FAQ: How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced?
When you are considering divorce in Georgia and trying to plan for the future, you have likely considered how long it takes to get divorced. The answer to this question can vary widely depending upon the specific circumstances of your case. For some people, divorce can take as little as a month. For others, divorce can take many months and can sometimes stretch even longer. Under Georgia law, there are many different factors that can influence the length of time of a divorce case.
When people in Georgia want to learn more about how long it takes to get divorced in the state, they need to consider a number of different frequently asked questions. We will discuss some of those with you below.
Will the Court Need to Decide Child Custody and Visitation?
If you have children under the age of 18 from your marriage, the court will need to decide matters of child custody and visitation. Similar to other states, Georgia courts use a “best interests of the child” standard when making decisions about legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the parent’s right to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing, while physical custody refers to the parent’s right to spend time with the child and to provide care for the child.
Both legal and physical custody can be “joint,” which means the parents share custody, or they can be “sole,” meaning that only one parent has custody. When parents share custody, the court must sign off on a parenting plan, which will clarify such issues as:
- How the parent-child relationship will work with each parent;
- How parents will share in making decisions for the child;
- Where the child will spend time during the week and weekends;
- Where the child will spend holidays; and
- How the parents will handle the child’s transportation.
As you can imagine, these decisions can a substantial amount of time because they are so important. As such, if you have minor children from your marriage, it is likely the divorce process will take longer than if you don’t have children.
Can Both Spouses Agree to Terms Concerning Property Division?
If you are planning to file for divorce, chances are that you have already discussed it with your spouse. In some situations, spouses are able to agree to most or all terms, especially concerning the distribution of marital property. Georgia law requires marital assets and debts to be divided in a way that is fair to both of the spouses. This is known as “equitable distribution.” When the spouses agree that divorce makes sense and can agree to a fair division of their marital property, the court can sign off on that agreement. This is known as “uncontested divorce,” or a situation where the parties essentially agree to terms concerning property division, alimony, and other significant matters.
When the parties do not agree to terms, we call this a “contested divorce.” Sometimes your Georgia divorce lawyer can negotiate with the other party’s divorce attorney to reach an agreement, but often the case needs to go before a judge. This can take quite a long time depending upon the number of different issues involved in the case. Generally speaking, the longer a couple has been married, the more complicated the case (and the longer the divorce proceedings).