Uncontested Divorce Considerations & Requirements
In most states, filing an uncontested divorce, is generally reserved for divorce situations where both parties have already reached a solid basis of agreement regarding the terms of the divorce. In some states (we’ll use Georgia in this example), there are some preliminary filing requirements that must be met before filing, they are:
- The spouse filing for divorce in Georgia (known as the Petitioner), needs to have resided in the state for a minimum of six months prior to filing. This filing must take place in filing spouse’s residential county.
- A spouse who does not reside in Georgia, or who has not resided in the state for a minimum of six months can still file for divorce against their spouse, so long as the spouse (known as the Respondent) has resided in Georgia for a minimum of six months. In cases such as these, the Petitioner must file for divorce in the Respondent’s county of residence.
Unlike states such as Illinois (known as a “no-fault” state), some states do recognizes fault in divorce cases. When filing for divorce in states like Georgia, you have the option to specify the grounds for divorce as being one of the following:
The No Fault Divorce
No-fault (Neither the Petitioner, nor the Respondent assumes fault for the breakdown of the marriage. The marriage is deemed “irretrievably broken” and cannot be repaired.)
- Addiction to drugs
- Conviction and two-year or more sentence for a crime of moral turpitude
- Cruel treatment
- Force, menace, duress or fraud to establish marriage
- Habitual intoxication / drunkenness
- Incurable mental illness or mental incapacitatation
- Mental incapacity at the marriage’s commencement
- Pregnancy by a man other than the husband
- Willful desertion for a period of at least one year
A divorce in states like Georgia are classified as uncontested if the Respondent does not respond to the divorce (they are considered to have defaulted) or if both parties agree to all of the terms of the divorce including financial, custody, and maintenance terms. It is generally not easy for two parties to reach agreement on all of these terms without the intervention of legal or professional counsel. Even if all terms of the divorce are agreed to between the two parties, it is recommended that each party has their divorce lawyer or legal counsel review the divorce agreement prior to signing. Failure to have the agreement properly reviewed could potentially result in negative consequences for one or both of the divorcing parties.
Forms & Filings Required for Divorce
An uncontested divorce in Georgia could be settled in as few as 31 days from the time of agreement and final review by the courts. In order to process an uncontested divorce, the state of Georgia requires the following filings and forms be completed:
- Disclosure Statement – An overview document of the court action requested and identification of the divorcing parties.
- Domestic Relations Case Filing Form – Includes divorcing parties, case overview, and status.
- Report of Divorce, Annulment, or Dissolution of Marriage – A statistical document required by the state of Georgia.
- Acknowledgment of Service – Form indicating filing intent received and jurisdiction.
- Domestic Relations Case Final Disposition Form – Status result of case.
- Divorce Agreement – Declares the terms related to custody, visitation, and division of marital assets.
- Final Judgment and Divorce Decree – Legally ends the marriage.
- Uncontested Divorce Summary
An uncontested divorce in Georgia should only be considered an option when both spouses work together in a an amiable and respectful manner. Both parties must put aside their verbal and emotional wounds (if their are any) in order to compromise and work towards an agreement. If it can be done, the uncontested divorce is without a doubt the most beneficial to both parties for a variety of reasons. When both parties work together in a mature, honest, and responsible manner, they will greatly reduce the duration of the divorce proceedings and the high cost of divorce lawyers. Contested divorce cases do just the opposite.