How long do I have to live in Fayetteville to file for divorce?
In order to file for divorce in Georgia, you must be a resident of this state for at least six months preceding the filing of the action.
In Georgia, all actions for divorce must be brought in the county where the defendant resides if he or she is a resident of Georgia. If the defendant is not a resident of Georgia, the action must be brought in the county where the plaintiff resides.
Generally, the county of residence for the defendant will be the one in which he or she has resided for the six months preceding the filing of the action. Georgia law does provide, however, that a divorce case may be tried in the county of residence of the plaintiff if the defendant has moved from that same county within six months from the date of the filing of the divorce action and this county was the site of the marital domicile at the time of the separation of the parties.
Is there a mandatory waiting period in Fayetteville before a divorce can be granted? How long will a divorce take?
Georgia does not have a “waiting period” for a court to grant a divorce. The general rules of civil litigation, however, regarding entry of a judgment apply to divorce and other domestic cases in Georgia.
In Georgia, all civil cases, including divorce matters, can be tried anytime after the last day upon which defensive pleadings were required to be filed. This means that a final decree of divorce may be taken at any time after 30 days from the date of service of process on the defendant.
If you are filing an uncontested divorce (all issues are agreed upon between the parties), the Georgia Uniform Superior Court Rules provide the court can grant your divorce beginning at 31 days after service on the defendant.
If your divorce is contested, the length of the divorce will depend on several factors. If few issues are contested, you could reach an agreement and be divorced within a couple of months after filing for divorce.
On the other hand, if the case is highly contested, your divorce could last anywhere from several months to a few years.
How can I serve my spouse in Fayetteville? If attempts to serve do not work, can I serve by publication?
In Georgia, you must have your spouse personally served with a copy of divorce complaint. You can use the Sheriff’s Office of the county in which you filed for divorce to have your spouse served.
Typically, you would contact the civil process division of the Sherriff’s Office to request service of a divorce action.
Most counties will allow you to use a private process server. If you use a private process server, depending on the county in which you are filing for divorce, you may need to obtain an order from the court granting you such permission.
Each county varies on these requirements, and you would need to contact the clerk of the county in which you filed for divorce to determine the requirements.
If you are unable to locate your spouse, you may serve him or her by publication. State law requires that you obtain an order from the court granting you permission to perfect service by publication.
Georgia law requires that service by publication be made in the paper in which sheriff’s advertisements are printed, be published four times within the ensuing 60 days, and publications to be at least seven days apart.
Where do I file for divorce in Fayetteville?
In Georgia, you cannot file for divorce in the municipal, city, or state court. The Georgia Constitution provides that the superior courts of the state shall have “exclusive jurisdiction” in divorce actions.
You must file for divorce in the Superior Court of the county in which the opposing party resides.
How much are filing fees?
The cost to file for a divorce varies by courthouse and can be as little as $200 in Greene County to as much as $218.50 in Fulton and Cobb counties.
Are there any Fayetteville-Specific laws that are different from how other family law cases around the state are handled?
Every superior court in Georgia will follow the Uniform Superior Court Rules. These rules outline how much time you have to respond to certain motions or to prepare and file certain documents, as well as which documents are required for the filing of certain actions. If you are not aware of the timing of when you need to respond or prepare basic forms, you could negatively impact the outcome of your case.
As far as the laws are concerned, every county will adhere to the same state law; however, the interpretation of the laws is up to the judge that is assigned to your case.
Certain counties are known for frequently awarding maintenance while others are not. This is not because that county follows a different set of rules. The reason behind the diverse outcomes in similar situations is due to individual judges interpreting the laws in his or her unique way.
The only local county that has its own rules in addition to the Uniform Superior Court Rules is Fulton County. Fulton County handles its domestic relations cases differently.
In 1998, the Fulton County Family Division was established. Today, there are three Superior Court Judges who exclusively oversee domestic relations cases. The purpose of the Family Division is to make domestic relations cases less adversarial, under the theory that parties who reach an agreement are less likely to litigate in the future.
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