It takes many people a really long time to decide the time has come to get a divorce in Georgia. But once the decision is made, they generally want it to be over as soon as possible. However, there are legal issues that sometimes drag the process out a lot longer than you might have hoped.
The Divorce Process in Georgia
Divorce isn’t easy, emotionally or in terms of legalities. The process is complex, particularly when there are children involved. The marital property has to be divided and/or allocated to one party or the other. The question of alimony or spousal support must be considered. If there are minor children involved, child custody, visitation rights, and the responsibility of child support will all have to be agreed on. Even if the divorce is uncontested and amicable, it can take months to finalize.
Issues that affect the time it takes to get a divorce in Georgia include:
- A mandatory waiting period
- Availability of a court date
- Negotiation of divorce terms
- Litigation if the divorce is contested
Mandatory Waiting Period
In Georgia, as in some other US states, there is a minimum waiting period for divorce, even if it is uncontested. So even if both husband and wife agree on everything, and they file jointly for an uncontested divorce, there is still a mandatory 31-day waiting period before the motion asking the court to issue a Final Order and Decree of Divorce may be filed.
It’s unlikely that a court judge will be available to review your court motion immediately. In fact, the majority of uncontested divorce cases take between 30 and 60 days to even get to court. If the judge needs to schedule a hearing, this is likely to lengthen the timeline even further.
Negotiation of Terms
Even if both parties supposedly agree about everything, there are invariably issues that need to be resolved. These range from varying contributions made to accrue combined assets to sacrifices made during the marriage. The latter could be anything from educational or career sacrifices, to an agreement not to have children. But the biggest challenge of any negotiated settlement will relate to children if there are any.
Clearly, not all divorces are uncontested and many end up with litigation in court. Not only does this increase the costs of divorce, sometimes substantially, but litigation can be extremely stressful and can extend the time it takes to get a divorce for lengthy periods of time – easily up to a year or even more.
The Waggoner Hastings Family & Collaborative Law firm specializes in collaborative law and helps clients settle their terms of settlement out of court. This process effectively results in an uncontested divorce that takes the minimal length of time to conclude. Our legal team is experienced and empathetic and will assist with the entire divorce process including the division of property, debt, and business assets, alimony, as well as child custody and child support.