A person who is considering divorce often does not know where to start. Georgia law has established a specific procedure by which a divorce may be filed in order to commence the action. By following the necessary steps, a person may successfully file a divorce case and begin the process of negotiating or litigating its terms.
The first step a person must take is to ensure that Georgia has jurisdiction over the matter. In order to file in the state, the petitioner or the spouse must meet the required residency period prior to filing. If the residence requirements are met, the instigating party may file his or her petition with the court. When the documents are filed, the petitioner will be provided with a notice and summons to respond. Together with the petition, all of these documents must be properly served on the petitioner's spouse.
Service may be made by any non-interested party who is over the age of 18. Upon successful service, the process server will return the affidavit of service which will need to be filed with the court. The served spouse is also able to waive service. Upon the receipt of the documents, the respondent spouse will have a set time period within which the response must be filed. The divorce will then proceed from there.
Even when people know they need to get a divorce, taking the first step and filing can be emotionally difficult. It is important when a person either files for divorce or is served with papers from his or her spouse of an intention to divorce to make certain to protect their rights. People may want to seek the help of a divorce attorney for representation in these matters.
Source: Women's Law, "What are the basic steps for filing for divorce?", December 31, 2014