No. Attorneys are only appointed to Defendants in a criminal case. The Court and its employees are also unable to recommend a specific attorney to any party.
Depending on your income level and the type of case, Georgia Legal Services may be able to provide you with free legal assistance. You can find more info at the link below:
Yes, you have the right to represent yourself. When you represent yourself, you are acting as your own lawyer. Georgia law requires you to behave like a lawyer and most judges will expect you to know all the court's rules. Judges and court staff are not allowed to give you advice. Not understanding court rules or incorrectly completing paperwork may lead to unnecessary frustration and delay. In order to ensure your case is handled properly, it is always recommended you seek legal advice from an attorney.
If you are a Plaintiff and filing a domestic case without an attorney, you will likely be required to appear in person for a court hearing. After filing your case, the Court will send you written notice of the time, date, and location of your hearing.
No. Speaking to the Judge about your case outside of Court is illegal and is known as ex parte communication. If you want to tell the judge information about your case or ask the judge to take a certain action in your case, you should file a written motion with the clerk of the court.
Yes. In our legal system, the only way to avoid going to trial is to settle out of court. If you have no marital property, the settlement agreement is a way to tell this to the court. If you do not want alimony, you may use the settlement agreement to let the court know of your decision. If you have no debts with your spouse, the settlement agreement notifies the court of this fact.
The answer to this question depends on the level of cooperation between you and your spouse and the court's caseload. If you and your spouse sign a settlement agreement, properly complete all required forms, and cooperate in the court process, the divorce may be finalized in 31 days. If your spouse refuses to sign a settlement agreement but otherwise does not fight (i.e., does not file an answer), it can take between 46 and 60 days to finalize the divorce, or longer if the court schedule is busy. If you and your spouse are fighting about property or children, your divorce can take months or even years.
Yes, you must fill out the financial affidavits and child support worksheet. Divorce laws frequently change, and the court must make sure that the child support amount complies with current law and that the child support amount is fair given the current income of the parents.
No. Child support belongs to children, not the parents. For that reason, parents may not give up child support. Child support is calculated using formula created by Georgia law and must be determined using the calculator below:
You will need to tell the court that you tried to find the Defendant. You will fully complete and sign a sworn statement (Affidavit of Diligent Search) where you:
(1) swear that to the best of your knowledge the whereabouts of your spouse are unknown;
(2) swear that you have used reasonable diligence in trying to find out where the defendant is (i.e., you've checked social media and the internet, you've tried calling your spouse's family and friends, etc.); and
(3) state what the last residence of the defendant was.
If your request is granted by the Judge, they will allow you to serve/notify the defendant by running an ad in the newspaper. Once the Judge gives permission for service by publication, you will publish the notice in the newspaper for four (4) consecutive weeks. If your spouse does not file an answer, the court can grant your divorce as early as 60 days after the first notice ran in the paper. You will have to attend a hearing before the judge can grant your divorce.
NOTE: In a divorce by publication, the court cannot award alimony, child support, or property located outside of Georgia. If you lie to the Court in your affidavit, you may face criminal charges.
You can dismiss your case as long as the Defendant has not filed an Answer. You must compete a Voluntary Dismissal form at the link below. It must be signed, notarized and filed into your case.
Once the Judge signs a final order resolving your case, you will receive a copy of the order by either email or U.S. mail.
If you need a "Certified Copy," you must contact the clerk of court in the county in which the order was filed. Certified copies may be necessary to change personal legal information that may have been affected by a court order in your case.
Under Georgia law, adoption files are considered "sealed documents." This means they are not available for viewing by members of the public. If you or a family member was adopted in Georgia and you are seeking information about your biological family, the Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry may be able to help.