Uncontested divorce in georgiaAn uncontested divorce Georgia might already be on the cards if your marriage has been on the rocks. After all, it is the simplest and often the cheapest to end a marriage – no wonder it would be the top choice for most spouses. However, there are conditions and an intricate filing process for an uncontested divorce in Georgia.

This article explains what an uncontested divorce is, its requirements, and how to file in Georgia.

Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce Georgia

Individuals seeking to file an uncontested divorce in GA must be a resident of the state. What’s more, they have to provide valid grounds or legal reasons for divorce. According to Georgia residency requirements, you are a resident if you have lived in the state for six months before filing for divorce.

Before filing, you must also state the grounds for divorce. Georgia allows both fault-based and no-fault types of divorce. As such, you can cite “fault” or “no-fault” grounds.

For fault-based grounds, one spouse alleges that the other spouse was liable for wrongdoing that led to the breakdown of the marriage. On the other hand, no-fault grounds are those that don’t allocate blame for the divorce to either spouse.

What Are the Grounds for Divorce in GA?

These are the valid grounds for divorce in Georgia:

  • Willful and continued desertion by either spouse for one year
  • Adultery
  • Conviction of either spouse due to a moral vice that results in a two-year term imprisonment, or longer
  • Habitual drug addiction or intoxication
  • Domestic violence or mental cruelty
  • Chronic mental illness
  • Irretrievably broken marriage

Spouses who file for a no fault divorce Georgia simply need to state that their marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no hope for reconciliation. Giving this reason potentially makes the divorce easier as the other spouse is less likely to object to this reason compared to other fault-based grounds.

However, there is a catch with a no-fault divorce. The petitioning spouse has to wait for at least 30 days from the date their spouse receives service of divorce papers for a Georgia court to grant a divorce on the grounds of an irretrievably broken marriage.

Divorce Settlement Agreements in an Uncontested Divorce

Spouses don’t need to have all the divorce-related issues sorted out before filing the paperwork. However, they have to resolve these issues before a judge reviews their proposed settlement. That said, spouses have to find time to come up with an amicable solution that suits the interests of both parties.

After agreeing to the matters at hand, spouses have to incorporate the solution in a divorce settlement agreement in writing. This is a written contract between spouses detailing the terms of the divorce and is usually binding on both parties.

Spouses can access and fill out agreement forms from their Georgia county Superior Court. The agreement form is then filed with the court to complete the process of an uncontested divorce.

Working with a professional such as an attorney or mediator can help spouses reach an agreement more amicably, complete the paperwork correctly, and finalize the divorce within the shortest time possible.

How To File an Uncontested Divorce in Georgia

Before you consider filing for an uncontested divorce, ensure that you comply with the requirements for residency. There are several steps involved in filing for an uncontested divorce in Georgia. You must understand these steps if you are representing yourself. Otherwise, an attorney will help you navigate the process if you retain one.

– Gather the Necessary Information

Even if you are preparing to file for an uncontested divorce, you still need some information to help you come up with a suitable divorce settlement agreement. Doing this will ready you to authoritatively but peacefully negotiate custody, support, spousal support, parenting time, property distribution, and other divorce-related issues.

Being thorough with information-gathering will likely facilitate smoother discussions with your spouse. Get the relevant personal information, banking documents, tax and real property records, child-related expenses, insurance policies, retirement plan information, estate planning documents, and any other relevant information.

– Fill Out the Divorce Papers

Depending on your circumstances, you may have to fill out different forms. One of the things you will have to consider is whether you and your spouse have minor children.

The forms you will have to complete at the beginning and in the course of the process include the following:

  • Case Filing Information Form
  • Complaint for Divorce or Petition for Divorce – Depending on your county, these will either be a Petition for Divorce with Minor Children or Without Children.
  • Verification
  • Sheriff’s Entry of Service
  • Summons
  • Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit
  • Acknowledgment of Service and Consent to Jurisdiction
  • Disclosure Statement – States whether the spouses have a settlement agreement
  • Answer and Counterclaim
  • Notice of Hearing (Rule Nisi)
  • Final Judgment and Decree

The Petition for Divorce form for uncontested divorces in Georgia with children involved tends to be more complex since there are more issues to be addressed, including custody, support, parenting time, and others.

Given the different forms you may be required to fill in an uncontested divorce, you must keep the communication lines between you and your spouse open. That helps you work through the paperwork easily and complete the process sooner.

– File the Paperwork and Pay the Fee

After completing the complaint and any other relevant paperwork, it is time to submit it to your county’s Clerk of the Superior Court. You will also need to pay the filing fees, ranging from $200 to $220, depending on your county. You will also be required to pay a small fee (about $50) for the service of divorce paperwork by the Sheriff’s Department.

If you feel that the fees are unduly burdensome and can’t afford to pay, you can file an Affidavit of Indigence (also known as Poverty Affidavit) to request a fee waiver. This request won’t be granted immediately, and you will have to provide proof that you deserve the waiver.

