TYPES OF DIVORCE FILING IN GEORGIA
An uncontested divorce in Georgia is the most common type of divorce petition. In some states this is referred to as a no fault divorce. In this situation both parties agree to wanting a divorce. Most uncontested divorces are settled through mediation and do not go to a trial to be given the final divorce decree.
An uncontested divorce is the least expensive and least stressful of the two options. We strongly recommend filing for uncontested divorce if there is the possibility for you and your spouse to come to an amicable agreement and settlement. This is the best option for people seeking a quick and easy divorce. An uncontested divorce may be filed claiming any of the 12 legal grounds for divorce in Georgia.
A contested divorce in Georgia is a lengthy and costly form of domestic litigation. For various reasons one spouse does not agree to the divorce and is willing to fight the divorce petition. Anyone entering into a contested divorce process should expect a very stressful and expensive ride through the court system.
A contested divorce is usually very complex and may involve the extra expenses of private investigators and third party experts such as physicians, family or marriage counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists and other professionals. A contested divorce may be filed claiming any of the 12 legal grounds for divorce in Georgia.
An annulment in Georgia is done through a decision made by the court. An annulment declares that your marriage is not legally valid. Annulments are not available in divorce cases where children are born or have been born during the time of the marriage. Common reasons for annulments are marriages that are bigamous, contract marriages, done below the legal age of consent or incestuous. Annulments require a hearing before a judge, usually in Superior court, and are not common in Georgia.
The state of Georgia provided that a legal separation is not the same as a divorce and the State, in and of itself, does not allow for a divorce to “piggy back” off a separation between the parties. The length of time the couple has been separated is typically recognized as the date on which one spouse assumed a new residence, or if the couple still resides in the same house, the last date the couple had sexual relations or were actively engaged in marital counseling.
Common Law Marriage
The state of Georgia no longer recognizes common law marriages as a bonafide marital relationship. However, the exception through which the state may recognize a common law marriage as valid is identified in Georgia legal code, Section 19-3.1.1 Common-law marriage; effectiveness:
“No common-law marriage [in Georgia] shall be entered in this state on or after January 1, 1997. Otherwise valid common-law marriages entered into prior to January 1, 1997, shall not be affected by this Code section and shall continue to be recognized in this state.”