How to Divorce in Georgia without Lawyers
- Uncontested divorce requires no lawyers in Georgia
- Basic steps of uncontested divorce in Georgia
If you are considering a divorce in Georgia, you are likely feeling overwhelmed by the potential financial impact divorce can have on your life. And you may also be rightly concerned about how much it would cost to hire a lawyer to handle your divorce case.
Although some divorces can be legally complicated and lawyer-centric, some don’t require attorney involvement at all. Many couples simply want to end their marriage amicably and move on with their lives. If you and your spouse agree to most of the terms of your divorce, you may be able to pursue an uncontested divorce without a lawyer.
Uncontested divorce requires no lawyers in Georgia
In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on the critical issues of their divorce settlement such as how they will divide their marital property, custody arrangements for their children, child support, and whether spousal support should be a consideration.
Uncontested divorces typically resolve faster than contested divorces. They also tend to be less expensive, contentious, and stressful. One reason for this is the fact that divorce attorneys are not required.
Basic steps of uncontested divorce in Georgia
Step 1: Filing and serving
To file for divorce in Georgia, you must first meet a state-imposed residency requirement and go through the mandatory waiting periods.
You can then file your petition for divorce and other required paperwork, including your settlement agreement, with the Superior Court Clerk’s office in the county where you or your spouse live. The required forms may be found at Georgia’s judicial website. (Click on the link that’s appropriate for your situation: Divorce with Minor Children or Divorce without Minor Children.)
Once your paperwork has been filed with the court, you will serve your spouse with copies of these documents through the sheriff’s office or a private process server. Your spouse will have 30 days from the date of service to respond to the Complaint.
You can avoid personal service by having your spouse sign and submit an Acknowledgment of Service form to the court.
Step 2: Negotiation with spouse
Once your spouse has responded to the complaint, you can begin to negotiate and fine-tune your settlement terms, including how to execute your division of property, how you will handle child custody and parenting time, what child support will look like, and whether spousal support will be necessary.
If you and your spouse still have some sticking points you haven’t agreed to, you don’t necessarily need to hire a divorce attorney. Divorce mediation can help you bridge this gap instead. A mediator takes the role of a neutral third party trained to guide couples toward resolving their disagreements.
Step 3: Finalizing the uncontested divorce
Once you’ve agreed to all terms of your divorce, you must present them to the court for final approval. In many counties, this takes place in the form of a court hearing.
The court will schedule a hearing where you present your settlement agreement to the judge hearing the case. If everything is in order, a final Judgment and Decree of Divorce will be issued.
FAQ about divorce in Georgia
Do I have to live in Georgia before filing for divorce?
To divorce in the state of Georgia, you or your spouse must have been a resident of Georgia for at least six months before and at the time of filing. If neither of you fulfills this requirement, you will have to wait to file for divorce.
Furthermore, after you have fulfilled this requirement, you have a mandatory waiting period of 30 days before your uncontested divorce can be granted.
How much does it cost to get divorced in Georgia?
Divorce is an expensive endeavor, and costs can vary widely depending on many factors and complexities. The most significant costs of a divorce are attorney fees and court costs. In Georgia, attorneys fees can range from $200 to $600 per hour.
Fortunately, without a lawyer, the cost of your divorce will be much lower. You will still have to pay for court filing fees, but without having to hire a divorce lawyer, you will generally save hundreds of dollars. And, if you can’t afford the court filing fees, you can request a fee waiver.
Note: Mediation is an excellent option for spouses who want to get divorced but need some professional guidance on their settlement agreement. Divorce mediators charge less per hour than lawyers. If you’d like to read about Hello Divorce’s certified divorce mediators, click here.
Bottom line, if you and your spouse can work together and come to agreements without a lawyer, an uncontested divorce will be far more cost-effective and less contentious.
Do I have to take a parenting class?
If you and your spouse have minor children, Georgia requires that both of you complete a parenting seminar before your divorce can be finalized. Registration and fees for these seminars will vary by course and many counties allow you to complete your class online.
SourcesBecoming a Georgia Process Server. National Association of Professional Process Servers.
Georgia Statutes. WomensLaw.org.