Do I have to live in Georgia to file for a divorce in Georgia?
Yes. At least one of the parties (spouses) must live in Georgia for at least six (6) months to file for divorce in Georgia.
What if my spouse does not want a divorce?
This does not matter. If one party wants a divorce, that party may file for the divorce regardless of the other party’s position. This will be a contested divorce and may take longer to resolve.
What are the grounds for divorce in Georgia?
Georgia does not require a finding of fault for divorce. Parties commonly cite “irreconcilable differences” as grounds for the divorce.
What if one party is at fault?
Georgia allows for fault-based divorce on several grounds, including: adultery, drug addiction, and imprisonment. A finding of fault will likely impact support order and custody agreements. For example, in Georgia adultery is a complete bar to an alimony award.
Do I have to hire a divorce attorney?
It is possible to appear pro se (without an attorney) but it is not advisable, particularly where children are involved. A later modification to the agreement is very difficult (and likely expensive) to obtain and then only support agreements may be modified. The division of property will never be available for a modification once the judge signs the final decree. It is best to have the divorce done properly the first time to avoid going back to court later.
Do both parties need their own attorney?
That depends on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. Uncontested divorces are where the parties agree to all terms prior to filing for the divorce. Uncontested divorces often do not involve children or significant assets. In this case, one party may hire an attorney to draw up the agreement and both parties will sign the agreement.
A contested divorce requires negotiation over the terms before the parties can come to an agreement. In the case of a contested divorce, each party must be represented by their own attorney because the dispute will likely need to be resolved through mediation or litigation.
I have only been married for a short time. Can I just get an annulment in Georgia easily?
Annulments are rare and usually on granted in cases of fraud.
Do we have to be legally separated to file for divorce in Georgia?
Yes, but a “legal separation” does not necessarily mean the parties are not living together. In Georgia, it depends on whether the couple considers themselves to be separated at the time.
Can I get alimony in Georgia?
Alimony or spousal support is available in Georgia but is decided on a case-by-case basis. The court will look at each party’s income and debts amongst several other factors to determine which, if any, party will pay alimony.
How will the court decide how much child support is to be paid?
Georgia courts universally use a child support worksheet to determine which party pays child support and how much will be paid. The worksheet balances the income and debts of each party to generate an amount of support.
What happens if I need more child support later?
Modifications can be requested every two years if a party has a “significant change in circumstances”. In the event that the paying party experiences a job loss, the request can be brought almost any time regardless of the two year time limit.
How will the court divide our property?
Georgia courts use equitable division to divide marital property. Marital property is anything purchased with marital funds. Property division is complex because some things will be considered marital property by the court, even where the parties do not consider the property to be marital. For this reason, couples with significant assets should always hire an attorney.
How do I change my name in Georgia?
A woman may return to her maiden name by including such a provision in the uncontested divorce agreement and courts order, or by asking the court for a name change in a contested action. This will be reflected in the final divorce decree, which the woman may then use as proof of the name change in order to change her name on her bank accounts, passport, social security card, etc.
How long does it take to finalize a divorce in Georgia?
The finalizing of the divorce proceeding is really up to the parties. An uncontested divorce is much shorter because the parties already agree on the terms but contested divorces are much more common. Often couples will blame courts and attorneys for drawing out the process but the reality is, the parties have total control over the length of the divorce proceeding. As soon as the parties can come to an agreement, the proceeding is over. Once the agreement if filed with the court, the judge will usually issue the final decree within forty-five (45) days.
Do I have to wait until the divorce is finalized to start dating?
Yes. Once the divorce is final, the parties are free to pursue new relationships. However, this is strongly discouraged while the divorce is in process.
Do you have more questions about divorce in Georgia and the divorce process?
If you have any questions about the divorce process in Georgia, contact us at 770-609-1247 to speak with one of our experienced divorce and family law attorneys.