- How does the divorce process work in Georgia?
The divorce process can work in a variety of ways, depending on the
circumstances of your case. Below is a generic overview of the basic divorce process:
- One spouse files a complaint for divorce in the appropriate county
- The complaint for divorce is then served, by law on the other party. This can be
accomplished by agreement or through law enforcement.
- The party being sued for divorce has 30 days to file a response for the complaint
- Either party may request a temporary hearing to resolve matters of child support,
custody or spousal support on a temporary basis.
- During this time the parties may exchange information about all aspects relating
to each other as it pertains to their divorce, via a process called discovery.
- At this time the parties may exchange settlement offers or attend a formal
mediation where a neutral party hopes to facilitate a settlement of all matters
- If the parties are unable to settle their case they may request a trial before a judge
or a jury
- How long does the divorce process take? What is the waiting period for a
divorce in Georgia? How soon can a Georgia divorce be granted?
By law the state of Georgia can only grant a divorce 31 days after everything has
been filed. Therefore, technically, it is possible to get divorced in 32 days, but this occurs
in the rarest of circumstances and typically applies to uncontested divorces.
The length of the divorce process is really based on the complexity of the case. Some
examples include, the inability to agree on any aspect of their divorce, parties with
complex financial assets and battles over child custody. Before a court will grant a
divorce, every issue pertaining to the spouse's marriage needs to be resolved and the
conduct of the parties during this process can greatly shorten or lengthen the divorce
- How much does a divorce cost?
Once again, this answer depends on the circumstances of the party. Costs can
vary based on the ability or inability of the parties to come to an agreement on their
divorce issues. Generally, the more the parties agree upon the less they will spend on
- Can I file for divorce myself?
Yes. Georgia allows for parties to represent themselves in a divorce action.
- Why should I hire an attorney for my divorce?
While not required, hiring an attorney for your divorce action is recommended.
The divorce process can be extraordinarily complex. It should come as no surprise that
licensed attorneys who are going through the divorce process hire divorce attorneys to
represent them. The divorce process can be an emotionally draining experience. A good
attorney will provide the proper guidance and legal expertise needed to protect your
rights and relieve the stress and frustration associated with the divorce process. For
example, even the most skilled surgeon would not perform surgery on him or herself.
- How do I prepare for the divorce process?
Hiring an attorney you feel comfortable with is the first step. You should be prepared
mentally, emotionally and financially to proceed if possible. Start building your support
network of family and friends you can depend on during this time. Start preparing
as much information s you can pertaining to your family's assists including but not
limited to tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, investments account
- How long do I need to be separated to get divorced?
The state of Georgia does not require a specific separation period prior to filing a divorce
action. You just have to be living in a bona fide state of separation. This does not mean
that you have to be living in separate homes and in fact don't have to even be sleeping in
different beds or bedrooms. Bona Fide state of separation essentially means you are no
longer having sex with each other.
- What is an uncontested divorce?
Imagine a situation where you and your spouse have resolved all issues regarding your
divorce. You have separated your assets, dealt with the house and decided the custody
arrangement of your children. In this case, you decided you only need an attorney to
put your agreement into a legal format and file the appropriate paperwork on your
behalf. While the attorney cannot represent both you and your spouse, the attorney can
prepare all the documents for your signatures and assist you with obtain your divorce as
constructed by you and your spouse.
- How is custody of the children determined?
The state of Georgia determines custody based on the best interests of the child
standard. The court will look at and consider almost any evidence relevant to making
that determination. In more complex cases, the court will look to a Guardian Ad litem
(an expert who is appointed to represent the child's best interests), therapists, and/ or
custody evaluators to assist in the determination. The court will take into consideration
the child's wishes at ages 11-14 and the court will allow a 14 year old or older child to
elect where he or she wants to live. Of course, the 14 year old (or older) child's election
is a rebuttable presumption.
- How is child support calculated in Georgia?
Child support is calculated under the Georgia Child support guidelines. See O.C.G.A.
§19-6-15. Child support can be calculated for either for temporary or permanent
support. The parties' gross income from all sources is calculated in a child support
worksheet to determine child support.
