You will swear to your residency in your petition and may be asked to prove it in court. Proof includes drivers license, voter registration, utility bills, and rent receipts. If you live in another state, you can still file for divorce in the Georgia courts if your spouse has been a resident of the state for at least six months. If you have been a resident on any "United States army post or military reservation within this state" for at least one year, you can file for a divorce in a county adjacent to the base. Be prepared to document your residency on base or in military-controlled housing.
Decide your county of filing. Generally, in Georgia, you file for divorce in the county where your spouse lives.
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If your spouse has moved out of the state, you may file in your county of residence. In an uncontested divorce where your spouse consents, you can file the divorce in your county. The state law has no specific requirement of how long you or your spouse has to live in a county before filing, but it is a good idea to wait at least 30 days to make sure you are in compliance with local rules.
Gather the information for your petition. You need to include specific information in your divorce petition. A good way to get started is to complete the questionnaire developed by Legal Aid of Georgia. The staff attorneys of Legal Aid are well-versed in Georgia divorce procedure and prepared this as a guide to help in your pre-divorce planning. If a section doesn't apply to you, cross it out.
Decide on name changes. If one spouse assumed the other spouse's name during the marriage, they have the choice to keep their married name or revert to their original name. Whichever spouse prepares the documents needs to take this into consideration and include it in the petition. Prepare to pay the fees. There may be additional fees for a process server, document preparation, and for administrative costs such as copies. If you are low income, you may be eligible to have the filing fee reduced or waived by the court. This is called proceeding In Forma Pauperis. Legal Aid of Georgia has a fill-in-the-blanks application you can file with your petition.
If it is accepted by the court, your case can proceed. If it is denied, your divorce will not be put on the court's calendar until the fee is paid. Part 1 Quiz Which scenario allows you to get a divorce in Georgia?
Georgia No-Fault Divorce (No Children) - Legal Forms
You have a common law marriage beginning in and have lived in Georgia for 3 years. You have a common law marriage beginning in and have lived in Georgia for 2 months. You have a common law marriage beginning in and have lived at a U. Army base in Georgia for 1 year. You have a common law marriage beginning in and have lived in Georgia for 9 years.
Determine the reason for the divorce. Georgia law allows for a total of 13 different legal reasons, called grounds, for a total divorce. Twelve are fault-based. You will have to allege, and later prove, that your spouse did something wrong. The last, and most common, is the no-fault option, a simple statement that the marriage is "irretrievably broken. Many of these grounds date back to the original laws of over a century ago.
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Divorce is a very stressful time and it is not uncommon to want to punish your spouse for wrongdoing and to list as many faults as possible in the divorce petition. Before you do this, you should consider speaking with an attorney. When fault is used as grounds for divorce, your spouse has the right to not only claim defenses and demand you provide proof for your accusations, but also file a counterclaim with allegations of fault against you.
Unless an attorney counsels you that a fault-based divorce is in your best interest, such as physical violence, strongly consider using the no-fault option. Prepare your divorce petition. You will use the information from your questionnaire to prepare the divorce petition for filing with the court. As someone who is acting without an attorney, called being pro se , you will be given deference by the court. A well-prepared divorce petition is the first step to an uncomplicated divorce.
Legal Aid of Georgia has a fill-in-the-blank divorce package for agreed and uncontested divorces both without children  and with children.
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Georgia allows for unbundled legal services. This means that attorneys can prepare divorce petitions and other documents for either an hourly or flat fee. Even if you and your spouse agree on terms, if you have a complex property situation, it may be worth it to have an attorney prepare and review your settlement.
There are several for-profit and self-help services available to prepare documents at little to no cost. Quality may vary and you use them at your own risk. One way to check the quality of the service is to perform an online search with the name of the service and "complaint" or "review" to see if anyone has any opinions on the site.
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Prepare the child-specific documents. If you and your spouse have children under the age of 18, you will need to include plans for the parenting and financial support of your children. This document will detail parenting time schedules, holiday times, and any responsibilities that you and your spouse want to detail in the plan. The more cooperative the parenting plan is, the more likely the court will accept it without modification.
All divorces with minor children must include a child support calculation. If you or your spouse are unemployed and not disabled, the court will assume that you are capable of earning minimum wage and will base calculations on that wage. The support amount depends on the number of children and is set by the legislature in obligation tables. That amount will be split between the two parents based on their percentage of the gross income.
The parties can deviate from the presumptive child support amount if both agree and can show there is adequate resources to provide for the child's needs. However, a child support calculation still needs to be attached to the divorce filing. If you and your spouse cannot agree on custody and support of your children, the court may refer you to Alternate Dispute Resolution ADR including mediation.
If the court orders you to ADR, your divorce will not be granted or set for trial until you have made a good faith effort to settle the disputed points. If the divorce is grounded in domestic violence or credible threats of child abuse, you should consult with a family law attorney before filing your case as a pro se litigant. This is to protect you from being forced into ADR and ending up in a potentially dangerous situation.
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Sign and notarize your documents. If you and your spouse are in agreement, you will both sign the documents in the presence of a notary. Blue ink is preferred to show the signatures are original. File your documents at the courthouse. If your spouse has agreed to the divorce, you will be filing a waiver of service document. If not, you will take a set of file-stamped documents to either the sheriff or a private process server who will deliver them to your spouse. This fee cannot be waived by the court.
Your spouse has approximately 20 days after being served to answer the petition. Schedule your court date. Depending on the complexity of the divorce, the case may be scheduled for a preliminary hearing date.
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Otherwise, on an agreed-to consensual divorce, you will most likely be scheduled for a single final hearing date after the expiration of the service period. Part 2 Quiz Why is it risky to file a fault-based divorce? You have to pay more fees. You might have to provide proof. Legal plans Browse attorney directory Legal document review Speak with an attorney. Check order status Contact us Visit our resource center. Check order status Dashboard Sign out Sign in. Haman, Esq.