How Do You File for Divorce?

how do you file for divorce

Headed for divorce and not sure where to start?

Ending your marriage is an emotionally taxing process that can be difficult to navigate. If you’re a resident of Georgia and are considering filing for divorce, understanding how the process works is essential.

One crucial resource you need during this trying time is the legal counsel of an experienced Atlanta divorce lawyer. We’ll walk you through the requirements and steps necessary to file for divorce in the Peach State. This will help ensure your rights and interests remain protected throughout the legal proceedings.

Georgia Divorce: An Overview

Fault Divorce vs. No-Fault Divorce

In the Peach State, parties may file either fault or no-fault divorce proceedings. A no-fault divorce means neither side has to prove any wrongdoing on behalf of their spouse to end the marriage. They’ll simply cite “irreconcilable differences” as their reason for divorce.

Fault divorces, on the other hand, allow one party to allege grounds such as adultery or abandonment against their partner. This could impact property division and alimony payments in some Atlanta divorce cases.

Additionally, regardless of whether you choose fault or no-fault proceedings, both spouses must agree on all issues related to child support, child custody, and visitation rights. If not, the court will decide these matters based on what they deem best for the children involved.

Grounds for Divorce in Georgia

A divorce in Georgia can be initiated on one of two grounds: mutual consent or fault-based.

If both parties agree to the terms and decisions in their divorce proceedings, then they may choose to file for divorce under the mutual consent option. This is often seen as the easier route since it requires less paperwork and court visits than filing for a fault-based divorce.

Fault-based divorces require evidence of wrongdoing committed by one spouse during the marriage.

The most common fault claims are:

  • Adultery
  • Cruelty
  • Desertion or abandonment
  • Drug addiction
  • Mental incapacity

The person who files for fault-based divorce must successfully prove these claims before being granted a final decree of dissolution. This means that fault-based divorces require a more complex process than those filed through mutual consent.

No matter which ground you choose when filing for divorce in Georgia, understanding all applicable laws beforehand will help ensure your case proceeds smoothly and efficiently.

Filing For Divorce: Residency Requirements

To be eligible to file a complaint for a divorce in Georgia, at least one of the parties must have been an actual resident of the state for six months or more prior to filing. Additionally, any active-duty military personnel who are stationed in the state count as residents and can seek a divorce even if they have not lived there for six months yet.

It is important to note that if a party does not reside within the county where they plan to file their Petition for Divorce, then it will also need to be established that either party has been living in said county for at least 30 days prior to filing. This requirement gives local courts jurisdiction over your case.

Preparing for Divorce

Taking the time to make sure all documents are in order and that you have a full understanding of the process can help ensure your case goes as smoothly as possible. Even if you’re going for an uncontested divorce, having a strong foundation beforehand will be beneficial.

You should also be familiar with all details, such as how long it takes to get divorced in your county and what paperwork needs to be filled out during this period. With these points in mind, couples should feel confident when preparing for their upcoming divorces.

Filing the Divorce Petition

The first document needed in Georgia is a Petition for Divorce. This can be done either by one spouse or jointly, with both spouses signing.

The petition should include basic information about each spouse, including assets and debts, children involved (if there are any), as well as the grounds for the divorce.

It’s important to make sure that all of the required paperwork is correctly filled out before submitting it. If not, it could delay the entire process. Additionally, depending on your county, some forms may need to be completed online, while others will require paper copies to be filed at the courthouse. Make sure to check which options are available in your area so that everything runs smoothly.

Serving the Divorce Petition

In order to file for divorce in Georgia, it is necessary to properly serve the divorce petition. This document must be served on your spouse or their legal representative and can be done by delivering a hard copy of the papers in person, through certified mail with a return receipt requested, or even via an appointed process server.

Once you have chosen how you will serve the documents, it’s important that they are properly filled out and signed according to state law. In addition, any accompanying forms, such as summonses, should also be included at this time.

Proof of service must then be filed with the court when all paperwork has been completed correctly. It’s essential that these steps are followed carefully so as not to delay proceedings or risk having your case dismissed due to incorrect filing procedures.

Reach Out to a Knowledgeable Atlanta Family Law Attorney

The process of filing for divorce in Georgia can seem daunting.

But with the right preparation and information, it doesn’t have to be.

During this legal and emotional process, get help from an experienced Atlanta divorce lawyer. At Edwards Family Law, we understand the stress you’re feeling and the need for proceedings to move as swiftly and efficiently as possible. We’re here to help you through your divorce and any other Georgia family law matters you may be facing.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation on your Georgia divorce case.

Author Bio

Regina Edwards is the Owner and Managing Attorney of Edwards Family Law, an Atlanta family law and estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With more than 21 years of experience practicing law, she is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including divorce, child custody, child support, legitimation, wills, trusts, probate, and Medicaid planning.

Regina received her Juris Doctor from the Tulane School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers for six years, as well as being named among the Pro Bono All Stars by the Georgia Bar Journal in 2019.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google