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What can one expect in a Georgia divorce?


We've discussed many generalities of the Georgia family law system in past posts. There is a reason for that: short blogs like this are not ideal forums for getting into complicated details and we are not giving legal advice. However, divorcing individuals should at least have an idea of what happens in some Georgia divorces so that they are better prepared for the process.

Luckily, there is a way to get a brief idea about basic nuts and bolts of a divorce proceeding. We have written before about the basics of how a divorce case is created by the filing of the pleadings and what Georgia law says about various forms of service of process on the other party. As we have also touched on before, there are also 'local rules' that apply depending on the specific court that is handling the case. These local rules sometimes modify the normal rules of civil procedure, and can be quite detailed, and give us an idea of how a typical divorce case might proceed from filing to trial.

In Fulton County, for example, when a petition is filed, the case manager at the Family Intake office also sets a '30-day status conference.' This is a time scheduled for the parties to meet about a month after the filing. At this conference, the parties will meet together, in the presence of a presiding officer of the court. They will discuss various differences in an attempt to figure out how the issues between the parties can be resolved. Mediation may be available, and other items, such as discovery, may be talked about as well. The purpose is to get the case settled, if possible, so other mediation dates might be set. If it seems like further discussion could be productive, 60-day and 120-day conferences may also be scheduled to finish discussions. At any point during this time, if it appears that a settlement is unlikely and discovery is completed, a final trial date can be set.

There are many complicated issues that can go into a divorce case depending on the attitudes of the parties and various other factors such as the types or amounts of property owned and if children are involved. It should be remembered that that the above is only a thumbnail sketch of the procedure in one county. Those looking to end a marriage who have specific questions about the divorce process may want to consider seeking out an experienced Georgia family attorney.

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