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Georgia, Cumming and Forsyth – The Uncontested Divorce Process

Georgia, Cumming and Forsyth – The Uncontested Divorce Process

In a Cumming and Forsyth County Georgia uncontested divorce, both husband and wife fully agree how their property and debts will be divided, the custody and support of their children, and whether alimony will be paid before they file a petition for divorce.  Prior to filing a petition for and uncontested divorce, the parties should think about and agree with the aforementioned and any other possible material terms of the divorce settlement agreement.  The material terms will have to be agreed upon and detailed in a written document (or documents) which is signed by both spouses.  The categories of the material terms common in divorce cases are as follows:

  • Allocation of Debt: who will be responsible for which debts incurred during and before the marriage
  • Spousal Support: which generally refers to alimony, but can also include attorney’s fees and child support
  • Personal and Real Property Division: which includes who will retain / keep which assets of every class; real estate, financial accounts and personal property
  • Child Support: which is support, in the form of monthly payments from one spouse to the other for support of the parties’ minor children
  • Custody of Children and Visitation: which is a court required detailed written plan describing the day-to-day arrangements for visitation, custody and other parenting details

Once there is an agreement between the parties, a petition for divorce can be filed by either spouse.  If one of the parties changed their name as a part of the marriage, there name can be changed back as a part of the divorce.  Similar to contested divorce, the petition has to be filed in the county and state where at least one of the parties resided.  If the couple resides in different countries, the divorce can usually be filed in the United States so long as at least one of the parties resides in the United States.  It is not necessary to be a citizen of the United States to file for divorce.  The plaintiff or petitioner is the individual filing the petition for divorce, and the defendant or respondent is the spouse the case is filed against.  If the divorce is uncontested, the plaintiff will have usually retained a lawyer to help them with the divorce documents, negotiating a settlement and filing of the case.  In an uncontested divorce, the same lawyer cannot represent both spouses. However, it is not usually necessary for both parties to be fully represented in most simple cases.

Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce

There are a number of advantages to filing for a divorce in Cumming / Forsyth County that is uncontested.  When seeking the dissolution of a marriage, this is the easiest, fastest and least expensive way to get divorced.  Since the couple has accepted the settlement agreement terms, the initial petition for divorce and the agreement are filed at the same time, which speeds up the process.  There are extra forms required in Georgia, such as a signed schedule of the plaintiff’s assets, income and expenses.  As of the publication date of this article, the Superior Court of Forsyth County was charging a filing fee of $217 to file an uncontested divorce.

Once the judge reviews and approves all the required paperwork filed with the court including the terms of the divorce agreement, she or he will sign what is known as a Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce.  This is a court order granting and finalizing the divorce.  This can usually be done within sixty (60) days of the filing of the case, and generally no trial or hearing is required.  Generally the parties will work together so that a lot less personal details are publicized so that they do not have to worry about having their “dirty laundry” being made publicly available. Divorce attorneys filing cases in Cumming Georgia and Forsyth County can usually charge a flat rate for a simple uncontested divorce since there is a predictable specific date when the case ends, and the amount of work is predictable.  However, even in more complex cases where the attorneys may decline to quote a fixed flat rate, the fees are still generally significantly less than a contested divorce.

Disadvantages of an Uncontested Divorce

Although there are many advantages to filing an uncontested divorce, there are also a number of downsides. Due to the fast divorce procedure, couples might make quick bad decisions that they have not carefully considered which could result in future problems, regrets and disputes. Any modifications to the settlement agreement will mean that the couple will have to go back to court, and the requested changes might not be approved.  This means they have only delayed the litigation process instead of completely avoiding it.  It is important that the couple is in full agreement with the terms of the divorce and have carefully considered the short and long term consequences of the agreement before the case is filed.

Uncontested divorces only apply to a very specific set of couples. If one or both individuals are behaving irrationally, an uncontested divorce is not a viable option.  Marriages that have a history of abuse or domestic violence, or where the spouses have unequal bargaining power are frequently not suitable for an uncontested divorce.  For the uncontested divorce process to work, it requires full diplomacy from the parties and is ideal for couples who have come to a mutual agreement and just want to go their separate ways amicably.  The individuals have to cooperate and reach a full settlement agreement before the case is filed.  Usually, unless the parties have been physically separated for a few years or more, the parties will have to compromise for the benefit of going their separate ways much faster.

Complications in Uncontested Divorce Cases

When child custody or property division are involved, it is frequently more difficult for the parties to reach an agreement.  However, it is always possible for couples with children or significant assets to get a divorce that is uncontested.  If the parties can peacefully negotiate and use diplomacy, an uncontested divorce is a great option for the benefit of the children and it is possible for he divorce to filed and completed quickly and quietly.

Using an Attorney in a Cumming / Forsyth Uncontested Divorce Case

Even though a Cumming / Forsyth County uncontested divorce is less complicated and easier to get, you should almost never completely avoid obtaining legal advice from an experienced divorce attorney.  Going through a divorce can get very emotional and the temptation of obtaining a fast uncontested divorce might result poor decisions that are later large regrets, just so that the process can proceed quickly.  With this in mind, hiring an experienced divorce attorney is critical so that you have someone who is objectively keeping your best interest in mind.  If you are in the position of having to be unrepresented in an uncontested divorce, there are certain steps you can take to guarantee you are just as protected:

  • Do your homework on how uncontested divorces work
  • Talk to trusted friends or adviser and share with them what you want to get out of the settlement agreement
  • Prior to signing the final agreement, have your trusted advisers look it over

Keeping the above steps in mind may help the divorce to proceed more smoothly; but it is still strongly recommended that parties with children and / or significant assets or debts obtain the assistance of an experienced divorce lawyer to at a minimum review the final divorce agreement before it signed by the parties.

If you are facing divorce and would like to speak with one of our experienced Cumming and Forsyth County Georgia divorce attorneys, call us at 770-609-1247 to schedule a consultation.

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