Once you are served with a Complaint for Divorce in Georgia, you have 30 days in which to file an Answer to the Complaint. OCGA §9-11-12(a). An Answer directly responds to the allegations in the Complaint, asks for relief (custody,support, etc.) for the Respondent, and alleges any defenses or counterclaims. Some parts of the Answer are very straightforward, such as responding to allegations regarding the date of the marriage and how many children the parties have. These are often undisputed. Other times the Answer sets the stage for what the contested issues in the case will be. For example, if the Petitioner asks for spousal support in his/her Complaint, the Respondent may file an Answer denying that the Petitioner is entitled to that relief. The parties are then all aware that alimony will be a contested issue.
Once the Answer is filed, the divorce enters the 6-month discovery phase, where each spouse can gather information about the other spouse and his/her position in the divorce case. From there, the divorce case will move toward resolution through mediation and/or trial.