How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced in Georgia?

The divorce process can be long and painful. So most married couples want a quicker way to formalize their separation. Online divorce gives couples the option of cutting ties in the shortest possible time. It is the perfect option for an uncontested divorce because both sides undoubtedly want to move on. When the right conditions are present, you can get a quick DIY divorce without an attorney. And because you don’t need to hire a lawyer, the divorce can be finalized in an affordable manner.

Divorce Requirements in Georgia

You must meet the residency requirements to apply for a divorce, even if you want to go through the divorce over the Internet.

●      You or your spouse must have been a Georgia resident for at least six months before filing for divorce.

●      You are required to file for divorce in the county in which you live.

Here are other points that you must consider:

●     Your spouse, if a Georgia resident, has 30 days to respond after receiving the divorce papers. As the respondent, he or she will have 60 days if he or she lives outside the state and 90 days if he or she is currently a resident of another country.

●     In Georgia, you cannot file a divorce petition online. It must be submitted in-person at the courthouse. But you can take the first steps of getting a divorce online — completing your divorce documents.

Yes, the fact that Georgia does not accept an application for divorce online drags the process a bit. Still, Georgia seems to be coming around by allowing the actual online divorce to proceed. If you meet the residency requirements, and your divorce is uncontested, you can complete the divorce paperwork online, then file the resulting documents at the courthouse. Using one of the best online divorce websites, you significantly reduce the time, effort, and costs of your divorce.

The Subject of Contested or Uncontested Divorce

For Internet divorce, even the top online divorce sites recommend that the divorce should be uncontested. This way, you can proceed without any issues. When the other party does not want the divorce to happen, you may find yourself needing to prove the grounds for divorce. A lengthy court trial will be necessary to sort out issues, such as spousal support, child custody, and property division. One of the parties may also end up asking for alimony. Both parties will have to hire a lawyer. That certainly does not sound like a quick or cheap dissolution of marriage.

An uncontested divorce is also called a no-fault divorce. In this situation, both parties have already agreed beforehand that they cannot remain married. They have also agreed on what must be done with properties, debt, and children. Instead of letting the cost of divorce spiral uncontrollably and relying on the court to decide, the couple has set their terms.

What are the possible grounds for divorce?

Like most states, Georgia recognizes both fault-based and no-fault grounds for divorce. Some divorces are bitter and full of hatred because of the misconduct of one of the spouses. When there are fault-based grounds for divorce, there is also the burden of presenting evidence in court.

Here are the possible fault-based grounds for divorce, according to Georgia Law:

●      Forcible or fraudulent marriage

●      Adultery

●      Should be proven with the help of a detective, evidence of public display of affection, proof of adulterous disposition, and evidence of opportunity

●      Not accepted as grounds if you continued to live with the spouse after learning of the immoral behavior

●      Imprisonment for more than two years (due to “conviction of an offense involving moral turpitude)

●      Drug addiction

●      Desertion for at least one year

●      Must be proven to be malicious

●      Should be 12 continuous months

●      Cruel treatment that serves as a threat to life, health, or limb

●      Incurable mental illness

●      Must be confined at a mental health facility for at least three years

●      Two or three mental health professionals should testify

Understandably, the points above are serious enough for you not to want to make deals with your spouse. However, if you want out of the marriage as quickly as possible and with little damage to your finances, you can perhaps have your lawyer make a deal with your spouse. Then, you can sign an agreement and bring a close to what is possibly a very long, arduous process.

In contrast, if both couples agree to end their marriage, they can have a no-fault divorce by using the no-fault ground that the bonds of marriage are irretrievably broken. In this case, neither spouse has to prove the other spouse’s misconduct, and the case can move forward without a trial.

The Property, Children, and Similar Issues

When making agreements, whether or not your divorce is uncontested, you need to consider a few things, such as property division, child custody and support, and spousal maintenance.

Fortunately, some people realize they have issues in their marriage before a child is born. It makes the process a little bit easier. They do not have to contend with the question of custody.

If most of the property is owned conjugally, then several issues will undoubtedly arise. Support may also be an issue if one half of the couple is wealthier.

If these issues of children, property, debts, and support can be managed and dealt with out of court, there is still a chance that your Georgia divorce can be quick.

A Breakdown of the Divorce Process

As the petitioner, you must start the divorce process.

1.     Qualify by meeting the residency requirements

2.     Complete the divorce petition. Here are some pertinent facts that will be included in the request:

a.     Date of marriage

b.     Marriage location

c.     Number of children (if any) and pregnancies and related childcare information

d.     Community and non-community property

e.     Debts incurred (together and independently)

f.       Job titles and income

g.     Military information (if applicable)

3.     Review and sign

For couples looking for hassle-free and convenient divorce document preparation, they can use the services of an online divorce company to select and complete all of the necessary paperwork. Some online divorces can cost as little as $139.

After you are done with the petition, you must make two copies. One will be served to your spouse. The other you keep for your records.

4.     File at the court

You need to file the application in person at a Georgia superior courthouse where your spouse is a resident. A filing fee must be paid when the petition is submitted.

5.     Serve your spouse

If you believe that your spouse will accept the service, then you can mail them the paperwork. In return, they will need to acknowledge service by signing an Acknowledgement of Service, which must be filed with the court. If a spouse is less cooperative, then service can be done by a sheriff or by a private process server.

6.     Dissolution of the marriage

If the couple has managed to find the best online divorce service, the two can benefit from a short waiting period. There is a mandatory waiting period, even if the divorce is considered no-fault is 30 days before the court issues the Final Order and Decree of Divorce. The average duration of the process for uncontested divorces is 45 – 60 days depending on the court’s availability. For someone who is hoping to be free of their unwanted ties, this understandably feels slow. However, a contested divorce proceeding can take several years if bitterly fought by both sides.

Wrapping UP

So, how long does it take to get divorced in Georgia? If you managed to get a web divorce or an uncontested one (online or otherwise), it usually takes an average of 45 days. However, the duration can vary depending on the court and judge availability. While that may not sound like the quick divorce you were gunning for when you went online, it is still a lot better than the duration of a contested divorce. Contested divorce proceedings can take years, especially if both sides are giving it their best fight.

So, what should you do now? First off, make sure that you really want to get divorced. Once you have concluded that the marriage cannot be saved, go to step two, which is to agree regarding shared property and custody. Then you can start the process online and file the petition in person. If you have both decided to end the marriage and move forward with no contest, the waiting period won’t be that long. You are only waiting on the court to formally and legally recognize your divorce.

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