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The Stages of a Divorce Case

Updated: Jul 17, 2021

Divorce cases in Georgia are handled by Superior Courts and go through a series of steps or stages. This blog post is to familiarize you with the stages most divorce cases go through so you will know what to expect.

1 Petition: This is the initial pleading that starts the divorce case. It is filed with the Court

and served on your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. Service can be by a sheriff's deputy, a private process server, publication in a newspaper (if your spouse has disappeared and can't be found), or by your spouse acknowledging service.

2. Answer: Once your spouse has been served, they have 30 days to file an Answer to your Petition. They can also Counterclaim for divorce, alleging their own grounds for divorce.

3. Discovery: This stage is when the parties exchange documents (often financial records) and answer each other's questions to develop the facts and evidence relevant to the case. You may also need to file motions and conduct hearings during this step to force a recalcitrant spouse to divulge information they would rather keep secret.

4. Mediation: This stage, which is sometimes optional, is when the parties either meet for formal mediation with a professional mediator who attempts to help you resolve the case in a mutually (dis)agreeable manner. Most divorce cases are settled through mediation or through direct negotiation between the parties and their counsel.

5. Trial: This is the last step of the case in which the Court makes its final determination regarding child custody and visitation, child support, the division of marital assets and debts and alimony.

These steps are not necessarily in order and some steps can be repeated. Other steps, such as arbitration, might be necessary in your case, but these are the basic steps of the vast majority of divorce cases. Of course, every case is different, so please consult your Chain Breaker attorney for the specific steps that your case is likely to go through.

Chain Breaker Law Firm is a Law Firm located in Georgia. You can read more of our articles or follow us on our social media sites at

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