While it usually is not a good idea for a person to represent themselves in a contested divorce case, the Judicial Branch of Georgia has some good information and resources on its website:

1. How do I file for divorce?

You must file your petition for divorce with the Superior Court. In most cases, this will be the county in which the defendant resides. Title 19 Chapter 5 of the Georgia Code describes the specific details your petition must include. Once you have filed in the office of the Clerk of court, the clerk will file, record, and date stamp your petition. You must notify the defendant of the petition either by a waiver of service, personal service made by the Sheriff, Marshal or a private process server authorized by the court or by publication as appropriate under the state statutes. The court will charge a filing fee and you may also be required to pay a service or publication fee.

2. How much does it cost to file for divorce?

The Clerk of Court in the county in which you are going to file your case can provide you with an accurate estimate of the total court cost.

3. What is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce?

The end result is different, but the procedure and most of the issues involved are the same. A legal separation does not dissolve the marriage and does not give either spouse the legal capacity to remarry. The order generally defines the rights and responsibilities of the spouses between each other while living apart. On the other hand, a divorce decree, dissolves the marriage. The familial relationship has ended. Tthe spouses can no longer share in the estate of the other spouse, there are no longer any mutual responsibilities of support between the spouses other than those stated in the divorce decree, and each party has the legal capacity to remarry.

4. Are there rules and procedures that I must follow to get a divorce?

Yes. To obtain this information, you will need to research the Georgia statutes, uniform rules, and court procedures in your county law library or consult with an attorney. In the Fulton County Superior Court, the Law Information Center of the Family Court division may be able to provide you with some assistance on the rules and procedures in filing for a divorce. In addition, some Clerks of Court maintain lists of attorneys who can be retained to assist you or you may wish to contact the local bar association for a list of attorneys.

5. What are the different grounds for filing for a divorce?

The Georgia statutes list thirteen grounds for divorce. Most divorces are granted on the no-fault grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The twelve other fault grounds may be found in O.C.G.A.§19-5-3.

6. Do my grounds have to be in the complaint/petition?

Yes, O.C.G.A. §19-5-5 lists the items that are required to be included in your petition.

7. Do I have to appear in court if my divorce is uncontested?

Some courts may grant uncontested divorces without a hearing. Other courts require a formal hearing to be held in divorce cases and all parties involved must appear. You should contact the judge’s office to find out if you are required to appear in court in your case.

8. Can I get a divorce without going to the seminar for divorcing parents (if this applies to your county)?

Many of the superior courts require parties to attend the divorcing parents seminar. You should contact the judge’s office in the county in which the divorce action is filed to determine the requirements.

9. Who has to appear in court for the final divorce decree to be signed?

If all the paperwork is in order and the defendant has signed all required documents before the final decree is scheduled to be signed, only the plaintiff (the person who filed the initial petition) must appear in court.

10. How long after filing for divorce do I have to wait before a decree will be granted?

A final decree of divorce may be granted no sooner than thirty-one days following the filing of the petition. The time may be longer if there are issues that need to be resolved by the court.

11. When will the judge make a decision in my case if one was not made at the hearing?

There is no specific deadline for a judge to give a decision. In general, the judge tries to reach a decision as quickly as possible after the conclusion of the hearing.

12. How long do I have to wait to get remarried?

You will have the legal authority to remarry after your divorce decree is final.

13. How do I get a copy of my divorce decree?

You may obtain a copy of your divorce decree from the Clerk of Superior Court in the county in which the divorce action was filed. Ordinarily there will be a fee for a copy of the decree.

14. What is an annulment?

An annulment is a determination by the court that a marriage is void from the beginning. The length of a marriage is not an issue in an annulment. The grounds for an annulment are stated in O.C.G.A. §19-4-1.

15. In what court are family violence cases filed?

Family violence cases are filed in Superior Court. The case must be filed in the county where the defendant resides.

16. How do I obtain a family violence restraining order?

A written petition for a restraining order must be filed in the superior court. If the defendant resides in the state of Georgia, the petition must be filed in the county of the defendant’s residence. Examples of petitions for such orders are available on the Georgia Legal Services web page at www.glsp.org and on the Fulton Family Division web page at www.fultonfamilydivison.com. There are also many legal services available around the state which can help you file your motion including Georgia Legal Services (GLS). You can also contact GLS at its headquarters by telephone at (404) 206-5175.

17. How do I file a restraining order if it is not family violence?

A written motion is required to be filed in the county of which the defendant resides. There are no standard forms for filing a restraining order. You may want to do some research in your county law library on how to file a restraining order, consult with an attorney, or perhaps call the Fulton County Law Information Center for guidance.

18. How do I get copies from an adoption file?

Adoption files are not open to the public. Adopted children, the siblings of adopted children, and the adoptive parents have limited rights to information in the adoption file under very specific circumstances. This limited access is explained in O.C.G.A. §19-8-23.

SOURCE: Judical Branch of Georgia