For couples in Georgia, divorce is often arrived at after much marital strife. As a result, the process is usually fraught with tension, even if both parties are largely in agreement about major issues. The more information you have going into a divorce, the less stressful the process will be. Here is some basic information to help you navigate your divorce with as little fallout as possible.

How are divorces initiated?

Divorce petitions are filed in the Superior Court of whatever county your spouse lives in. Petitions should include:

  • You and your spouse’s current living situation
  • Information on debt and assets
  • Current custody arrangements for any children you share
  • Specific reasons why you are filing for divorce

Do not worry about providing too much detail at this point, just touch on the major factors involving your divorce.

How is child custody decided?

Legal custody involves which person has the authority to make major decisions on behalf of the child, while physical custody is where the child actually lives. Both legal and physical custody can be shared, and in most cases, the courts prefer they are. All decisions are made in the best interest of the child, and barring abuse or neglect it is believed that both parents should play an equal role. Couples are encouraged to come to their own agreement on custody issues.

How long do divorces usually take?

This depends on the situation. When both parties are in agreement, a divorce may take a little over a month to complete. When the situation is complex, divorce can take several months before it is finalized. When there are numerous complications, divorce can even take a number of years.

Can I divorce without the assistance of an attorney?

While you are permitted to divorce on your own in Georgia, having a lawyer’s assistance is encouraged. Even if your situation is not complicated, an attorney will help you submit all the necessary paperwork to keep you on track. And when divorce is contentious, an attorney will be there to advocate for your best interests.