Divorce falls into one of two categories: contested and uncontested. The latter is relatively straightforward, which is why it is the preferred option for ending a marriage. If you and your spouse agree on all important aspects of separation—such as child custody and support; spousal support; and division of marital assets and debts—all you really need to do is create an agreement with fair and equitable terms and file the required paperwork with the court. In general, uncontested divorces are completed more quickly and at a comparatively lower cost.
Although contested divorces are traditionally depicted as bitter courtroom dramas, they don’t have to be. In fact, a divorce is technically contested if you and your spouse cannot reach agreement on even one important area. Matters of contention must be litigated, so this is when things become complicated and even stressful.
In Georgia, a contested divorce generally proceeds as follows:
- You or your spouse prepare the divorce petition with your attorney’s assistance and have it served on the other. After the spouse who has been served responds, the petition is filed with the court.
- During a process called discovery, you and your spouse must provide all information relevant to the case. This can include financial records, witness statements, and even the taking of depositions.
- You, your spouse, and your respective attorneys negotiate settlement proposals, which are the preferred method of resolving a contested divorce. If agreement proves to be impossible, however, your case will proceed to court.
- During the ensuing trial, you and your spouse can present evidence, have witnesses called to testify on your behalf, and be cross-examined by one another’s attorneys. After all evidence has been presented, the judge will determine who receives custody of the children, how assets and debts are divided, and which spouse pays support to the other and how much.
As you can see, uncontested divorces are far simpler. When you and your spouse have difficulty reaching agreement on the specifics of your divorce, experienced legal advice can make an important difference. A Georgia divorce attorney can assist you in negotiating acceptable divorce terms, enabling you both to avoid going to court.
At Price Boyd Law, we can help you determine the right Georgia divorce option for you given your personal circumstances. To schedule a confidential consultation and review your entire situation, contact us today.