Thanks for printing! Don't forget to come back to Meriwether & Tharp, LLC for fresh articles!
One of the first things you will need to consider is whether your divorce will be a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce. Divorce begins when one party files a “complaint for divorce” which is a legal document that explains to the court that a divorce is being sought. After the complaint is filed, a copy of the complaint must then be served on the opposing party. After that, the opposing party will have 30 days to file an “answer,” which is essentially a response to the complaint.
How long does it take to get divorced?
The complexity, circumstances and facts of each case are different. Thus, the length of the divorce process varies case by case. If the parties have already come to an agreement regarding the issues concerning the divorce, the divorce is considered uncontested. An uncontested divorce may be granted thirty (31) days after the defendant has been served with the complaint for divorce. If the divorce is contested, meaning that there is a disagreement as to any matter pertaining to the divorce agreement, the divorce will be obtained once the case is heard, reviewed and decided by the court. In general, assuming thirty (30) days to have an answer filed, six (6) months of discovery, potential motions to be heard by a court prior to a trial being able to be granted and some additional time waiting for your final trial date, it is not uncommon for the entire process to take six (6) months to several years.
Does it Matter who Files First?Does it matter who files for divorce first? The answer, like so many in the law, is maybe. In actuality, there are times when you want to file first and other times that it is better to wait.
Grounds for Divorce
In Georgia, there are thirteen statutory grounds for divorce according to O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3. The most often relied upon grounds for divorce include adultery, desertion, cruel treatment, and that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Filing the Complaint
A Complaint for Divorce is the legal document that initiates divorce proceedings. In order to begin proceedings, the plaintiff, usually through his or her attorney, must file the original complaint or petition with the Clerk of the Court in the appropriate county.
Service of Process
In Georgia, “Process” consists of the summons and the complaint. Both documents must be served on the defendant in order to initiate a divorce action. In order for service of process to be considered proper, the plaintiff must comply with the procedural rules of the Georgia Civil Practice Act.