What is the difference between a Contested Divorce and a “No Fault Divorce”?
An Uncontested Divorce, also called a No Fault Divorce or No Contest Divorce, is a divorce in which the spouses agree to the terms of their divorce. The agreement must include the division of property and debts as well as child custody and support. The divorce is filed along with an agreement stipulating that both parties agree to the terms of the divorce. A hearing date is set and the Court will decide whether to approve the divorce and settlement. If possible, it is always a good idea to consider an uncontested divorce. Divorce has significant emotional and financial consequences and to the extent that conflict can be avoided, it is always advisable, especially if there are minor children. If the parties cannot agree to the terms of their divorce, then the divorce is “contested.” The process for a contested divorce is more complicated and will usually involve much more time, emotional expense, and financial expense.
The issues you and your spouse must agree on include:
- How to divide marital property and debt between you;
- Child custody and visitation (we will draft a detailed parenting and visitation plan for you);
- Child support and spousal support (where appropriate).
If my spouse and I agree on getting a divorce, do we still need a no fault divorce attorney?
A divorce attorney will make sure that all matters that should be resolved in a no fault divorce are resolved. Acting without an attorney could end up being a costly mistake both to the parties and to their children. The process and the paperwork is complex, and a divorce is a final judicial order, backed by the full force of the law. It is possible to complete the uncontested divorce process without an attorney, but it is unusual for the parties to navigate the process without any turbulence. Most people find that having an attorney who specializes in no fault divorce can make a very complex and sometimes very difficult process dramatically easier and less stressful. Uncontested (also called “no fault divorce”) is all we do, and we have years of experience completing the process smoothly and efficiently. Most folks find it is in their best interest to have an attorney who is experienced in uncontested divorce to help them through the legal process rather than to go it alone.
Can my spouse and I share custody of our children?
There are two types of custody, legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the right to make major decisions about your child. Joint legal custody means that both parents have rights and responsibilities for major decisions about the child with one parent having final decision-making authority for the major decision areas: medical, educational, extracurricular and religion. Physical custody means the actual physical custody of the child by each parent. In describing the custody arrangement the court uses the term “primary physical custodian” to describe the parent who has physical custody the majority of the time.
Will I have to go to court for a no fault divorce?
If you and your spouse agree to an uncontested divorce – meaning you have agreed on who keeps which assets and debts and you agree on all custody issues if there are children, then many Judges in Georgia will let you complete your divorce without having to appear in court. This is our preferred method of completing a divorce and results in less stress for our clients. Some Judges require that you appear to confirm that all the pleadings are true and the paperwork in order – in that case we will go with you to a brief hearing where we will ask you if the paperwork is true (ie, you are married, you do want a divorce, and you and your spouse did agree to the settlement) and the Judge will issue the final order once you’ve confirmed the paperwork is correct.
How long does a no fault divorce take?
Normally we will have all of your paperwork ready for you to sign within 24 hours of when we meet with you. No fault divorce is all we do, and we’re pretty good at it. Once all your paperwork is signed your attorney will file it with the court. In Georgia there is a mandatory 31 day waiting period between the time the paperwork is filed and when the Judge may rule on it. Many of our clients are able to finalize the process in just five or six weeks from their initial consultation.
Can my spouse and I both meet with you?
Unfortunately, the Bar Association rules prohibit us from representing both parties in the same divorce. For that reason we can only meet with you, our client.
What paperwork is required for an uncontested divorce?
We will draft and file all of the following paperwork for a typical uncontested divorce on your behalf:
- A complaint to initiate the divorce and invoke the Court’s authority;
- A case initiation form to be filed with the Court;
- A summons or, more likely a waiver of summons your spouse can sign;
- A verification which is a sworn statement that the facts in the complaint for divorce is true;
- Proof of process of service or an Acknowledgement of Service your spouse can sign;
- Proof of notice to your spouse of the Court date (or a “consent to try” signed by your spouse);
- If there are Children then a Child Support Worksheet and
- A Parenting plan along with a
- Certificate of completion of Georgia’s “Families In Transition” seminar;
- A final disposition form;
- And in some counties a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit even if the divorce is uncontested;
- Some counties also need an affidavit attesting to the facts of the case;
- and some, but not all counties, require a final hearing;
- others counties permit a motion for “judgment on the pleadings” without requiring a court appearance.
We take care of all the paperwork for you and will step through every document with you so you will fully understand the process as we move forward. We can typically draft all the required paperwork within 24 hours of speaking with you. Sometimes even more quickly.
Please call us today and we can answer your questions over the phone!
Call Savannah Uncontested Divorce (savuncontested.com) at 912-335-3030.