For most couples in Douglasville, the initial divorce filing costs in court are manageable but, unfortunately, few divorces come cheap when other costs are factored in.
That doesn’t have to mean, however, that you need to spend months wrangling in court and racking up fees of many thousands of dollars.
It’s best to get familiar with what you’ll need to prepare for if you are considering a divorce in Douglas County.
Let’s take a look at the basic costs of filing for divorce, as well as the process you’ll need to go through – and how you can keep the costs of your divorce down.
Divorce costs in Douglas County
If you have not yet decided whether or not to hire a lawyer, the first fee you’ll need to pay with a divorce in Douglasville is the filing charge and service fee.
Divorces must be filed in the Superior Court with completion of correct paperwork (see the next section). The cost to file a Complaint for Divorce in Douglas County is currently $210, payable to the Clerk of Superior Court. This fee may vary by a few dollars in different counties around Georgia.
Additionally, there is a charge for having a sheriff department official serve the divorce papers on your spouse, which is generally $50.
Can you get filing and service fees waived?
It is possible to get the filing and service fees waived if you genuinely do not have the means to pay them.
This will entail completing and filing an Affidavit of Indigence or Poverty Affidavit asking the Court to waive the filing and service fees as well as any other court costs associated with your divorce.
This option is not normally available if you have hired a paid attorney though it may still be available if you are represented by a pro bono attorney.
The basic divorce filing process in Douglasville
The laws regarding divorce in Georgia vary by county but the basic process remains approximately the same.
You already know that you must file the Complaint for Divorce and have papers served on your spouse before the court will consider your divorce application.
The paperwork requirements and the process after you file it differ according to several factors, most notably whether the divorce is contested or uncontested and whether there are children from the marriage.
With a contested divorce, the spouses disagree on some issues that may or may not be resolved before court intervention. With an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree and are ready to sign (or have already signed) a settlement agreement.
Occasionally, divorces are by publication, where an individual has been unable to locate their spouse despite many attempts.
For the divorce to proceed, other paperwork must be completed and filed with the Superior Court in Douglasville in addition to the Complaint for Divorce. Together, this paperwork is called the “divorce packet” and it must be submitted at the same time as the Complaint.
Depending on your circumstances, it may include the following documents:
- Petition for Divorce
- Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit
- Domestic Relations Case Filing Information Form
- Sheriff’s Entry of Service or acknowledgment of service
- Standing Order
- Notice of Lis Pendens
- Rule Nisi
- Affidavit of Poverty and Order of Poverty
- Child Support Worksheet
All paperwork must be completed correctly to avoid delays. You are not legally divorced until the judge approves it and the Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce is issued by the court.
Divorces with children in Douglas County
All divorcing parents with minor children in Douglas County must attend the Divorcing Parents Seminar. This is designed to educate parents on lowering the impact of divorce on children and provide tips on co-parenting.
The four-hour seminar costs $35 per person and pre-registration is required.
Keeping costs down
You do not legally require a lawyer to file for divorce on your behalf or to manage the divorce process. A pro se divorce is where you represent yourself without an attorney.
This is undoubtedly the cheapest way to arrange a divorce – but it can lead to delays if paperwork is not completed correctly or outstanding issues remain between spouses.
Many couples do find that it is preferential to get legal assistance to complete and file paperwork, resolve disputes between them, protect their interests, and draw up a legally binding settlement agreement.
An experienced divorce attorney can often provide valuable advice and support especially in divorces with minor children, where there are major disputes over assets gained during the marriage, or if there are other issues that are challenging to resolve.
The most expensive type of divorce is a contested one that ends up in litigation, However, there are many alternative dispute resolution methods that lawyers can assist with to keep costs down. Collaboration, mediation, and arbitration are often good alternatives to litigation.
If there are children from the marriage, attendance at mediation is usually mandatory for a contested divorce in Douglas County.
Get help with filing for divorce in Douglasville, GA
Even amicable separations can run into unforeseen problems. The involvement of an experienced divorce lawyer from the start can help to prevent delays, keep costs down, and ensure that your best interests are served.