Filing for divorce can be hard and unpleasant, making it likely you will want your divorce finalized as soon as possible. Georgia law allows a married couple to obtain a divorce 31 days after the defendant is served with a copy of the divorce complaint under certain circumstances. Whether a divorce will be granted this quickly depends on the complexity of the divorce and whether the spouses have signed a settlement agreement.
To file for divorce in Georgia, one spouse must live in the state for at least six months before filing for divorce. You must be considered separated from your spouse when you file for divorce. However, you do not need to be physically separated from one another; you can still live in the same house as long as you sleep in separate bedrooms. To initiate a divorce in Georgia, file a complaint with the Superior Court in your county. After you file the complaint, you must serve your spouse with a copy of the filing. This can be accomplished by asking the sheriff to personally deliver a copy to your spouse.
Grounds for Divorce
In addition to providing basic information about you and your spouse in the divorce complaint, you must select a reason for the divorce, called a ground. Georgia has one no-fault ground for divorce, which is that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and 12 fault grounds for divorce. The at-fault grounds for divorce vary from desertion to adultery. To receive a divorce based upon an at-fault ground, you must show that your spouse engaged in wrongdoing that caused your marriage to end. Choosing a fault ground for the divorce might result in the court ordering the parties to attend mediation. Additionally, establishing the at-fault ground for divorce will lengthen the divorce process. In contrast, to file a no-fault divorce, you merely need to show that there is no chance of reconciliation.
A court can grant an uncontested divorce in Georgia 31 days after the defendant is served with the complaint if the defendant responds promptly by filing an answer to the complaint and the couple is in agreement about all material terms of the divorce. An uncontested divorce is a divorce that is agreed upon by the spouses, meaning both spouses would like the court to grant the divorce. If you and your spouse agree about all the terms of your divorce, including the division of marital property and any custody issues, you can sign a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement is submitted to the court. In this case, it may not be necessary for you and your spouse to appear in court.
If you have minor children, Georgia law requires you to attend a parenting seminar before the court will grant a divorce. The seminar educates parents about the impact of divorce on children, including how to establish good communication with your children. Usually, the seminar can be completed in either morning or evening sessions and is offered several times a month. If you want to have your divorce granted within 31 days, you will need to sign up for the class immediately upon filing for divorce.