Do you need to seek a divorce in Georgia, but your spouse is nowhere to be found? Or perhaps, they’re deliberately avoiding the service of divorce papers? As experienced Georgia divorce lawyers, we frequently encounter questions about an often-misunderstood form of divorce—Divorce by Publication.
In this comprehensive guide, I will provide detailed information on Georgia’s Divorce by Publication process. By the end of this article, you’ll understand how to navigate this legal avenue to secure your freedom and peace of mind.
What is Divorce by Publication in Georgia?
Divorce by Publication, also known as Service by Publication, is a special form of divorce in Georgia. It’s specifically intended for situations where the respondent (the spouse of the person filing for divorce) can’t be located, or is intentionally evading the service of papers.
This form of divorce allows you to move forward with the process by “serving” divorce papers through a published announcement in a designated newspaper. However, it’s not the first go-to option. You must demonstrate to the court that you’ve made diligent efforts to locate your spouse before resorting to this method.
When Can You File for Divorce by Publication?
You can file for a Divorce by Publication in Georgia if you’ve made diligent attempts to locate your spouse but to no avail. Courts often define “diligent attempts” as checking with relatives, conducting online searches, mailing to their last known address, and even hiring a private investigator.
It’s essential to document every step you take, as the court will require proof that you’ve exhausted all possible means to locate your spouse before allowing you to proceed with a Divorce by Publication.
The Process of Divorce by Publication in Georgia
- File a Divorce Petition: The divorce process starts by filing a petition at your local Superior Court. In this petition, you’ll state that you want a divorce and why (the grounds for divorce).
- Search for Your Spouse: Make exhaustive efforts to locate your spouse. Document each step, as this proof is crucial.
- Apply for Service by Publication: If your spouse cannot be found, submit an application to the court for Service by Publication. You’ll also need to provide an Affidavit of Diligent Search, detailing your efforts to find your spouse.
- Publish the Notice: Upon court approval, you’ll be required to publish a notice in a court-approved newspaper once a week for four weeks. This notice will inform your spouse about the divorce proceedings.
- Wait for a Response: After the last publication, your spouse has 60 days to respond. If they don’t, you can request the court to move forward with the divorce.
- Finalize the Divorce: If there’s no response, the court may grant a default divorce, thus finalizing your divorce.
What Can a Divorce by Publication Achieve?
In a Divorce by Publication, the court can end the marriage, divide property located in Georgia, and decide on matters concerning child custody. However, it may be difficult for the court to enforce child support, alimony, or division of property outside Georgia.
Why You Need a Georgia Divorce Lawyer for a Divorce
While it’s possible to handle a Divorce by Publication on your own, having an experienced Georgia divorce lawyer on your side can make a significant difference. They can guide you through the intricacies of Georgia’s divorce law, help you gather and present evidence of your diligent search, and ensure all your filings are correctly completed and timely submitted.
As experienced Georgia divorce lawyers, we understand the complexity and emotional strain involved in a Divorce by Publication. We are committed to helping you navigate through this challenging process with professionalism and compassion. Contact us today for a consultation, and let’s pave the path toward your new beginning.