Divorce FAQs

Does it matter who files for divorce first?

It does not typically matter who is the first to file a case. The person who files the case is known as the Plaintiff and the other party is known as the Defendant. By filing the case, the Plaintiff ultimately has the opportunity to go first if the case cannot be settled, at trial. 90% of all cases settle prior to trial.

What if I file for divorce and my spouse and I still live together?

Spouses may generally be considered separated in a legal sense if they live under the same roof as long as they are not having sexual relations.

What are the grounds for divorce in Georgia if the divorce is fault based?

  • Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity
  • Mental incapacitation
  • Impotence at the time of getting married
  • Force, duress and fraud
  • Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, unknown to the husband
  • Adultery by either spouse
  • Willful and continued desertion by either of the spouses for the term of one year
  • Conviction of a felony and imprisoned for a term of two years or longer
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Cruel treatment
  • Incurable mental illness
  • Habitual drug addiction

How long is my divorce going to take?

It depends. If you reach an agreement on all issues, the divorce is considered "uncontested," and may be granted 31 days after everything is filed. If disagreement exists regarding any matter involved in the divorce, the divorce will be obtained when the case reaches the court, which can take many months or even years depending on the court's schedule. Of course, if you reach an agreement while the case is pending, you can submit that to the court almost immediately and the case will be over and the divorce will be granted.

What are the advantages of a collaborative divorce?

  • You each have more control over the outcome. You can voice your opinions and know that you will be heard.
  • You get to agree to settlement issues based on compromise and fair play instead of having a judge make the final decisions that affect your lives
  • It is less expensive than litigation. Attorney fees and court costs can add up quickly.
  • The process takes less time than litigation because you chose the time and place to meet instead of dealing with the timetable of busy divorce courts.
  • There is far less stress and anxiety involved because you are playing a more active role in the divorce.
  • The goal is to reach a settlement before anyone files papers in divorce court. Once a couple accepts a settlement, a legally binding agreement is written. Once signed by both parties the papers are filed in court for the approval of a judge.
  • You know that you worked together to make life easier for everyone. This is especially important if children are involved.

What is a custody evaluation?

Parties involved in a divorce with custody of children may agree to have a formal custody evaluation, and from time to time the court may require this. The American Psychological Association has prescribed a procedure or protocol for child custody evaluations. These evaluations usually require all adult family members to have a psychological evaluation as well as the children depending on their ages. The psychologist meets with the parties individually and with the child. The psychologist may contact third parties such as therapists or physicians. The decision that the evaluator reaches is put in the form of a report which includes the evaluator's findings. The facts upon which the evaluator relies are set out in the report and the report is transmitted to the court for the judge's consideration. Judges are not bound to follow the recommendations of the evaluator, and typically consider it along with the other evidence when making the custody determination. Custody evaluations however carry significant weight with most judges.