Divorce Decree Georgia

In Georgia, a Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce is a legal document signed by a judge that contains the final decision on the dissolution of marriage and its terms. Spouses who terminated marital relations can obtain its copy at the county clerk’s office where the divorce was granted.

What’s Included in a Divorce Decree?

The Final divorce decree in Georgia provides information about the date the dissolution of marriage was granted and the divorce terms approved by the judge. Their list may vary depending on whether children under 18 are involved in the case. It may include the following marriage termination issues:

  • Proportions of child custody.
  • Amount of child support.
  • Visitation schedule.
  • Distribution of assets and debts.
  • Appointment of alimony, etc.

In Georgia, there are several forms of divorce decree: one of them is intended for cases without children and the other is used for dissolutions with children under 18.

In addition to general information, it contains the names of the petitioner and the defendant, the civil case number, and the judge’s signature.

Where Can You Get a Divorce Decree in Georgia?

You can obtain a copy of the divorce decree in Georgia from the Superior Court clerk in the county where a judge granted you a marriage dissolution.

While you cannot have the original because it is a permanent court record, the clerk may provide you with a regular or certified copy. In most cases, you will need a certified one since only it can serve as sufficient confirmation that you and your spouse have terminated the marriage. You may be required to present a copy of your Decree when returning to your maiden name, changing documents during the distribution of assets, resolving child custody issues, etc.

You can obtain a certified copy of the Decree from the clerk’s office in person or by mail. If you plan to receive it personally, you should come to the court clerk on any working day. If you choose to get it by mail, you will need to ask for it by sending a letter with a self-addressed and stamped envelope attached.

In Georgia, divorce records are public, so anyone can get them anytime. You can also search for them by using the Georgia Court Records website.

How Much Is a Divorce Decree in Georgia?

To get a regular or certified copy of your divorce decree in Georgia, you must pay a fee. Its amount is similar within the state but may vary slightly from district to district.

In Cobb County, for example, the cost of certified copies depends on the document you need. The Final Divorce Decree with an Agreement costs $24, while the price for the Final Divorce Decree without an Agreement is only $10. Regular copies are cheaper; your expenses for them will be $9 and $3, respectively.

In Gwinnett County, you will have to pay $2.50 for a certified copy of the first page and $1 for each subsequent one. The same cost is in Clayton County, provided each following page contains the case number information. Each additional page without the case number will cost $0.50.

If you plan to receive copies by mail, consider extra expenses for delivery and envelopes.

How Long Does It Take for a Judge to Sign a Divorce Decree?

The duration of the divorce process depends on the type of your case. It can take from 31 to 60 days in uncontested divorces and from 6 months to a year or more in contested ones.

If the reason for your divorce is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, you must wait at least 30 days for the judge to start reviewing your case, issue a decision, and sign the Decree (O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3). If you and your spouse have no disputes regarding the divorce terms and have concluded a Settlement Agreement, your marriage dissolution can be finalized as soon as the 30-day waiting period expires. However, it may take more than a month if the court’s caseload is high.

If your divorce is contested and you cannot negotiate with the other spouse, you may need several court hearings to resolve the disputes that will delay the date of signing the Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce.

The judge will put their signature on the document after they check and approve your agreements or independently determine the divorce terms that meet the current legislation requirements and children’s best interests if they are involved. The total duration of the process may vary depending on many circumstances.

How Do I Know When My Divorce Is Final in Georgia?

Your divorce is finalized as soon as the judge makes a decision regarding your case and signs the Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce in Georgia. Since you will most likely need to attend at least one court hearing to complete the process, you will be informed of your marriage termination in the courtroom.

The court will set a trial for you after 30 days have passed from the date the defendant was served or the Acknowledgment of Service and Summons was filed with the clerk’s office. If your case is uncontested, the judge will review your arrangements, check the required papers, ask you a few questions, and sign the divorce decree if there are no objections. Once the signature is put, you know that the divorce is final.

If you have disagreements about divorce-related issues, the court may schedule several trials. You will have to attend them until the disputes are resolved and the judge signs the Final Judgement and Decree of Divorce form. After the divorce is finalized, go to the clerk’s office to get a certified copy of the document.