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What to expect when filing for divorce in Georgia

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You may file for divorce in Georgia if you or your spouse has lived in the state for at least six months. The state allows for no-fault divorce proceedings, which means neither party has to prove the other is at fault to receive a divorce. 

Learn more about what to expect if you are thinking about ending your marriage in Georgia. 

How do I file?

You must submit a divorce petition in the county Superior Court where you or your spouse lives. With an uncontested divorce, which means you and your spouse agree on issues such as child custody and property division, you must include a settlement agreement outlining the proposed arrangement. You must officially serve your spouse with these papers so that he or she can respond if necessary. The court will schedule a hearing to review this paperwork, after which you will receive your official divorce decree. 

When you cannot reach a divorce agreement with your spouse, you must pursue a contested divorce. With this process, you must ask the court to decide about the contentious issues in your divorce. Both you and your spouse can present evidence to support your position. You must also provide complete financial disclosures so the judge can fairly and accurately make decisions about property division and related matters. 

How long does it take?

Even if you and your spouse agree on the terms of the divorce, Georgia requires you to wait at least 30 days after filing the papers to officially end your marriage. Unlike in some states, however, the law does not require you to live in a separate household during this waiting period. Divorces tend to take longer if one spouse seeks a fault-based divorce because of adultery, desertion, addiction or domestic violence. The divorce will also take longer if you cannot agree on the terms of property division, child custody and spousal support. 

While you can file for divorce without attorney representation, the state does not advise doing so unless you have a very simple uncontested divorce with little property and no minor children. 

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