Divorce Process in Georgia

By Tom Streissguth

Georgia state laws govern the process of divorce. The state has adopted “no-fault” divorce, meaning you do not need specific grounds to file a divorce petition, other than a claim that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” A hearing in civil court will be necessary, however, and the state also has residency requirements for couples seeking a divorce.

Georgia state laws govern the process of divorce. The state has adopted “no-fault” divorce, meaning you do not need specific grounds to file a divorce petition, other than a claim that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” A hearing in civil court will be necessary, however, and the state also has residency requirements for couples seeking a divorce.

Petitions

As the spouse filing for divorce, you are the petitioner, and the other party is the respondent. You must file the divorce petition in the county where the respondent lives or the county where you lived as a couple if the respondent has moved out of the state. The parties must be legally separated, and one of the parties must live in the state for at least six months before the divorce petition is filed.

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Grounds

Georgia allows 12 grounds for divorce, in addition to the “no-fault” ground that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and the parties are unable to live together or reconcile. Fault grounds include adultery, desertion, abuse, impotency, drug addiction and mental illness. The respondent does not have to agree to or acknowledge the divorce grounds – fault or no-fault -- in order for the court to grant the divorce.

Service

The petitioner files a complaint in superior court and then has the complaint served on the other party, unless the respondent acknowledges the action by signing a waiver. Law enforcement or a private process server may deliver the petition to the respondent. If the respondent does not want the court to grant the divorce, he or she may file an answer requesting that the court set out the terms of a legal separation, division of property and support. The petition may later ask for a final divorce decree.

Annulment

If there are no children, the court may grant an annulment instead of a divorce. This action acknowledges that no valid marriage took place due to fraud, incapacity or other legal grounds. If children are involved, you must file for divorce and must have child custody and child support approved by the court.

Settlement Agreement

If the parties agree to the terms of the divorce then they may submit a settlement agreement on the division of property, child custody and other matters. A superior court judge reviews the agreement and may approve it or ask the parties to attend a hearing at which they can argue the terms of the agreement. The court must wait at least 31 days after service of the petition on the respondent to grant an “uncontested” divorce. Contested divorces result in a court hearing and a final decision on the terms by a judge or a jury.

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What to Do if Your Spouse Will Not Sign Divorce Papers

References

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The Inability to Serve Divorce Papers in Texas

It's frustrating when the respondent in a lawsuit is dodging process, especially in a divorce case. Ordinarily, a divorce petition is served by hand-delivering it to the respondent. But the case can proceed even when the respondent is avoiding service of process. A petitioner can serve the respondent by having the process server tape the divorce petition to the respondent's front door, or by publishing a notice of the divorce suit in a local newspaper, with the permission of the court.

Texas Divorce Regulations

When couples divorce in Texas, they must follow procedural rules and regulations or risk having their case dismissed. Most of the procedural rules that apply to divorces filed in the state are found in the Texas Family Code and Texas Code of Civil Procedure. These state laws define eligibility, notice to the other party, deadlines, waiting periods, and documents to be filed. Each county also sets rules regarding filing fees, hearing schedules and court procedures that apply only to the divorces filed in that county. Finally, some judges set rules that apply only to hearings in their courtrooms.

How to Get an Annulment in Arizona

An annulment is the legal recognition by an Arizona court that a marriage is void. In Arizona, an annulment is granted if the marriage was void from the beginning or, according to the Arizona Revised Statues, an impediment existed that caused the marriage to be void. For example, if you were already married at the time of your marriage or underage, these would be considered grounds for annulment in Arizona. To receive an annulment in Arizona, you follow the same procedure as filing for divorce.

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