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Our Marietta Georgia divorce lawyers and Cobb County GA divorce attorneys are here to help you with your questions about how to get a divorce in Georgia. What are your rights? What are your likely obligations? What procedures are there to get you to a final divorce? This article containing information from Atlanta Legal Aid, discusses briefly the basic process of a contested divorce case and an uncontested divorce case.

It is always a good idea to have an attorney represent you when getting a divorce.

If you do not have an attorney, then you are representing yourself in court and are applying for a divorce “pro se” (pronounced “pro say”). You may be able to find forms and instructions on how to file for a divorce in the Clerk’s office or the courthouse law library. A few courts have a specific pro se section that will help you.

(1) File the Complaint for Divorce. First you file a Complaint for Divorce and tell the court why you want a divorce. You must tell the court why you want a divorce. There are specific reasons that the law will allow you to get a divorce. You must say which of the reasons you are asking the court to grant a divorce. In the Complaint you must also tell the court what you want the court to do. Do you want custody of any children you and your spouse have? Do you want the court to award you child support so that you can have money to take care of the children? How do you want the court to divide the property that you and your spouse have? There is a fee to file for a divorce.

You generally file the Complaint for Divorce in the Superior Court of the county where your spouse lives. You may file in the county where you both lived if your spouse moved to another county within six months of the date you are filing. If your spouse has moved out of state, you can file in your county.

(2) Service of Process – the Legal Way to Give the Complaint for Divorce to Your Spouse. You must have a copy of the Complaint for Divorce “served” on your spouse. This means that the sheriff or another “process server” will give the divorce papers to your spouse in the way that the law requires. This is called “service of process”. There is also a fee to have the Complaint served.

(3) Hearing or Trial. After your Complaint for Divorce is served on your spouse the spouse may file an answer. If your spouse does not file an answer, your divorce is considered to be “uncontested”. If there are no issues to be decided (such as child custody, child support, division of property, etc.) then the court will schedule a hearing where the court will make a final decision. If the divorce is contested by your spouse (when they file the Answer), the court may schedule the case for a temporary hearing or a trial.

Courts have different schedules for trying divorces. The court may require that the parties attend mediation. Check with the Clerk of Court concerning your court’s requirements.

Again, it is always a good idea to have an attorney represent you when getting a divorce.

I Have Not Seen My Spouse For Years and I Do Not Know Where My Spouse Is. Can I Still Get a Divorce?

Yes. You will need to tell the court that you tried to find the defendant. You give the court a signed, statement (an “affidavit”) where you:

  • swear that to the best of your knowledge the whereabouts of your spouse (the defendant) are unknown
  • swear that you have used reasonable diligence in trying to find out where the defendant is currently
  • state what the last residence of the defendant was.

A notice must then be published in the newspaper that the court designates for such notices for four (4) consecutive weeks. If your spouse does not file an Answer within 60 days after the notice is first published, the court can grant the divorce at a hearing. NOTE: In a divorce by publication the court cannot award alimony, child support, or property situated outside of Georgia.

If your spouse does file an Answer, the court will schedule a trial.

My Spouse Now Lives in Another State, Can I Still Get A Divorce In Georgia?

Yes. If your spouse was a resident of Georgia at one time, you can request child support, alimony and property division. You will have to arrange to have the petition for divorce “served” on your spouse in the new state.

My Spouse Has Never Lived In Georgia, Can I Still Get A Divorce?

Yes, if you have lived in Georgia for six months or more. But if the court cannot get personal jurisdiction over your spouse then it can not award alimony or child support, or award property in another state. “Personal jurisdiction” means that there are enough connections between your spouse and the State of Georgia that the Georgia Courts have the power to make decisions that will affect your spouse. This is a complicated area of law.

Again, it is always a good idea to have an attorney represent you when getting a divorce.

SOURCE FOR POSTAtlanta Legal Aid Society Inc