The Divorce Process in Georgia – How to file for Divorce
In Georgia, the first step to file for a divorce is the preparation and filing of a legal complaint seeking a divorce. The complaint must state the legal grounds and put statutory references for these grounds. The court will require a fee for this filing and a fee for service. You do not have a lawsuit or a proper action until the other party is served with divorce. This can be done by the sheriff and requested at the same time as filing or done by a private process server. If using a private server you may need to motion the court, depending on the server or jurisdiction. This can also be done by publication. Remember if you do not have proper service you will never have your day in court. To File for a divorce in Georgia means you must follow certain requirements. After the individual is served they have thirty days to file a formal answer to the complaint. This is important. In domestic matters, you are not going to lose by default but by not filing an answer you do waive certain protections in the litigation process involving discovery and the exchange of information. After the answer is received formal discovery should begin. Some counties, like Fulton, make this discovery mandatory and actually provide a packet of the necessary information to be exchanged between the parties. Usually, this is filed by the parties and what documents and questions are necessary is determined by the individual case. This is a very frustrating and expensive part of the process. Many attorneys send out a pre-printed package of general questions and request for documents, much of which is not necessary but relevant enough to be valid. This requires both parties to spend a great deal of time compiling and responding to this information. The response to this information is very important and cannot be avoided. If the questions or for harassment or not relevant then the matter can be argued but if the questions are relevant the court will always force a response. This is the method in which the parties prepare for trial.
To “File for a Divorce In Georgia” You need an experienced Family Law Attorney by your side
At the Law Offices of Julie M. Essa, we help to simplify this process for you by helping you every step of the way. We do not charge by the hour. We offer Flat Fees and you will always know where you stand with your financial obligation to us. No surprise charges every time you send us an email.
Julie M. Essa has over 10 years of experiences as a Family Law Attorney in Georgia. Julie has litigated and won many cases as a Personal Injury Attorney and Criminal Defense Attorney and is tenacious, knowledgable and experienced when it comes to fighting for you! Attorney Julie M. Essa is familiar with the judges and the court system in the Atlanta area.
During this period there may also be depositions in which the parties are made to go to the other attorney’s office with a court reporter and face questions regarding the case. The attorney is preserving the record and can use this as testimony.
After this process is complete you may have mediation and/or trial. Mediation is required by most counties and is simply a negotiation facilitated by a third party negotiator attempting to guide the parties to resolution. This individual is not a judge or arbitrator and has no authority in the matter nor will they testify in court. Everything that is stated at these negotiations stays in the room and if you cannot reach an agreement you will go to trial.
During the process, you may have had a temporary hearing which is a mini-trial in which the parties are limited by time and can only present one witness. A temporary is usually necessary when the rules of support, custody, and possession of the home need to be determined and this can take place at any time during the process. A final hearing is the actual trial and is just as you see on TV. There are witnesses, evidence, a judge and sometimes a jury.
This is the process of filing and the procedure that will follow. It is always best to reach an amicable conclusion, if possible. You will save thousands of dollars and a great deal of grief; however, if you are not able to get an attorney. This is real litigation and there is a real legal process that must be followed in order to file for divorce.
If you are interested in meeting with us to discuss your divorce, please fill out the form below or simply visit our appointment request page. We offer free consultations and flat fees and service Marietta and the surrounding cities and counties of Atlanta.