An uncontested divorce is when both parties decide to get a divorce without any disagreements on marital issues. This includes matters related to child support, property division, child custody, alimony, and others. The couple decides that they don’t want to live together anymore and no longer wish to stay married. They sign legal papers that approve of their decisions acknowledging requesting to be made single again.
In this scenario, the judge does not play any role in settling arguments between the married couple. The judge is not needed because there are no issues to resolve since they have settled matters themselves. The judge’s role is to review and, if fair and just, approve of their decision making it legal. Before the judge approves of the divorce, the couple must meet the required conditions.
The first requirement is residency. In Georgia, laws apply when one of the spouses has lived in the state for at least six months before the petition is filed. If the spouse filing for the divorce is a non-resident, their partner must meet the residency requirement.
In Georgia, the person filing for divorce is called the petitioner, and the person responding is called the respondent.
Grounds for Divorce
The second requirement is that you must state a ground (legal reason) for your divorce. Georgia provides both fault grounds or no-fault grounds.
Fault grounds imply that the respondent has done something wrong against the petitioner. Therefore, all fault-based grounds must be proven in court.
The fault grounds include:
- Alcoholism and/or drug addiction
- Conviction and imprisonment exceeding two years for an offense which involves moral turpitude
- Habitual Intoxication
- Cruel or inhuman treatment
- Incurable mental illness
- Mental incapacity during the marriage
- Use of fraud, duress, or force in obtaining the marriage
- Wife getting pregnant by another man at the time of marriage, unknown to the husband
No-fault grounds imply a mutual agreement, and neither spouse is blaming the other for the marriage’s dissolution. That means nothing has to be proven in court, and the process can continue.
The only no-fault ground in Georgia is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Using “the marriage is irretrievably broken” is the easiest ground. In this situation, the respondent does not have any motive to oppose the decision of the petitioner.
However, one thing to note is that even if you avoid court hearings, there are still additional steps that need to be taken before a divorce is finalized.
How Can One File for Uncontested Divorce in Georgia?
A person has the right to represent themself in court. You can have a do-it-yourself (DIY) Divorce, meaning you don’t need a lawyer to help you in the process. This can be risky when you don’t have enough information about your spouse, but this does not mean it is impossible.
People choose to have an uncontested divorce because it allows you to avoid a trial and, in many cases, get through it without needing legal assistance or with limited legal help. The lawyer’s role can be simply to educate both parties or assist with the paperwork.
As an alternative to an expensive attorney, many spouses opt to use online services for paperwork preparation one of which is divorceonlinegeorgia.com. It is a much less costly option but still just effective.
If you want to file for an uncontested divorce in the state of Georgia, there are many steps for you to follow—starting with collecting and filling out the proper forms.
These forms include:
- A Disclosure Statement. It identifies the parties involved in the process.
- A Domestic Relations Case Filing Information Form. It identifies the type of court case.
- Report of Divorce. It shows the state or form of the marriage.
- Acknowledgment of Service. It confirms that the respondent is aware of the process.
When representing yourself, the first thing to do as a petitioner is to complete a form known as the “Complaint for Divorce” or the “Petition.” The forms can be obtained from the court clerk at your county’s Superior Court. You can also get the forms online if the court has a website. After completing the complaint, you have to deliver it to the Superior Court Clerk in the county where you or your spouse reside.
This complaint must show the respondent’s residential status and the grounds for the divorce. Since this is an uncontested type, you have to provide a signed agreement stating that you have resolved issues related to matters like child custody and alimony.
After filing the complaint with the clerk, you have to serve (deliver) the complaint to your spouse. The respondent has to sign an “Acknowledgement of Service” form to show that they have received the service. A final hearing is scheduled after receiving the respondent’s acceptance of service.
The court gives the respondent 30 days to respond to the service. If the respondent fails to respond, the case moves forward as a default divorce without the respondent’s participation. These forms are joined, and the proceeds into Final Judgement and Decree.
The following final forms must be prepared for the final hearing:
- Settlement Agreement (if it wasn’t filed yet). It shows the terms and conditions that must be kept after the divorce regarding child support/custody (when children are involved), property division, and alimony, if any.
- A Final Judgement and Decree. It’s the court order that ends the marriage.
- Domestic Relation Case Final Disposition Form. It reports the outcome of the case.
The petitioner has to decide whether there is a need for them to go to court during the final hearing. If the petitioner has no intention of going to court, they must file the “Motion for Judgement on the Pleadings” form. With this, you inform the court that you accept the court’s final judgment on granting the divorce based on all the documents submitted. Once the court agrees and approves, there is no need for you to present yourself before the court.
If you are supposed to present yourself on the hearing date, you have to arrive early. This helps you adapt to the court surroundings with their personnel. Uncontested cases are usually brief, so you will not need to stay long. The judge determines whether all the necessary conditions have been met to finalize the case. If so, the court issues the final decree, and the divorce is granted.
Filing for Uncontested Divorce Online
Filing for divorce online is a simple, easy, fast, and affordable way of starting a process. It is a great way to save money and get your divorce finalized quickly. The only requirement to use an online service for your document preparation is that your case is uncontested.
In Georgia, you can get the necessary forms needed to initiate your divorce prepared online. The only thing you have to do is submit the paperwork to the courthouse personally.
Most websites provide a questionnaire for you to answer to provide the service with the relevant details about your case. The questionnaire can be filled out whenever it is most convenient for you, anywhere you have the internet. After completing the questionnaire, your completed forms will be made available, usually in 2 – 3 days. You’ll also get instructions on how to file the documents with the court.
You have to save and print a minimum of two copies of each form. It is a good idea to go through documents to ensure that all the information is accurate. After confirming the information on the documents, you have to sign them with your spouse.
The last thing you have to do is file the documents with the Superior Court Clerk of your county. The waiting period after your petition has been submitted is a minimum of 30 days. The judge reviews the petition at a final court hearing. If everything looks good, your divorce will be granted.