- What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody in
In Georgia there are two types of custody. There is physical custody and
legal custody. For practical purposes, physical custody describes with which parent does
the child or children primarily live. Legal custody addresses decision making. More
specifically, legal custody addresses which parent makes major decisions affecting the
child's best interests such as medical, education, extracurricular, and religious decisions
of a minor child.
- Who is the best divorce lawyer in Georgia?
We are often asked "Who is the best divorce attorney in Georgia?" or "Who is the top
lawyer in Atlanta?" and similar questions. The reality is that there are many excellent
attorneys who focus on the practice of family law. The best attorney is an experienced
lawyer that you feel comfortable with, keeps you apprised of the current status of your
case and the next steps involved, and who you feel responds to your questions and
concerns in a timely manner while also providing insightful and strategic guidance and/
- What are the grounds for divorce in Georgia?
In Georgia there are 13 grounds for divorce with the most common ground being that
the marriage is irretrievably broken (referred to as a "no-fault ground"). Irretrievably
broken is similar to the term "irreconcilable differences" that many other states use for a
no-fault divorce, but importantly, they are not the same and a divorce in Georgia cannot
be granted using the "irreconcilable differences" phrase. Other than the ground that the
marriage is irretrievably broken, the 12 grounds for a Georgia divorce are known as fault
grounds. The most common fault grounds that parties pursue when seeking a divorce
are the grounds of adultery and cruel treatment.
O.C.G.A. §19-5-3 lists the 13 grounds for divorce in Georgia. It states:
The following grounds shall be sufficient to authorize the granting of a total divorce:
(Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity;
(Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage;
(Impotency at the time of the marriage;
(Force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage;
(Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage,
unknown to the husband;
(Adultery in either of the parties after marriage;
(Willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year;
(The conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude, under which
he is sentenced to imprisonment in a penal institution for a term of two years or longer;
(1Cruel treatment, which shall consist of the willful infliction of pain, bodily or
mental, upon the complaining party, such as reasonably justifies apprehension of
danger to life, limb, or health;
(1Incurable mental illness. No divorce shall be granted upon this ground unless the
mentally ill party has been adjudged mentally ill by a court of competent jurisdiction or
has been certified to be mentally ill by two physicians who have personally examined the
party; and he has been confined in an institution for the mentally ill or has been under
continuous treatment for mental illness for a period of at least two years immediately
preceding the commencement of the action; and the superintendent or other chief
executive officer of the institution and one competent physician appointed by the
court, after a thorough examination, make a certified statement under oath that it is
their opinion that the party evidences such a want of reason, memory, and intelligence
as to prevent the party from comprehending the nature, duties, and consequences
of the marriage relationship and that, in the light of present day medical knowledge,
recovery of the party's mental health cannot be expected at any time during his life.
Notice of the action must be served upon the guardian of the person of the mentally ill
person and upon the superintendent or other chief executive officer of the institution in
which the person is confined. In the event that there is no guardian of the person, then
notice of the action shall be served upon a guardian ad litem, who shall be appointed
by the court in which the divorce action is filed, and upon the superintendent or chief
executive officer of the institution in which the person is confined. The guardian and
superintendent shall be entitled to appear and be heard upon the issues. The status of
the parties as to the support and maintenance of the mentally ill person shall not be
altered in any way by the granting of the divorce;
(1Habitual drug addiction, which shall consist of addiction to any controlled
substance as defined in Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 16;
(1The marriage is irretrievably broken. Under no circumstances shall the court grant
a divorce on this ground until not less than 30 days from the date of service on the
- What is a no-fault divorce in Georgia?
In Georgia, to obtain a no-fault divorce on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably
broken, one party must simply establish that he or she refuses to live with his or
her spouse and that there is no hope of reconciliation. Fault or wrongdoing is not a
requirement and only one party has to allege the marriage is irretrievably broken.
- Will the judge grant a divorce if one party does not want it? Can I stop
my husband or wife from divorcing me?
It only takes one party to want the divorce and prove the marriage is irretrievably
broken with no hope of reconciliation. Even if the other party does not desire the
divorce, that alone is not enough to stop it from proceeding and being granted.
- What areas does Naggiar & Sarif serve?