Getting a divorce can seem like an enormous task for anyone. Where do you start? What will happen to all of your assets? If children are involved, the process can be even more complicated. Divorce proceedings in Georgia can take a few short months, or could go on for years. While you are not required to have a lawyer to guide you in divorce proceedings, it is always highly advisable to consult a family law attorney. An attorney that specializes in family law will often help by recognizing trouble areas you won’t see at first, and will help push divorce proceedings along more efficiently. Before you begin the process of filing for divorce, there are a few things you must do. If you do these things before contacting a lawyer, you could save an enormous amount of time and money.
To start, determine if you are eligible to file for divorce in Georgia. In order to file for divorce in the state of Georgia, you must meet the residency requirements. In Georgia, the petitioner (the person filing for divorce) or their spouse must have lived in Georgia for six or more months. However, if you are stationed on a military base in Georgia you must have been stationed there for at least one year.
Grounds for Divorce
Next, you must determine your grounds for divorce. In Georgia, there are two types of divorce – fault and no-fault. No-fault is the most common type of divorce in Georgia. It means that neither party blames the other for the breakdown of the marriage and that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”. There are twelve grounds for fault divorce in the state of Georgia:
- Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity. This means that the people are too closely related and should never have been married in the first place.
- Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage. This means that one or both people were not mentally capable of consenting to marriage.
- Impotency at the time of the marriage. This means that one person was impotent at the time of the marriage.
- Force, menace, duress or fraud in obtaining the marriage. To choose this option the person must be able to prove that that menace or duress is more than just a threat to leave the relationship if the marriage does not occur.
- Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the husband. This means that the wife was already pregnant at the time of the marriage by someone other than her husband and was not aware of it.
- Adultery in either of the parties after marriage.
- Willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year.
- The conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude, under which he is sentenced to imprisonment in a penal institution for a term of two years or longer. Moral turpitude in this case means behavior that is contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals such as rape, murder or kidnapping.
- Habitual intoxication.
- Cruel treatment, which shall consist of the willful infliction of pain, bodily or mental, upon the complaining party, such as reasonably justifies apprehension of danger to life, limb, or health.
- Incurable mental illness. For this option your spouse must be found mentally ill by a court or two physicians. The spouse must also be either institutionalized or have been treated for the illness for the past two years.
- Habitual drug addiction. In this case, drug addiction can be legal, illegal, prescribed or non-prescribed drugs. Filing for Divorce
Once you have decided on the grounds you want to file for divorce, the next step is filing. You will need to gather documents and information that will help determine the outcome of your case. Gathering these items before your initial consultation with your family law attorney will help save you time and money.
Filing for Divorce
- Write a complaint, or petition. This document should describe your current living situation, the arrangements you’ve made for your children, the state of your shared assets and debts, and the specific problems that led you to file for a divorce. When writing the complaint, you don’t have to detail how much money you want in child support and alimony, and you don’t need to list every grievance. You just need to explain clearly the major issues involved in the marriage. The Hall can help you write the complaint or petition, so that is serves in your best interest in a court of law.
- Collect documents related to joint finances. Tax returns, deeds, bankruptcy petitions are all examples of documents you will need for your divorce proceedings. If you have a regular accountant, you may want to consult with them during this process.
- Start keeping a monthly budget. When your case is presented to the court, we will need documentation that shows how much on average you spend on things such as groceries and utility bills. A well-organized budget strongly supports a case that you’ll need a certain amount of money every month in child support and alimony.
Please consult an attorney for advice about your individual situation. This site and its information is not official legal advice, nor is it intended to be. Feel free to get in touch by e-mail, letters or phone calls. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Until an attorney-client relationship is established, please withhold from sending any confidential information to us.