Getting a divorce is a big step, both emotionally and practically. Uncontested divorce provides the fastest and least expensive way to dissolve a marriage, but the process may still not be as simple as you expect.
Requirements for a Divorce in Georgia
To get a divorce in Georgia, either you or your spouse must be a Georgia resident. Since Georgia accepts “no-fault” divorces, you don’t need a specific reason to get divorced. Simply saying that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” is grounds enough to start the proceedings.
However, there are some circumstances that provide grounds for divorce and those may influence how the judge views the case. Some common grounds for divorce include:
- Irreconcilable Differences
- Abandonment and desertion for one year
- A conviction that results in a prison term of two or more years
- Substance abuse
- Physical or emotional abuse
- Incurable mental illness
Most of the time, an uncontested divorce will be based on the grounds that a marriage is irretrievably broken, which does not require proof that one spouse did something wrong. In other words, an uncontested divorce will be a no-fault divorce.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is one where both spouses already agree on all the terms of the divorce at the time of filing. The terms include some potential areas of major conflict, including:
- Spousal support
- Distribution of marital property
- Distribution of marital debts
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
Generally, the parties’ arrangement regarding these issues is spelled out in a separation agreement also referred to as a Settlement Agreement.
The main benefit of an uncontested divorce is that the parties get to control what happens, who gets what, and the parenting arrangement if children are involved; it’s significantly faster and cheaper than a contested divorce.
While you can negotiate terms and draw up the agreement and other paperwork yourself, many people choose to work with an experienced divorce lawyer to protect their rights and ensure that legal requirements are fulfilled.
Can an Uncontested Divorce Become Contested?
It’s important to note that a general agreement about major issues isn’t enough to guarantee an uncontested divorce. Both you and your spouse must agree on all issues, which is often trickier than you’d expect.
For instance, you may agree that your spouse retains custody of your child. However, do you also agree on a visitation plan that conflicts with your work schedule? You need to iron out all the details before presenting your case as an uncontested divorce.
Contested divorces don’t have to be hostile. The term simply means that some issues still require discussion and resolution. Both you and your spouse may be amenable to negotiations and having an attorney guiding the process can speed it up dramatically.
Even hostile spouses will eventually resolve their disagreements. It may require the intervention of a judge or mediator, but the issues under contention can be settled so the divorce can be finalized.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?
It’s quite possible to file for an uncontested divorce yourself. However, there are many ways an attorney can assist during the process. An attorney can guide you through the nuances and negotiate details of the agreement, helping protect the things that are most important to you. A legal advisor could explain the implications and available options regarding particular issues and help you iron out small disagreements that may otherwise turn into larger problems.
The assurance you can gain from working with an experienced divorce lawyer does not need to be expensive. We offer an uncontested divorce plan at a flat rate of just $2,500 plus the cost of filing fees, which varies by county.
Find out How a Divorce Lawyer Could Help with an Uncontested Divorce
The experienced divorce team at Tessie D. Edwards & Associates can help prevent costly mistakes and ensure that the divorce process is as smooth and stress-free as possible. For a confidential consultation to learn more about how we could assist in your case, contact us now.