Uncontested Divorce in Georgia

Uncontested divorce in Georgia is a type of marriage dissolution that requires spouses to agree on all divorce-related issues. To be eligible for an uncontested divorce, one must also meet certain requirements, such as residing in the state for a specific amount of time or attending parenting classes for couples with kids. The divorce process typically includes preparing the necessary documents, filing them with the court, serving a defendant, waiting for the response, completing the waiting period, and finalizing the divorce.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce? Georgia Definition

Getting an uncontested divorce in Georgia is possible when both spouses are in agreement concerning ending their marriage and all aspects related to it, such as custody of kids, property distribution, spousal support terms, etc. Such a divorce type, often referred to as a simple divorce, is the quickest and easiest method to dissolve a marriage.

Eligibility Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce in Georgia

In Georgia, some specific requirements must be met to go through an uncontested divorce. Let’s focus on them in more detail.

1. Georgia Divorce Residency Requirements

Under the 2020 Georgia Code, a divorce can be granted by Georgia courts only to individuals who have lived in the state for at least six months before filing. A Complaint must be submitted in the county where the respondent lives. If only the petitioner is a state resident, the divorce must be filed in their county.

2. Mutual Agreement

Spouses must compromise on all the divorce terms, including property division, child custody arrangements, alimony award, etc. Reaching an agreement out of court has several benefits. It helps a couple avoid prolonged court litigation, reducing time and expenses on the process. Besides, spouses typically need less legal representation or may not use it altogether, which leads to significant cost savings. Moreover, it can reduce stress for children involved in the case as issues are resolved amicably, without court battles between parties.

3. Parenting Class

Couples with children under 18 should take a mandatory parenting class. It aims to assist parents and children in adapting to life after divorce. The parenting class fees typically range from $30 to $60. All parenting seminars are usually no longer than four to six hours.  Since the class is ordered by the court, any divorce, contested or uncontested, cannot be finalized until spouses submit the certificate confirming that they have attended a parenting class.

How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Georgia?

To get a divorce in Georgia, spouses must understand the main steps involved. For an uncontested case, the process may be as follows:

  1. Meet Residency Requirements. Make sure you fulfill the residency requirement, meaning either spouse has been a bona fide state resident for at least six months before submitting the divorce documents. Only under such conditions do the Georgia courts have jurisdiction over your case.
  1. Prepare the Necessary Documents. Uncontested divorce papers in Georgia usually include a Complaint for Divorce, a Domestic Relations Case Filing Information Form, a Settlement Agreement outlining the terms agreed upon by spouses, and any other case-specific forms required by Georgia courts. If dealing with paperwork on your own is difficult, while hiring a lawyer for this task is expensive, consider ordering divorce papers from our service. You can get all the necessary documents for a very moderate price in just a few days.
  1. File the Documents. Filing for divorce in Georgia means submitting the Complaint for Divorce and other mandatory papers to the court clerk’s office. Please note that a petitioner must cover Georgia divorce filing fees that vary from county to county, ranging from $200 to $300. Additionally, if you consider e-filing, this service can cost extra.
  1. Serve Your Spouse. The petitioner must deliver copies of divorce documents to the defendant, thus notifying them about the initiated divorce case. When spouses pursue an uncontested divorce, a respondent may sign an Acknowledgment of Service. This way, they declare that official paper serving isn’t required and they are fully aware of the pending divorce process. Otherwise, a petitioner has to hire a professional process server or a sheriff to hand-deliver the copies and complete the Sheriff’s Entry of Service. Such assistance comes at an additional cost.
  1. Wait for the Response. According to Georgia regulations, a defendant has 30 days to prepare and file a response. Since partners have chosen an uncontested divorce, a respondent needs to agree with the claims made by a petitioner in a divorce petition.
  1. Finalize the Divorce. Under Georgia law, there is a mandatory 30-day waiting period following the service of papers before the divorce can be officially finalized. Typically, uncontested divorces are granted within a month after the waiting period has passed. The court’s caseload is usually the main factor at this point.

Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is usually a more peaceful alternative to contested litigation. However, this marriage dissolution type has other important advantages besides its amicable nature:

  • More control over the outcome. By negotiating divorce terms, spouses have higher chances to reach decisions that suit them both. Whether by themselves or with the help of a skilled mediator, they can agree on how marital assets and debts will be split, who will have legal and physical custody, whether alimony is required, etc.
  • Lower expenses. An uncontested divorce is considered a cheap method of terminating a marriage. When spouses manage to communicate openly and work cooperatively, they may not involve lawyers and won’t have to pay divorce attorney fees. In general, divorce expenses will consist of fees for preparing, filing, and serving documents.
  • Speedy process. Partners interested in a quick divorce typically opt for an uncontested marriage dissolution. With no debatable topics that require in-court hearings, they can finalize divorce within several months.
  • Privacy. Uncontested divorces usually maintain greater privacy compared to contested cases, which can involve public court hearings.

Disadvantages of an Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is definitely a civil, cost-efficient, and fast way to end a marriage. Still, it sometimes entails certain risks you should be aware of. For instance, if one partner is more educated, skilled, or has a higher income than the other, or if there’s been abuse, infidelity, or dishonesty in the marriage, the other partner may need a lawyer or someone to speak up for them to make sure their rights and interests are protected. Any power imbalance may lead to unfair decisions, which may cause much regret in the future.

In this case, it may be better to file for a contested divorce and let the judge resolve the disputes according to state guidelines. Thus, the court will consider the rights and obligations of both parties and issue a fair and well-grounded Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce.

Uncontested Divorce F.A.Q.

1. How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?

On average, an uncontested divorce in Georgia lasts a couple of months. Once the mandatory 30-day waiting period expires, the court can grant a divorce unless other cases are pending.

2. How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Georgia?

The typical cost of an uncontested divorce without minor children is approximately $600 and $800-$1,000 if kids are involved. A divorce filing fee varies from $200 to $300.

3. Do I Need an Attorney for an Uncontested Divorce?

It isn’t strictly necessary to have a lawyer when getting a divorce in Georgia, even an uncontested one. Some couples still hire legal experts not to turn their cases into a contested divorce but to receive legal advice on important issues, understand their rights, or complete divorce documents properly. The level of attorney’s involvement is always a matter of preference.