Contested Divorces in Georgia

By Beverly Bird

Even if you and your spouse agree that your marriage is over, the courts still consider your divorce contested if you don’t also agree on how to end it. All states, including Georgia, have a different set of legal requirements when this occurs. Instead of moving directly from Point A to Point B and expeditiously wrapping up your marriage, there are a few more steps you must take before you receive a divorce.

Grounds

Georgia law provides for 12 fault grounds and one no-fault ground. The no-fault ground is that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Filing on this ground does not mean your divorce is uncontested. This is simply the reason you want a divorce and it has nothing to do with settlement of the issues between you. If you file on fault grounds, such as adultery or abuse, Georgia law requires you to prove that your spouse is guilty of these actions.

Financial Disclosure

In a contested divorce, Georgia requires you to file a financial disclosure affidavit with the court and to exchange a copy of it with your spouse shortly after you file your complaint. The affidavit details your knowledge of your marital financial picture, as well as your current budget, assets and debts if you’ve lived separately for a while.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Temporary Hearings

After you’ve filed your financial affidavit, Georgia court rules permit you or your attorney to meet with a family court judge to decide if any temporary orders are necessary while your divorce is pending. These orders generally provide for support and visitation issues, but they can also prohibit you and your spouse from dissipating marital assets or even from harassing each other if your divorce is particularly contentious. These orders last only until you have a final divorce decree.

Issues With Children

If you have children, Georgia requires you to submit a detailed parenting plan to the court before you can receive a divorce. This applies whether your matter is contested or uncontested. If you’re fighting about custody, the court might appoint a guardian ad litem, or you can request one. Under Georgia law, a guardian ad litem acts as a custody evaluator. He’ll meet extensively with both parents and often with others who have frequent contact with your child, then he’ll make a recommendation to the court. Your contact with the guardian ad litem is not confidential; Georgia law only protects your confidentiality if you pay for a private mediator to work out your custody dispute.

Settlement

If mediation or a guardian ad litem helps you resolve your differences regarding custody, and if you can reach an agreement on all other financial issues, Georgia law does not obligate you to go to trial. You or your attorney can prepare a settlement agreement with all the details and submit it to the judge. The judge will review it, usually approve it and sign it into a divorce decree.

Trial

If you can’t reach an agreement, your divorce will go to trial. Georgia law allows you to opt for a trial by jury or by a judge alone. However, if you resolve all issues except those regarding your children, you can’t choose a trial by jury. The law does not permit a jury to decide issues of custody. Only a judge can do this. Otherwise, the jury will decide your property and financial issues and the judge will set your parenting plan.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What Will Happen Once My Wife Has Filed for Divorce?
 

References

Related articles

What Is the Divorce Process in Michigan?

Divorce laws vary from state to state, but most follow a similar pattern. One spouse must initiate the divorce, the other should respond, then they can hash out the details of their divorce either between them or with the assistance of their attorneys. Michigan’s laws don’t deviate from this, but the state does add an additional step if you have children.

Does the State of Florida Recognize "Abandonment" as a Reason for Divorce?

All states recognize no-fault divorce, but many states also allow spouses to file on fault grounds such as abandonment. This isn't the case in Florida. Even if your spouse leaves or abandons you with the intention of ending the marriage, you can only file for divorce by telling the court in your petition for dissolution that your marriage just isn't working out anymore. However, you may be able to bring the fact of your spouse's abandonment to the attention of the court in other ways.

How Long to Get a Divorce in Illinois?

Although Illinois technically has a 90-day waiting period for divorce, this is deceptive. The three-month period overlaps the 90-day residency requirement to be able to file for divorce in the state. Once you file, your divorce might take days, or it might take years, depending on the complexity of your situation. (References 1 and 3)

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Get a Divorce When One Spouse Won't Agree

No one can stop you from getting a divorce if you want one, with the possible exception of the court. If you don’t ...

Divorce Process in Florida

Like some other states, Florida has decided that "divorce" is a dirty word. When you end your marriage in the state, ...

Procedures for a Legal Separation & Divorce in Illinois

Illinois law recognizes legal separation, although not all states do. Legal separations are somewhat rare in the state, ...

What Happens When I Contest a Divorce in Tennessee?

You might want to contest your divorce for any number of reasons. You might object to your spouse’s grounds -- ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED