Divorce can be an emotionally draining time, but with a dedicated divorce lawyer on your side, it doesn’t have to be confusing. Fennell, Briasco & Associates are here with a brief overview of divorce procedures to help make it a little easier.

Consider Your Divorce Options

If you and your partner both agree to the divorce and all terms thereof, an uncontested divorce is a streamlined and cost-effective option. While an uncontested divorce is usually less complicated, we still recommend each party consult with a divorce attorney to establish fair terms for things like asset divisions, child or spousal support, and custody arrangements.

If you and your spouse are struggling to come to an agreement, then your divorce is considered “contested” by default. It’s common for disagreements to arise over child or spousal support, divisions of debt, parenting plans, and other personal disputes, but a good divorce attorney will fight for your best interests during a contested divorce to help get you your best result. Even contested cases can become uncontested during the course of the litigation if everyone reaches an agreement on all issues.

Please note that just because both parties agree to get divorced, that does not make your divorce uncontested. What makes a divorce uncontested is having the parties agree on all issues, including child custody, parenting time schedules, child support, division of assets and debts, and payment of attorney’s fees.

Legal Separation vs. Divorce

To obtain a divorce, the parties must show that they have been living in a “bonafide state of separation.” You can be living in this bonafide state of separation even if you continue to reside in the same house, so long as you are not engaging in marital relations.

This is not the same thing as being “legally separated.” A Legal Separation action, or Separate Maintenance, is a separate and distinct legal action where the parties stay legally married to one another, but separate their assets and debts as if they were getting a divorce. Despite the fact that this action is similar to a divorce, it does not formally divorce the parties so as to allow them to remarry. It does, however, sometimes allow parties to maintain certain spousal benefits, such as insurance coverage, even though the rest of the assets and debts having been divided.

File Official Complaint for Divorce

The first step of the divorce process in Georgia is to file an official complaint, or petition, for divorce. The Complaint for Divorce is a general document that contains basic information for the Court to get the process started. This includes the date of your marriage, date of your separation, your children’s identifying information, and statements regarding correct jurisdiction and venue. This document, along with the required filing forms, are then served upon your spouse. There are multiple ways service can be perfected and you should consult with your legal team to select the best option for your situation. Once your spouse is served, they have 30 days to respond to the Complaint formally with the Court.

If you have questions, or if you need an Atlanta area divorce lawyer to represent your best interests, call Fennell, Briasco & Associates at 770-956-4030. We’re the experienced family law attorneys you can depend on for results.

Frequently Asked Questions about Filing for Divorce

What are the procedures to file for a divorce?

First, you must file a Complaint for Divorce in the correct county and court and have that Complaint served upon the opposing party. The Complaint must contain certain information to ensure it conforms with the state laws as well as any local rules for the County it is being filed in.

Do I have to have a lawyer when I am getting a divorce?
No, a lawyer is not required for a divorce in Georgia. However, it is always encouraged that parties involved in litigation hire an attorney to assist with the process, the laws, and the local rules. Spending funds to hire an attorney upfront may save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
What happens during the process of divorce?
A divorce starts with a complaint (or petition), being filed by one party and served upon the other party. If the parties come to an agreement, the formal settlement paperwork can be drafted and signed by both parties in front of a notary. Some Courts require a final hearing to finalize the divorce, but other counties do not. If the parties do not have an agreement, they may participate in discovery, attend mediation, attend a Temporary Hearing, or participate in other litigation events before a Final Hearing can occur. If there are children involved, then both parties will also be required to attend a Divorcing Parents Seminar.