Cobb County Divorce Process

State law determines the important aspects of divorce, like how to settle custody disputes or how to divide the couple’s property. However, each county Superior Court can enact its own local rules. These can influence how your divorce will proceed.

Work with a local family attorney who understands the Cobb County divorce process. The attorneys at our firm have years of experience helping people dissolve their marriages and move forward.

Types of Divorce and Filing Requirements

There are residency requirements to file for divorce. According to the Official Code of Georgia §19-5-2, a person can initiate a divorce by filing a petition in the Superior Court in the county where they have lived for at least six months. A spouse who lives out of state can file in the county where their spouse has lived for the preceding six months.

When spouses agree on all property divisions and have agreed on a parenting plan, they can file for an uncontested divorce. They could file a joint petition citing the grounds that their marriage is irretrievably broken. They file their agreements with the petition. This procedure limits the court’s involvement and speeds up the process.

Many couples disagree on some issues when they file for divorce, so their divorce is contested. In that case, one spouse files the divorce petition and supporting documents. Once the court has accepted the paperwork, the petitioner must arrange for the papers to be served on the other spouse, called the respondent. A Cobb County attorney can prepare the petition and supporting documents and arrange for proper service.

Cobb County Courts Encourage Alternative Dispute Resolution

When a divorce is contested, the courts will eventually decide the outstanding issues between the spouses if necessary. However, the courts encourage the spouses to resolve issues together whenever possible. Before scheduling a trial date, a judge will usually direct the couple to try alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

There are two types of ADR available for people divorcing in Cobb County: mediation and case evaluation. Mediation involves meeting with a neutral third party who helps the couple find common ground and build a consensus about issues in dispute. In a case evaluation, each side presents their legal arguments to an evaluator, and the evaluator offers an opinion about how a judge is likely to rule. Participants in Cobb County case evaluations must be represented by an attorney.

A case evaluation can nudge a stubborn spouse toward a compromise when the evaluator does not find their arguments persuasive. Couples often go to mediation after a case evaluation. Whether they have gone through case evaluation or not, spouses often emerge from mediation with a written agreement on the issues that had divided them. A judge can incorporate these agreements into a divorce decree and issue them as enforceable orders.

Divorce for Parents

The divorce process is more complicated when a couple has minor children. Parents must arrange for child support and decide how they will co-parent. The parents must develop a parenting plan that provides granular details about:

  • How much time the children will spend with each parent and when;
  • How the parents will make decisions concerning the children;
  • Rules the parents must observe when the children are present
  • Deciding how the parents will resolve disagreements between themselves;
  • Other issues that are relevant to the specific family’s situation.

When parents agree on a parenting plan, they must submit it to the judge who must review it to ensure it supports the children’s best interests. When parents cannot agree, they each could submit a plan to the judge. The judge could choose one of the submitted plans or propose a different plan. An attorney can help a parent develop a plan that meets all the legal requirements.

Divorce is hard on children. Cobb County requires divorcing parents with minor children to take a four-hour co-parenting course. The course will help them understand how to support their children and work with their co-parent to ease their children’s way during the transition. Even parents seeking an uncontested divorce must take the co-parenting class.

Trust an Experienced Cobb County Attorney to Handle Your Divorce

In a matter like divorce, it is just as important that an attorney is familiar with local court personnel and procedures as it is that they know the law. Knowing how things are done and what to expect can greatly reduce the stress of a divorce.

Work with a local lawyer with substantial experience with the Cobb County divorce process. Reach out to discuss your situation with a local legal professional today.

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