Demystifying Uncontested Divorce in Georgia: A Comprehensive Guide
“Divorce is never a nice thing, but it’s very easy to take family for granted, and when there’s a divorce, you don’t take things for granted so much.”
An uncontested divorce in the United States is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to end one’s marriage when it is not working. While many couples tend to understand this, they often misinterpret the term itself, thinking that all it entails is the readiness of both parties to get divorced. Indeed, the issue is fraught with certain misconceptions, and the mutual desire for a cheap uncontested divorce is not enough for the spouses to live through the process quickly and easily.
In this article, we will try to explain a few things about uncontested divorces in general, figure out popular misconceptions, destroy some myths, and explain how to get an uncontested divorce in Georgia. If you’re still trying to save your marriage, check out these alternatives to divorce.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce means that the spouses agree on all the issues of their separation. It is not enough to be mutually ready to dissolve the marriage. Both parties must also be on the same page in all the possible disputes involved. They must agree on the reasons for the divorce, the resolutions of all the accompanying issues, and the terms settled after the end of the marriage. These aspects may include all or some of the following:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Parenting visitations
- Spouse support and alimony
- Division of marital property
- Allocation of debts
Only if the couple can reach all the detailed agreements on these issues on their own and create a Marital Settlement Agreement without the interference of attorneys or trials, their divorce can qualify as uncontested. In case the court needs to step in to make the decision on at least some of the disputes, the divorce is contested.
It should also be noted that a couple or one of the spouses can file for divorce only in the state they reside in. In addition to state residency requirements, there may also be some variations in the procedure in each state and even in each county. Thus, it is necessary to research the issue in your particular location before taking any steps.
Uncontested Divorce in Georgia
Just like across the United States, in Georgia, you have an option of a contested and uncontested divorce. The terms are all the same: if you cannot settle all the disputes amicably, go to the trial; if you can craft an adequate Marital Settlement Agreement on your own, the process will end faster and simpler. In addition, you need to meet resident qualifications and agree on the legal grounds for your divorce. Let’s look at all these requirements a bit closer.
To qualify for a Georgia uncontested divorce, the couple should meet the state residency requirements. For this, one or both spouses must have lived in the state for at least six months before filing. If only the respondent meets this requirement, the petition must be filed in the county he or she lives.
For uncontested divorce in Georgia, the spouses need to agree on the legal grounds for their separation. While the reason may be either at-fault or no-fault, the former is not likely to be stated in the petition for an uncontested divorce since it presupposes adultery, cruelty, or violence; there’s hardly a spouse who would admit such a fault. For a no-fault divorce, you can state that your marriage is irretrievably broken, which does not require any proof of that. It simply means that your union is irreparable.
Marital Settlement Agreement
If you intend to get a cheap uncontested divorce, you and your spouse need to be able to reach all the agreements on the disputable issues on your own and draft a Marital Settlement Agreement that outlines all the terms and conditions in detail. The issues concern all your marital assets, debts, and minor children (the ones under the age of 18) as well as any possible additional disputes.
Points you need to agree upon and include in your Agreement document are:
- Property division. Decide on how to divide all real and personal property acquired mutually during the years of your marriage.
- Debt allocation. Agree on who and to what extent is responsible for any joint debts, including mortgages, loans, and/or credit card debts.
- Alimony. Decide if any of you will pay spousal support to another party, its amount, and the duration of payments.
- Child custody. Agree on legal and physical custody as well as all the accompanying details like the parent children will stay with, visitation place and time, holidays, vacations, and other events, etc.
- Child support. Define all the terms and conditions of financial support for your minor children after your separation.
If you face challenges agreeing on some of these issues but still want to benefit from the Georgia uncontested divorce, you can resort to the help of a mediator – a neutral third-party specialist who can guide you in the process of negotiations. While they do not make any final decisions, their guidance and assistance can still save you from taking your case to court, and their fees are lower than those of attorneys.
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If you’re one of our readers in Georgia, and unfortunately you reach this stage, a cheap uncontested divorce in Georgia is the simplest way to dissolve a marriage that cannot be saved. For this, you only need to keep yourself from irritation, anger, or any other displays of inappropriate behavior and be able to find consensus with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse on all the terms and conditions after you separate. You absolutely can work it all out on your own and amicably. However, remember that qualified help or at least a consultation from an experienced family lawyer is always advisable. It will save you from possible mistakes in the paperwork, which can turn out to be even more expensive, and prevent the necessity to start the entire process anew.