How to Serve Divorce Papers in Georgia

When you initiate divorce, you must formally let your spouse know of your intentions. You achieve this through something called “service of process.” 

It’s the act of having your divorce petition and other relevant paperwork personally delivered to your spouse by a third party.

What does it mean to serve divorce papers in Georgia?

If you’re the Plaintiff in a divorce case, you will file a Complaint for Divorce with a Superior Court in your Georgia county or your spouse’s Georgia county. Once you do this, you are responsible for making sure your spouse is formally notified of the divorce.

You can accomplish this by hiring a professional process server or a local sheriff to hand-deliver copies of your divorce complaint and any other paperwork to your spouse. 

When you file your divorce complaint, make extra copies, including one for your spouse and one for yourself.

Even if your spouse knows about your plan to get divorced, you must have formal, legal proof of their knowledge. After the documents are served, the server will submit an affidavit to the court verifying service. This creates a traceable record that you did your due diligence by letting your spouse know.

Your spouse can choose to waive service if they already know about the divorce and want to avoid being formally served.

What documents will you serve to your spouse?

If you and your spouse do not share minor children, you will fill out the Complaint for Divorce without Minor Children and have a copy served upon your spouse. Here are Georgia’s official video instructions for filling out the form.

If you and your spouse share minor children, you will fill out the Complaint for Divorce with Minor Children and have a copy served upon your spouse. Here are the state’s official video instructions for filling out that form.

Click here to learn about the primary forms required in a Georgia divorce.

Other forms may be required, depending on your situation and county. Many must be notarized. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • General Civil and Domestic Relations Case Disposition Information
  • Domestic Relations Standing Order
  • Affidavit of Poverty, Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit
  • Child Support Worksheet
  • Parenting Plan 
  • Summons and Sheriff Service forms
  • Acknowledgment of Service
  • Consent to Trial 31 Days After Service
  • Waiver of Right to Trial by Jury
  • Settlement Agreement
  • Parenting Course Certification
  • Motion for Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce, and an Answer to Divorce.

Because required forms vary by jurisdiction and personal circumstance, it is advisable to contact the Superior Court through which you are filing to find out what other paperwork is required. You can visit this interactive map to find your court and its contact information. Or, you can schedule a free 15-minute call with an account coordinator at Hello Divorce.

Suggested: How to Divorce in Georgia without Lawyers

Ways to serve divorce papers in Georgia

There are two primary ways to serve divorce papers upon your spouse in Georgia: You can hire a professional process server to do it, or you can ask a sheriff to deliver them (there will be a fee).

If you and your spouse wish to sidestep this formal process, you can have your spouse fill out and sign an Acknowledgment of Service form in front of a notary public. In this form, your spouse waives their right to formal service. 

If you’ve been trying to locate your spouse for service but cannot find them, you may have to resort to service by publication. Before publicizing your divorce petition like this, however, you would need to obtain permission from the court.

How to serve divorce papers to a spouse living outside of Georgia

If your spouse lives outside of Georgia, you may consider having a sheriff in their area serve them. First, however, you would need to know their address or work location.

How long does a Defendant have to respond to service of Georgia divorce papers?

If the recipient of the divorce paperwork, the Defendant, lives in Georgia, they have 30 days to formally respond. In other words, if they wish to formally challenge the divorce summons, they have 30 days to submit a counterpetition.

If the recipient lives in another state, that deadline stretches to 60 days. If they live outside of the country, the deadline is 90 days.

How much does it cost to serve divorce papers in Georgia?

If you hire a sheriff to serve papers upon your spouse, the fee will be set by the county. In most cases, the fee is under $100 and closer to $50.

If you hire a professional process server, they will name their price. According to the National Association of Professional Process servers, that fee could range from $20 to $100.

If you’re hoping to find the lowest fee possible, it may be wise to research process servers and their costs before you submit your complaint to the Superior Court

Suggested: Everything You Need to Know before Getting Divorced in Georgia

FAQ about serving divorce papers in Georgia

Can I serve my spouse the divorce papers myself?

No. You must use formal service or have them sign an Acknowledgment of Service, which releases you from the obligation of formally serving them.

What if my spouse does not respond to my complaint?

In some states, when a spouse fails to respond to a divorce petition after a certain number of days, a default divorce ensues. The court takes their non-action to mean that they forfeit their right to have any say in the divorce settlement.

In Georgia, however, there is no “default” divorce option. This does not mean you cannot get divorced if your spouse refuses to participate. It merely means you will need to submit more paperwork to the court asking to proceed with the divorce without your spouse’s participation.


Divorce Forms in Georgia: General Information.
Divorce Forms. Georgia Legal Aid.
Superior Court Clerks Directory.
Senior Editor
Communication, Relationships, Divorce Insights
Melissa Schmitz is Senior Editor at Hello Divorce, and her greatest delight is to help make others’ lives easier – especially when they’re in the middle of a stressful life transition like divorce. After 15 years as a full-time school music teacher, she traded in her piano for a laptop and has been happily writing and editing content for the last decade. She earned her Bachelor of Psychology degree from Alma College and her teaching certificate from Michigan State University. She still plays and sings for fun at farmer’s markets, retirement homes, and the occasional bar with her local Michigan band.