FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DIVORCE & FAMILY LAW

How long do I have to live in Georgia to get a divorce here?

At least one spouse must live in Georgia and must have lived there for at least six months.

Where do I file for divorce?

Generally, you must file for divorce in the Superior Court of the county where your spouse resides.  If your spouse no longer resides in Georgia, then you may file in the county where you live.  Also, if your spouse agrees, or if your spouse previously lived with you and has been gone for less than six months, you can file in your county of residence.

Can I file for divorce even if we’re still living together?

You and your spouse must be “legally separated” to file for divorce, but that doesn’t mean you must be living apart. In Georgia, you are legally separated if you are no longer engaging in marital relations and you consider yourself to be in an actual state of separation.

How do I file for a divorce?

The party asking the divorce must file a complaint with the Court.  It is a request that the Court do certain things regarding marital property & debts, child custody & support and the specific reason why the person is filing for divorce. A copy of the complaint will be personally delivered to the other spouse by a sheriff’s deputy he or she acknowledges service by signing a document in the presence of a notary public. Typically, the responding party has 30 days to file a written answer to the complaint..

How long does it take?

Depending on whether your divorce is complicated or simple, a divorce can be granted in as little as 31 days from the filing of the complaint.  The more the two of you can agree on, the easier and less costly it will be.  If you agree on all issues, the divorce is considered to be”uncontested,” and will move along quickly.  However, if the the parties can’t agree, the issues may have to be decided by a judge or jury.  In that case, the process can take months or even years.

Who gets custody of the children?

Until a court ruling or agreement, married parents share custody. The judge will consider what is in the “best interests of the child” when deciding custody issues.  This standard includes many factors, such as the age and sex of the child, and the ability of each parent to care for and nurture the child.  A child who has reached 14 years of age may generally choose which parent will have custody. A judge may take into account the wishes of children aged 11 to 13.

How is the amount of child support determined?

In general, parents must support their children until a they reach 18.  The non-custodial parent is required to pay a reasonable amount to the custodial parent to care for the children.  Child support may also include payment for health insurance, medical and dental expenses, and life insurance in case the non-custodial parent passes away.  The Court must apply the child support guidelines when calculating the appropriate payment.  The amount is based on a variety of factors and we will discuss which of these apply to your situation in detail.

What happens to “our” property?

Marital property is generally considered to be all property acquired during the marriage.  However, there is an exception for property received by gift from a third party or by inheritance.  Each spouse is entitled to an “equitable” (which means fair, but not necessarily equal) share of the marital property.  There is no set formula for dividing marital property but credit may be given to a party who contributed his or her separate, premarital property to the marriage.