreement
- Final Judgment & Decree
Luckily, divorce documents can be found online these days. That eliminates the need to go to the court clerk’s office. It takes 5-7 days to prepare all these papers and forms. Best of all, you can do it on your own without hiring a lawyer.
Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce in Georgia
To get an uncontested divorce in Georgia, all the marital concerns must be settled. The spouses need to reach an agreement on issues like:
- Parenting time
- Child support
- Alimony, and
- Property distribution
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How to File Divorce Papers in Georgia
Those who do not satisfy the residency requirements need to file divorce documents in the county in which their spouse resides. The process of filing divorce papers include a few steps. Let us break it down for you.
File your divorce paperwork
Be sure to file your divorce papers with the local clerk whose office is located in the county where
the other party lives. Contact the clerk before arriving to make sure you have gathered everything needed.
Bring along 2 copies besides the original documents. One copy is for the other party (you should serve it to your spouse) and another one is for you (keep it for your records).
Serve your spouse
If your spouse is likely to accept the service, then you should try to mail papers to him or her. Your spouse will in return acknowledge this and sign an Acknowledgement of Service. This is the easiest and most inexpensive way to serve the other party.
Not all spouses want to accept the service of the Complaint, though. If your spouse is not cooperative, you might need to hire a sheriff (this cost is about $50) or a private process server (the more expensive option) who is specially or permanently appointed to perform this job.
Some counties require divorcing couples to make full financial disclosures, which implies financial affidavits. Check the local rules in your county before filing for divorce.
You might be required to provide the following information on financial disclosures:
- Personal financial statements
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
- Tax returns
- Debts and assets
How to Serve Divorce Papers in Georgia
As mentioned above, you should serve divorce documents to your spouse. Bring the paperwork (the copies of papers) to him/her in person if you’re still on friendly terms with him/her. Alternatively, you can serve the documents by:
- Using a process server — it can be anyone over eighteen years of age with the process server certification or an off-duty deputy.
- Hiring an attorney to accept service of the Complaint.
- Mailing the complaint (the court clerk will do it for you) if the other party doesn’t want to accept service.
- Publication if you are not capable of locating your spouse.
How to Get a Divorce in Georgia Without a Lawyer
While a layer can increase your odds of winning the case, you will fork out thousands of dollars on attorney fees. That’s why many people avoid hiring divorce lawyers to prepare and file their documents.
File Divorce Papers Online
Filing divorce forms and papers online allows you to complete your divorce case without breaking the bank. Thankfully, there are a lot of divorce preparation services today. With over 700,000 users, CompleteCase is one of the best services in this field.
The service is geared towards spouses seeking an uncontested divorce. It enables them to save money and time while going through their divorce.
How does it work?
The users should go through a simple interview process first. That helps them organize their thoughts and solve unresolved problems regarding their divorce. They can change their papers as needed.
The process is straightforward. You will be provided with easy-to-follow directions that will guide you through the whole process.
Check if You Qualify
How is property divided in a divorce in Georgia?
Separate properties are usually retained by the original owner in divorce cases. As far as the marital properties are concerned, these are divided equitably between divorcing couples or in such a way that it seems most fair. Most often than not, marital property is not divided equally.
How much does a divorce cost in Georgia?
Filing fees in Georgia are approximately $200 when it comes to uncontested divorces. Most divorce attorneys charge from $250 to $310 per hour. The total cost of divorce is between $11,000 and $13,000 on average. Alimony, child custody and contested issues can dramatically increase this cost.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Georgia?
Even if your divorce is regarded as a ‘no-fault’ case, you will have to go through a mandatory waiting period. It takes the court up to 30 days to issue the final decree of divorce. In case of an uncontested divorce, the process takes from 45 to 60 days, which depends mostly on court availability.
How can I get a copy of my divorce in Georgia?
The only person who can provide you with certified copies of your divorce documents (like a divorce decree) is the Superior Court Clerk. You can obtain these papers in the physical office of the Clerk of Superior Court in the county where your divorce happened.
Do my spouse and I need to live in Georgia to get a divorce?
One spouse must have lived in the state of Georgia for 6 months or more. It is not necessary that both spouses are residents of Georgia in order to get a divorce.
Can I still get a divorce if my spouse doesn’t want to get one?
If one party refuse or avoid signing the divorce documents, the other party can still get a divorce. That will make it difficult for you to get divorced, though. Your spouse will receive notice of the divorce case and be required to appear at a hearing. If he/she doesn’t respond within thirty days of getting the court notice, the case will result in a default divorce.
In which Georgia courtroom might a divorcing couple file for a divorce?
The Superior Court is the courtroom in which every divorcing couple files for divorce in Georgia. It must be located in the county in which your spouse takes up residence. You will need to file for divorce in your county of residence in case your spouse doesn’t live in Georgia anymore.