Although divorce is a complicated and somewhat lengthy process, most of nowadays divorce in the state of Georgia are far from that image cultivated by dramatic TV shows and movies.
The modern tendency assumes arranging a divorce, so to say, behind the scenes.
Now, an absolute majority of Georgia divorce lawsuits are uncontested ones. To avoid the unnecessary expenses and lang-drawn procedures associated with contesting a divorce case before the court a lot of couples are ready to communicate and try to seek agreement regarding their divorce.
The disputable issues like child custody and support, co-parenting after divorce, alimony, or property division must be resolved out of court, in a good two-way dialogue. Here is the main feature of uncontested divorce – as a result of their negotiations and before the final hearing, the spouses must provide the court with the signed and notarized Marital Settlement Agreement which outlines all their joint decisions. It can be said that this document allocates the former spouses’ rights and obligations concerning various spheres of their lives, regulating their roles in a new, post-divorce reality. Once the judge reviews the agreement and approves it (if it complies with the state family law and other specific requirements) the divorce can be officially granted.
As statistics show, the possible difficulty of cooperating with your soon-to-be-ex is entirely worth all the money you can save, but you still should be well-informed and prepared so that to proceed through an uncontested divorce.
Many people do not know that when they want to get a cheap divorce in Georgia, there are actually various routes of uncontested divorce among which they can choose the most suitable one. All these types of divorce assume interaction with your spouse in varying degrees (no wonder an uncontested divorce is also called amicable sometimes), but each of them is dependent on particular circumstances of your case, your will to hire a divorce lawyer to assist you, and your relationship with the partner.
So now, let’s observe the three main ways of how to arrange a quick and affordable divorce in Georgia.
A divorce by default is undoubtedly the most passive way to get an inexpensive divorce. A default judgment can be entered if the defendant (non-filing party) does not attempt to defend their interests, not giving any response to the Divorce Petition.
The thing is that the spouse who initiates the case must serve the other spouse with the copies of divorce papers, so the latter has 30 days to respond to the petition. So if the defendant refuses or for some reason fails to file an answer within these 30 days, the divorce can be granted by default, without his/her participation. The judge will satisfy the plaintiff’s requests set out in the petition and sign the Final Judgement and Decree. Since in such case, there is no interaction between the spouses, there is no need to hire an attorney or create a settlement agreement as well. So, the spouses’ expenses will be limited to a mandatory court filing fee, which varies between $80-150 in the state of Georgia. However, divorce by default is an infrequent option. This applied only to the no-fault divorce without minor children, any marital assets and property, not to mention the alimony request. Of course, you should by no means be indifferent to the terms on which the divorce decree will be signed, so just an opportunity to save money is insufficient reason to resort to default divorce.
A DIY divorce is another way to arrange a divorce without a lawyer. In opposite to default divorce, do-it-yourself uncontested divorce implies that the spouses must submit their marital agreement to the court, and both of them must participate in the process and sign the divorce forms. DIY divorce means that the couple acts from their own behalf, without any legal representatives, so this type of divorce is appropriate only if the certain case is simple enough and the partners’ desire to divorce is agreed and mutual. The spouses have to sort out the state and county divorce rules by themselves, to gather al the needed divorce forms and papers and fill them out correctly, apply for a divorce with the court and wait for the final hearing.
The needed divorce forms can be found on government sites or in the court clerk office but paperwork and filing rules are pretty tricky, so you should not refuse the legal assistance if you are going to solve child custody issues or divide marital assets in a divorce. Every divorce case is unique, so it is hard to predict whether your case can be considered as simple enough or not. It is worth studying this question in more detail. You may appoint just one consultation with a lawyer or paralegal to decide whether it is a good idea to proceed independently or resort to professional help just in a particular stage of a divorce process. For example, you can write a parenting plan under the lawyer’s guidance but complete the rest of the documents by yourself.
Each state has its divorce forms. Moreover, in the state of Georgia, some divorce forms vary even by county.
Sometimes it is difficult to understand which forms to file in a particular situation. In addition, filling the forms takes time and efforts. Some divorce cases require a lot of paperwork to complete and submit in a prescribed manner, so you may easily get confused. In such a case, online divorce is a good deal.
Online divorce companies are websites which offer their customers preparation of all the required paperwork in accordance with each divorce case peculiarities.
The working principle of these services is plain. The one logs in to the site and responds some basic questions about their divorce case. It allows the system to draft the set of necessary court forms relevant to the specified circumstances. Also, the forms are completed due to state and county laws and regulations. Although unlike DIY divorce, online divorce sites charge an additional cost (which is separate from court fees), this service is still more affordable than attorney help. Anyway, when it comes to uncontested divorce which does not assume court litigation the main difficulty is namely filling the paperwork. Why pay more if you do not need a lawyer help in the trial?
Contrary to popular belief online divorce is suitable not only the couples who do not have children or whose marriage was rather short. The first condition to file for divorce with the help of online service is the spouses’ mutual will to terminate the marriage and to make a detailed settlement agreement and/or parenting plan. By the way, saving your time, online divorce really lets you focus on your Marital Settlement Agreement as an essential part of a divorce, not on some annoying bureaucracy details.
To sum it all up, a cheap and quick divorce is possible in Georgia if you do not dream of contesting the case and beat your spouse in the trial. The more friendly the spouses are towards each other, the more chances they have to file for divorce without problems, saving their time and money.
Also, all the methods above may be applied separately or mixed up in some way, but they remain cheaper than contesting a divorce and paying an hourly fee to a divorce lawyer.