How Long Does the Average Divorce Take in Georgia?

People who file for divorce in Georgia usually want the process to be over as soon as possible. No one likes when legal issues drag on. However, divorces are deeply personal, so separating spouses are often even more eager to bring things to a close. That’s why one of the first questions they ask attorneys is how long the divorce process is likely to take. If you’re reading this, you probably have the same question. Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer since each divorce is different.

Georgia divorce laws include requirements, waiting periods, and residency conditions that must be met before a divorce can be finalized.

A lot depends on how quickly the parties can settle matters regarding property division, alimony, and child custody. Some divorcing couples can decide on these issues among themselves, but others argue every step of the way. The divorce process typically begins with the filing of a divorce complaint, which initiates the legal proceedings. The more issues that are contested, the longer the process is likely to take. That’s why there’s really no “average” divorce. That being said, there are some minimum timeframes that you should be aware of. Your divorce lawyer in Albany, Georgia will advise you on what applies in your case.

Divorce in Georgia Woman Taking Off Ring

The Shortest Time A Divorce in Georgia Can Take

Most divorces granted in Georgia are no-fault divorces. This means the spouse asking for the divorce doesn’t have to prove the other did something wrong. A no-fault divorce allows for a streamlined process without attributing fault to either party. They simply need to file the divorce papers and say the relationship is beyond repair. A divorce decree is the final legal document issued by the court that officially ends the marriage and outlines the terms of the divorce, including property division, alimony, and child custody.

With this type of divorce in Georgia, the court can’t hold the trial until 30 days from the date the papers were filed. This provision in the law is there to allow for reconciliation if possible.

After the 30 days have passed, the court clerk passes the divorce file onto the judge’s assistant who reviews it for completeness. The documents then go on to the judge for another review. If the judge approves the petition, they will sign off on the Final Order and mail it to you or your divorce lawyer in Albany. Most divorces aren’t finalized in 31 days. This is partly because court schedules are often too packed for divorce cases to be dealt with immediately. There may also be some elements of contention which require a court hearing. In most cases, the process takes between 60 and 90 days. Contested divorces present additional challenges.

What Happens During a Contested Divorce Process

Contested divorces can take a long time and a number of things can come up. A formal response to a divorce petition is a critical step in contested divorces, as it outlines the respondent’s position and must be filed within a specified timeframe. The discovery process in divorces and other civil matters is usually around 6 months. This is the fact-finding part of the case before the trial when the parties must disclose all relevant facts and documents. The judge has the discretion to extend or reduce the time. Contested divorces often involve disputes over child support and spousal support, which can elongate the process.

Negotiating and attempting to reach a settlement between the two parties can also take time. However, this may be faster than trying to get a hearing so the judge can decide. The courts often require the parties to go through mediation before putting them on the calendar. Scheduling a hearing can take up to 45 days. If the divorce remains contested, the process can take anywhere from nine months to a year or even more. Reaching a divorce agreement is crucial in resolving contested issues, as it formalizes the terms agreed upon by both parties. It is not unheard of for a highly contested divorce to take three years. A lot depends on how much you and your former spouse are able to agree on without the courts having to issue a ruling. The skill of your attorney can also make a big difference. Temporary orders for child support and spousal support can be requested during the divorce process. If you’re interested in learning more about prenuptial agreements and how they impact divorce cases, view this page.

Custody arrangements are another significant aspect of contested divorces, as they determine the living and visitation rights of children involved. The implications of custody disputes can greatly affect the duration and complexity of the divorce process.

Court Schedules and Backlogs

The availability of court dates can also impact the divorce timeline. Courts in larger or busier jurisdictions may have backlogs, leading to delays in scheduling hearings and trials. Additionally, the complexity of the case and the court’s docket can influence how long it takes to reach a resolution.

Post-Divorce Proceedings

Even after a divorce is finalized, further legal proceedings may be necessary. Post-divorce modifications, such as changes to child custody or support arrangements, can arise and may require additional court time and negotiation, further extending the overall timeline of divorce-related matters.

Factors Influencing the Duration

Several factors can influence the length of a divorce in Georgia, including the level of conflict between the parties, the complexity of the marital estate, the presence of children, and the need for expert evaluations (such as custody evaluations or property appraisals). Each case is unique, and these variables can significantly impact the duration of the divorce process.

An uncontested divorce can be expedited and typically concludes within a few months.

How Will A Lawyer Help Me?

It’s not mandatory that you have a lawyer. However, representing yourself isn’t wise. You’re unlikely to be aware of all the legal requirements and this will be a highly emotional experience. It’s best to work with an experienced divorce attorney who will handle all the legal matters, facilitate compromise, and ensure all necessary documents are filed accurately and on time.

Filing for divorce in Georgia typically involves submitting paperwork to the superior court, meeting legal requirements, and paying a filing fee to officially notify the other party about the divorce proceedings. Even uncontested divorces are subject to certain legal procedures and waiting periods. If there are no assets to be divided and no minor children involved, you may be able to handle things on your own. However, if either of these is present you shouldn’t try to go at it alone, even if the divorce is uncontested. You could actually lose more than the cost of hiring a lawyer if you try to work alone.

With contested divorces, hiring an attorney should be a no-brainer. These divorces can be quite complicated, and you may not get a fair outcome if you’re unrepresented.

Divorce in Georgia Lawyer

Contact Joe Durham Jr. P.C. Today to Discuss Your Georgia Divorce Case

Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult life events. Whether you filed for divorce or it’s your spouse who wants to end the marriage, you’ll want the process to move quickly. While we can’t predict how long your divorce in Georgia will take, we can support you every step of the way and ensure your rights are protected. Call our divorce law firm in Albany, Georgia today to book a consultation.

In an Accident?

Don't Hesitate, Contact Us Today!

Joe Durham Jr., P.C. is a highly experienced personal injury attorney, dedicated to ensuring his clients get the compensation they deserve. When you need help, he's got your back!