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How long does a divorce take in Georgia?

How long does divorce take in Georgia? The timing can range from a couple of months to over a year, depending on several key factors.

evident Editorial Team
January 31, 2024
Atlanta GA skyline

If you are going through a divorce in Georgia, you probably have lots of questions. Given divorce can be a stressful and challenging process, many people wonder how long it will last. 

Several questions often arise, including:

  • How long does a divorce take in GA?
  • How long does an uncontested divorce take in Georgia?
  • How long does a contested divorce take in Georgia?
  • What factors influence a Georgia divorce timeline?

In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more by providing a general timetable for getting divorced in Georgia and explaining the factors that influence the timeline of divorce in the state.

Key Takeaways

Georgia Divorce Timetables

So, how long does a divorce take in Georgia? The short answer is that it can take a couple of months, or it could take a year or more.

Multiple factors influence a Georgia divorce timetable, most notably whether the divorce is uncontested or contested. 

How busy the court’s docket is and when you can get a court date for any relevant hearings or court appearances also affect the timetable for a Georgia divorce, which is part of why divorces typically take a couple of months even though they theoretically could be as fast as 31 days under Georgia law.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces in GA

One of the most important factors that affects how long divorce takes in GA is whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. 

Generally, the timeline for an uncontested divorce in Georgia is shorter than for a contested divorce, which can vary greatly. 

To get a better sense of their respective timetables, let’s look at each type of divorce in turn.

How long does an uncontested divorce take in Georgia?

When both spouses agree to end the marriage and agree on all of the divorce-related issues, they can file for an uncontested divorce. 

Because the parties agree on all the divorce issues, uncontested divorces require minimal court involvement, which helps shorten the timeline of an uncontested divorce in Georgia.

An uncontested divorce in Georgia often takes a couple of months, though it theoretically could be as quick as 31 days. (There is a mandatory 30-day waiting period for divorce in Georgia).  The divorce process could take longer, though, if the couple takes longer to work through any issues and iron out their marital settlement agreement.

Mistakes in divorce papers or late filings could also lengthen the timeline of an uncontested divorce in GA. 

How long does a contested divorce take in Georgia?

 If the parties disagree about any of the issues in the divorce, they will have to file for a contested divorce. Contested divorces require more involvement from the court and generally take longer. 

Note that disagreeing over a single divorce-related issue is enough to move a divorce from uncontested territory to contested. (For instance, if the divorcing couple agrees about alimony and property division but not about child custody). 

A contested divorce in Georgia can take up to a year or even longer, but the complexity and contentiousness of the divorce proceedings will often dictate how long the process takes. 

If a divorce is particularly complicated or contentious, it could take years. This is why cooperation between the spouses is critical for helping a contested divorce move more quickly. 

Is there a waiting period for divorce in Georgia? 

Yes, under Georgia divorce law, there is a 30-day mandatory waiting period for no-fault divorce in Georgia, which means all divorces filed on the ground that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” A judge cannot issue the final divorce decree sooner than 30 days after the respondent spouse has been served the divorce petition.

There are twelve fault-based grounds for divorce in Georgia, such as adultery or habitual intoxication, and these grounds do not have a mandatory waiting period. That said, fault-based divorces take longer to play out, so any fault-based divorce in Georgia will generally take much longer than 30 days, regardless. 

The most common ground for divorce in Georgia is the no-fault “irretrievable breakdown” basis, though, so the Georgia no-fault divorce waiting period of 30 days applies to most divorces.

What other factors affect a Georgia divorce timeline?

Returning to our main question: how long does a divorce take in GA? The answer depends in large part on several common factors and how they impact a particular couple’s separation.  

Here are some of those factors that are likely to affect how long a divorce will take in Georgia. (And note that these are also among the key factors that affect how much a divorce costs in Georgia).

Whether the divorce involves minor children

Divorces involving children raise additional issues, such as child custody and child support. These issues add complexity and can also be emotionally charged. 

Just as divorces involving minor children are often much more expensive, they can also take longer. 

The size of the couple’s marital estate 

Property division is a key issue in any divorce. Overall, a larger marital estate can mean a longer divorce timeline, although this is not always the case. 

The complexity of the marital estate

Just as important as the size of the marital estate is the complexity of the marital estate. 

Complicated marital assets, such as an ownership interest in a business or other things that are more difficult to value, make property division more complex.

How contentious the divorce is

pointing, accusation, accuse

Whether a divorcing couple can cooperate or not has a huge impact on how long divorce takes in Georgia. In an ideal situation, the parties can work together, agree on all issues, and pursue an uncontested divorce.

But this is not always possible, and many people file for a contested divorce in Georgia every year.  That said, there is still a wide range of possibilities when dealing with contested divorces, and the more that the parties can settle divorce issues amicably to keep the divorce process moving forward, the more efficient that process will be. 

Divorce mediation is one approach that may help divorcing couples work through their issues more productively, and there are other collaborative divorce options available. Many divorce lawyers specialize in these types of collaborative approaches, and the right divorce attorney can make a huge difference when navigating the line between a court battle and a productive process.

It can be tough to reach an agreement with a spouse during divorce, to be sure. But the more contentious that a divorce is, the longer it is likely to take.

The Bottom Line

So, how long does divorce take in GA? Let’s recap the main takeaways.

Overall, a divorce in Georgia can take anywhere from a couple of months to multiple years. 

An uncontested divorce in Georgia can take a few months, and a contested divorce in GA can take a year or more. 

There is a Georgia no-fault divorce waiting period of 30 days under GA divorce laws. And although an uncontested divorce could theoretically happen within 31 days, parties rarely get the final decree that quickly in practice.

If you have questions about the specifics of your situation, consider speaking with a Georgia divorce lawyer to get a more accurate estimate of how long your divorce might take.