Any dissolution of marriage brings changes, whether long-awaited or unwelcome, as well as emotional, legal, and financial challenges. In the end, all divorcing couples strive to make the divorce process as straightforward and painless as possible. Luckily, making the legal procedure simpler is entirely possible with the proper preparation.
We want to help you understand exactly how to get this done and apply for divorce in Georgia with minimum cost and effort.
Amicable Divorce is a Cost-Effective Divorce
According to statistics, the average cost of divorce in Georgia is more than $14,500, with lawyers’ fees making up more than two-thirds of the cost. Moreover, this amount can go much higher if the spouses cannot reach an agreement out of court and the divorce goes to trial.
Thus, we can conclude that a peaceful separation is the key to an affordable divorce.
An amicable divorce almost always means an uncontested divorce where the spouses agree on how to resolve all controversies, like property division, child custody, alimony, etc., without involving a judge. Typically, the couple needs to create a Settlement Agreement that addresses all the issues in their case and submit it to the court with the other documents.
As a rule, only a final hearing is required in an uncontested divorce. Under some circumstances, Georgia law allows finalizing a divorce by a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings without being present for the final hearing. Everything depends on the county, the judge, and the specific case. For example, sometimes, the judges require the spouses to attend a final hearing if they have minor children.
Anyway, proceedings for an uncontested divorce are quick and efficient, with hearings lasting no more than half an hour, in contrast to contested divorces often ending up in long, drawn-out court battles.
So, since they take less time, uncontested divorces are generally much less expensive than contested ones, even if the spouses hire a lawyer who charges per hour.
However, the main feature that makes a no-fault amicable divorce a very beneficial option is that it provides opportunities for getting a divorce without an attorney.
Save Money by Doing Your Divorce Yourself
Filing for divorce without the aid of an attorney is called “Pro Se representation” in legal terms. Representing yourself before a court is valid and legal in Georgia and all over the US, though it works best to end a marriage on an uncontested basis.
The thing is that moving through the court case without a lawyer brings the petitioner greater responsibility for the outcome. Therefore, if one spouse hires an attorney, the second should act similarly to protect their interests.
In contrast, if the spouses can agree, do-it-yourself divorce is an efficient way to reduce divorce costs. That is why, in recent years, many courts have reported an appreciable increase in the number of divorce cases filed by Pro Se litigants.
The divorce procedure is the same for all, regardless of whether a person seeks a lawyer’s help or not.
When filing for divorce on their own, the spouses must specify the same grounds for divorce, defined in the Georgia Code, and meet the state residency requirements.
When the plaintiff submits the necessary legal forms with the court and pays the court filing fees, they obtain the Case Number, and thus the divorce process officially starts.
Georgia law requires a mandatory waiting period, so even a no-fault uncontested divorce cannot be finalized earlier than 30 days after serving the respondent with the divorce papers.
Thus, when both spouses are ready to negotiate and arrange their divorce, legal paperwork is typically the main challenge they face.
Self-represented litigants should be aware of Georgia Family Law and civil procedure rules and know how to correctly fill out the divorce forms to avoid rejection by the court.
Fortunately, there is no need to go to the Court Clerk’s Office to get the necessary legal forms or waste time on paperwork anymore. Now, there are plenty of online divorce companies ready to prepare for uncontested divorce over the internet.
Web Divorce Provides a Win-Win Solution
Internet divorce companies are not the same as law firms. They help their customers get the paperwork to start the process but do not provide legal assistance.
Typically, online divorce involves an automated form generation process that helps clients select and fill out all the required forms. The best online divorce providers guarantee your divorce papers will be ready to file in only two days and at a much lower cost than average attorney fees.
How online divorce works:
- A person visits the relevant website and checks whether their case can be processed online.
- The user next completes an online interview and provides their case details. These answers allow the system to select and customize legal forms to the Georgia laws, specific county rules, etc.
- Online divorce is gaining popularity as a fast and inexpensive way to prepare for an uncontested divorce without leaving home. A user can receive a ready-to-file paperwork package by email in a couple of days.
- After receiving the completed documents, the user can print, sign, notarize, and file them with the court following the written instructions provided by the online divorce assistance service.
Thus, the term “online divorce” does not necessarily mean you can complete a divorce online without attending the courthouse at all.
Please note: Even though filing an application for divorce online is available in some Georgia counties, it can only be done through the GSCCCA e-filing portal, not through online divorce websites.
Although the Georgia Courts website provides Self Help Forms and relevant information, it may not be enough. Required papers can vary by county and depending on a particular couple’s circumstances. Plus, not everyone is willing to spend time sorting out how to fill out each form without mistakes.
As a result, most people seek an alternative option, some middle ground between the legally assisted process and purely DIY divorce. And here, online divorce comes into play, helping you simplify the paperwork, save time, and reduce stress.