Contemplating the end of your marriage is an emotionally demanding situation. It may be difficult to know where to begin.
Becoming familiar with the divorce process can help you think clearly about what steps to take to dissolve your marriage.
Here is an overview of everything divorcing couples in Buford need to know about Georgia divorce laws.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE IN GEORGIA
Georgia has thirteen grounds for divorce. Twelve are ‘fault-based’ grounds where one spouse must prove to the court that the other spouse is solely at fault or responsible for causing the breakdown of the marriage.
These include adultery, abandonment and abuse.
The other ground for divorce is the ‘no fault’ ground known as “the marriage is irretrievably broken”. Hrere, neither party has to show wrongdoing by the other and the marriage is simply considered broken beyond repair. This is by far the most common cited ground for divorce, as it is truly the most common reason couples decide to split.
FILING FOR DIVORCE IN BUFORD
In order to file for divorce in Georgia, one spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months. The spouse seeking the divorce, or plaintiff, will file a complaint with the Superior Court in the county where the other spouse (the defendant) lives.
If the couple has already physically separated, and the defendant has moved to a different county, the complaint can be filed in the plaintiff’s county of residence.
The divorce complaint will include information on the spouses’ present living arrangement, finances, children, and the specific grounds for seeking a divorce.
Once filed, the sheriff or an appointed process server will serve the other spouse with a copy of the Summons and Complaint.
Alternatively, if the Defendant is aware that the divorce is being filed, he or she may simply acknowledge service to avoid being served by an officer of the law or court.
THE DIVORCE PROCESS FOR FAMILIES IN GEORGIA
Not every divorce complaint requires a physical court appearance. Sometimes divorcing couples are able to reach an agreement on division of assets, custody arrangements, and visitation rights.
The agreement is presented to the court and, if approved by the judge, a final decree will be issued. An uncontested, no fault divorce with a settlement agreement can be granted in as few as 31 days after the defendant has been served with the complaint.
If the divorce is contested the process will take longer. If the parties cannot reach an agreement on outstanding issues, the case will go before a judge or jury.
The judge or jury will divide assets and debt, and decide child support and alimony. However, only a judge can decide child custody and visitation based on what is in the best interests of the child.
An important part of the divorce process is engaging the services of an experienced attorney. They can ensure all issues are covered, represent you in negotiations, craft settlement language and protect your assets.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DIVORCE LAWS IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA, CALL ATLANTA’S LEADING FAMILY LAW FIRM
Oxendine & Sauls, LP has 60 years of collective experience handling high asset divorce and child custody cases. We are at your service during this challenging time in your life.