What is an Uncontested Divorce?
Uncontested Divorce – Georgia Family Law Answers
We receive daily calls from potential clients seeking representation in an uncontested divorce when in reality the divorce is far from an uncontested divorce. Many people think their divorce is uncontested if they both agree that they want a divorce.
While both parties may want to go forward with the divorce, there are a number of issues where the parties may not agree and this causes the divorce to be contested.
In order for a divorce to move forward without further negotiations, both parties must agree to all of the terms of the divorce. This includes issues such as alimony, legal and physical child custody, child support, the division of assets and marital debts. The divorce decree must be signed by both parties and then filed by an attorney of your choice within the county the divorce takes place.
An uncontested divorce is rarely recommended when it comes to couples with children. If you have children signing an uncontested divorce agreement could cost you more in the end. Legally you can file for a modification of the original divorce decree every two years but there are exclusions.
If the divorce is uncontested, how long will it take for it to be finalized?
In Georgia, an uncontested divorce can be finalized at least thirty-one (31) days after all of the necessary documents have been signed and filed with the court. In reality, it may take a couple of months for you to receive your signed final divorce decree. The timeline of when your uncontested divorce is finalized depends on many factors including, the judge’s calendar and the county where the divorce will be filed.
Can my spouse and I use the same divorce attorney?
No, you cannot use the same attorney. We always advise each spouse to hire their own attorney. Even during an uncontested divorce, only one spouse is filing the papers through their attorney. We recommend for each spouse to seek legal counsel. The individual attorneys will ensure that your interests are protected. One attorney can draft all of the documents that are required by the court in order to finalize your divorce. The other attorney will review those documents for your spouse. You may represent yourself if you cannot afford an attorney, but you must follow the court rules and relevant GA laws.
If you need help and want to negotiate your divorce issues further, help is available in the form of mediation. A family law mediator can act as a neutral third party and can help you negotiate a settlement that works for both of you. You can also hire a Family Law Attorney to help you plan for the mediation session and to review a proposed settlement. Your divorce attorney of choice cannot act as your mediator but can arrange a mediator for you.
Once the issues have been worked out during mediation, one spouse’s attorney must file a document, called a complaint, in the local Superior Court; That same attorney will also need to file your agreements as part of the divorce process. Then it is simply a process of waiting at least 31 days and appearing at a final divorce hearing. Your attorney and mediator will charge additionally for mediation services.
If your issues do not get settled during the mediation process you will be required to go to court for a divorce trial. The divorce is now a contested divorce and requires for both spouses to appear in court. You will be prepared by your individual divorce attorney and after your case is heard, the judge will make the final decision about each issue brought before him/her. Contested divorce law fees can vary greatly and depend on the circumstances of each case. Divorce retainers are required to start your case. The fee for your initial consultation at S. Dixon Law Offices is $197. The hourly billing is implemented for all contested divorce cases at our firm. Call to find out more 770-728-6391
How much does it cost to get an uncontested divorce?
The cost of an uncontested divorce varies from attorney to attorney. The average cost for an uncontested divorce at our office is $1500. This fee does not include any additional filing fees. Some attorneys charge by the hour while others charge a flat fee for uncontested divorce matters.
In most cases, you will be required to pay the court’s filing fee as well. The filing fees are different in each county. The filing fees are usually listed on the Superior Court Clerk’s website or in the Clerk’s office in the county where the divorce will be filed, but the family law firm you choose to use for your uncontested divorce can inform you of the exact charges of the filing fees.
If you are in need of a family law attorney or family law mediator in Atlanta, contact us today.
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