– Serve the Complaint for Divorce

Serving your spouse with the court paperwork means that you officially notify them of your intent to divorce. In an uncontested divorce, you can deliver copies of the divorce paperwork to your spouse yourself.

Your spouse will have to sign the “Acknowledge of Service” form to acknowledge the receipt of the documents. The form will then be filed with the court.

If you or your spouse prefer an alternative method, you can have the paperwork delivered through a private process server or a Sheriff’s deputy.

Upon service of divorce papers, your spouse has 30 days to respond. Failure to file a response could prompt the court to enter a “default,” meaning that the process can go on without your spouse’s participation.

– Exchange Financial Disclosures

No contest divorce georgiaGeorgia divorce laws ensure a fair and equitable distribution of marital assets and debts during a divorce.

As part of a no contest divorce Georgia, spouses are supposed to fill out and exchange financial affidavits.

Financial disclosures offer a detailed summary of one’s marital finances, including bank accounts, real property, incomes, cars, homes, retirement accounts, and other assets.

Each spouse is also required to list out their debts and obligations after considering what they deem separate and marital property.

– Complete a Divorce Settlement Agreement

In a Georgia uncontested divorce, spouses need to come up with a settlement agreement and present it before the court for review. Settlement agreements contain the specific terms of your divorce, including child custody, support, parenting time, alimony, property distribution, and other related issues.

Some couples draft an agreement early on in the process. Others wait until all information is exchanged and after any differences are resolved. A settlement agreement helps you and your partner to cooperate throughout the process.

– Finalize Your Uncontested Divorce

Before getting your final divorce decree, you will have to wait for about 31 days after the service of divorce papers to your spouse or after they signed an acknowledgment of service. You might have to wait longer (46 days) if your spouse fails to file an answer to the petition for divorce.

You can file a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings form if you are looking to avoid attending a hearing. Filing the form means that you are okay with the judge deciding whether or not to grant the divorce based on the submitted documents.

In most cases, a judge will require you to attend a final divorce hearing. For an uncontested divorce, such a hearing will be brief as it typically involves answering a few questions asked by the judge. If a judge determines that you have satisfied the legal requirements, they will sign the final divorce decree. At this point, your uncontested divorce process will be finalized.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is a type of divorce wherein the spouses resolve all their marital matters before filing the case. That means resolving issues such as child custody support, parenting time (visitation), spousal support, and division of marital property.

It is the opposite of a contested divorce, where spouses disagree on some or all divorce-related issues and have to turn to the court for a decision. The process for a contested divorce involves a trial, evidence examination, and the calling of witnesses. As such, this process can take a long time.

– Quickest Option for Separation

An uncontested divorce offers a faster way of terminating your marriage. Today, spouses can even file for a divorce online. However, there is still an option of getting legal help from a professional even when filing for an uncontested divorce.

If you can find common ground and cooperate with your spouse, you can avoid retaining a divorce attorney or the drawn-out court processes. This means less legal costs and a chance to focus on carrying on with your lives.

Children in an Uncontested Divorce

If you and your partner have children together, you will have to come up with a parenting plan agreement, including custody and visitation. A judge will issue an Order Approving Parenting Plan after reviewing the information.

Under Georgia law, and as part of the divorce process, you will have to fill out a Child Support Worksheet for the calculation of child support. Also, the law requires that parents attend a mandatory seminar regarding issues related to children and divorce.

FAQ

– How Much Will an Uncontested Divorce Cost?

An uncontested divorce can range from $300 to $800. This will include the filing and process server fees, which will be to the tune of $300. If you procure online document preparation services to complete your forms, you could be looking at an additional $150 to $500. Yet, This type of divorce is still the least expensive way to dissolve your marriage.

– Must I Get a Lawyer in an Uncontested Divorce?

No. Since you and your spouse will agree on most issues, you can complete and file the required documents without involving a Georgia divorce lawyer. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t seek professional advice if you encounter issues in the process.

– Can We Get a Divorce in Georgia if We Were Married in Another State?

Yes. You can get an uncontested divorce in Georgia, provided you or your partner meet the state’s six-month requirement of residency.

Conclusion

Uncontested divorce georgiaSpouses looking to terminate their marriage via a quick divorce in GA can do so by filing for an uncontested divorce. This article highlights the grounds for divorce in Georgia, the requirements, and the steps involved in an uncontested divorce. Below are the main things to recall:

  • An uncontested divorce is that in which spouses agree on all or most of the divorce-related issues.
  • Filing for an uncontested divorce is easy if the grounds for divorce is an irretrievably broken marriage.
  • After filing the relevant documents with the court, you will have to attend a final hearing where the judge gives the final divorce decree.
  • Through an uncontested divorce, you can avoid lengthy legal proceedings and the usually high cost of divorce.

Today, there are many ways spouses can formally terminate their marriage. If there are a few or no contentious issues, the best way is to file for an uncontested divorce. Provided you meet the requirements for this type of divorce in Georgia, you can formalize your marriage termination in as little as one month.

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