Georgia Divorce Procedures

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Getting a successful divorce socially and emotionally is really hard, though not impossible. How fairly you survive your divorce often determines your future. It depends on how strategically you fight your case, being within the limits of law. Divorce laws are developed to address marital issues, and to ensure that both the spouses get what they deserve. Only when a couple know the necessary legal obligations and go though the legal procedures properly, they can expect to get divorced from each other. And for this to happen, you must take some efforts to know these divorce processes and laws. Similarly when you are fighting a divorce case in Georgia, you need to know Georgia divorce procedures.

Very few states in the United States recognize common law marriage and Georgia is one of them. The legal system in this state does not have any procedure to create a common law marriage, but it is still essential to declare that such a marriage is dissolved. Thus, to get a divorce in this state, it is not mandatory that the couple must be married.

To get a hassle-free divorce, a couple must oblige by the divorce laws as defined by the state. Let us take an example. If a married woman wants a divorce and do not meet the residential requirement, she cannot file for the case. So it is important you know the procedures and devise your strategies accordingly. We present to you a brief overview of the basic divorce procedures in three broad stages as cited below:

Commencing the Georgia Divorce Procedure

The first step is to file a Petition in the county Superior Court. This is known as "Petition for Divorce". This document includes the following information:

  • Grounds on basis of which the divorce is filed
  • How the petitioner wishes to handle topics like alimony, property distribution, child custody etc

The next step is that the petition, domestic relations financial affidavit, and disclosure statement are served to the Respondent. These documents are inclusive of information like their income, debts, jointly owned property, and any other obligations.

The Respondent is allocated 30 days, within which a Response to the petition must be filed. In Response, the Respondent may accede to the divorce or object the grounds, or the terms of the divorce. In case the Respondent contests the grounds then the court hears the proof, based on which it makes a ruling.

Intermediate stage of Georgia Divorce Procedure

There are 3 methods by which the all the issues of divorce can be resolved and finalized. These methods are as follows:

  • Formal mediation
  • Taking the assistance of lawyers
  • By having a consensus between the divorcing partners

In case of property distribution, the inheritances of the divorcing partners are excluded. Only the assets that are collected in marital life are bifurcated as equally as possible as the Judge thinks to be fair. The court has a wide discretion regarding property distribution and it considers several factors.

While making a decision regarding child support, the court keeps in mind the best interests of the child. The person who is awarded the custody is offered child support on the basis of the number of children. A certain percentage of the non-custodial parent's income is considered as the child support amount as given below:

  • If there are 5 or more children, then 31 to 37 percent
  • If there are 4 children, then 29 to 35 percent
  • If there are 3 children, then 25 to 32 percent
  • If there are 2 children, then 23 to 28 percent
  • If there is 1 child, then 17 to 23 percent

When the issue of alimony arises during the divorce procedure, the court contemplates on the duration required for the party requesting alimony to become self-supporting, the capacity of the parties to support self, and the resources of both parties.

Final stage

While the divorce procedures are in progress, any partner can demand orders from the court pertaining to how the current debts will be paid, child support, temporary custody and related issues. When the divorce process is complete, either through determination of the court or negotiation, the terms of divorce are included in the formal Marital Settlement Agreement. This agreement needs to be filed in the court. The entire process is made official when the court issues the Final Judgment and Divorce Decree is signed.

Once you have gone through all the Georgia divorce procedures and your divorce is over, make sure you check all the financial documents and other legal papers that you may need in the future. Following the right legal procedures will surely reap good benefits for your future.

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