Divorce can be an unfortunate thing. The unwinding of a marriage requires experienced and professional counsel to assure that Georgia laws and procedures are followed and that your interests are protect.
We can help you move forward with the filing of a summons and complaint with the Superior Court in the proper Georgia county or the filing of an answer in a divorce suit against you. If the defendant spouse is a Georgia resident, then the case will be filed in that person's county of residence. If the defendant spouse is not a Georgia resident, then the case will usually be filed in the plaintiff's county of residence. The complaint names the parties involved, the jurisdiction of the court, any minor children and their birth dates, the grounds for divorce, and the desired relief. The court, if the parties do not reach an agreement, will hear evidence and make a decision on issues of alimony, property division, child support, child custody, and any other issues. The court can restore the wife's maiden or prior name if she wishes.
Filing fees vary slightly from county to county with a base fee of $210.00. County add-on fees can be up to $10.00 more. Additionally, there is a fee for the service of papers, which is about $50.00 except for in cases of “family violence” in which there is no filing or service fee.
Once the papers have been served, the defendant has 30 days to file an answer with the court. In no-fault cases, a divorce cannot be granted prior to 31 days after service. In some cases, the parties may seek temporary relief in the form of alimony (which can include attorney's fees), child custody and support, a restraining order in cases of abuse, and exclusive possession of the marital residence all of which the court has the power to grant.
In the state of Georgia, you must choose among thirteen grounds for divorce. The spouse who files for the divorce is the plaintiff in the case, and the served party is the defendant. It may make no difference which party initiates the action. One possible advantage to being the plaintiff is that your side of the story is told first in its entirety, but in practice this does not always make a significant difference. Out of the grounds for divorce, there are 12 in which one party must prove that the other party is at fault for something. However, if you believe that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” neither party will be at fault.
It is important during a divorce to be mindful of how you use social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram accounts as information posted on these sites and even private messages can be used as evidence in court.
Part of the divorce process may involve discovery. Discovery can include depositions, written interrogatories (questions) and the production of documents. In some cases, discovery can include inspection of houses, buildings and land. Where equitable property division is at issue, it is important to do discovery to confirm and establish the assets and debts to be divided. It is very important to have a qualified attorney to assist in the production of these documents to ensure that you get the best possible deal in your settlement.
For cases in northeast Georgia, we are ready to assist you in your divorce. Call or email NMS Law Firm today.