Below is a list of common Georgia uncontested divorce terms you are likely to encounter and a brief explanation of what they mean. All definitions are tailored for an uncontested divorce case specifically:
Advocate – one who promotes the interests of a client, ensuring that they are protected in all legal proceedings. Also called an attorney or lawyer.
Affidavit – a written statement made under oath. Affidavits are usually notarized. Affidavits are usually drafted, signed, notarized and filed in Georgia uncontested divorce cases.
Alimony – spousal support made to one party in a divorce proceeding, either made in lump sum, or, more commonly, over a certain amount of time. Alimony should not be confused with child support or property division when trying to negotiate an uncontested divorce settlement.
Annulment – when a marriage is dissolved so that it was never considered valid. Cannot be done with couples who have born children of the marriage. Aare usually done for religious or cultural purposes. Annulments cannot generally be filed as “uncontested” and are not the same as getting a divorce.
Arbitration – when a neutral third party listens to a case and has the legal right to make a decision for them. Arbitration is not usually part of the uncontested divorce process.
Cohabitation – refers to two people who live together and share assets and liabilities but are not married.
Complainant – the person who files the divorce and opens the case. Also known as the petitioner or plaintiff.
Contempt – failure to comply with the terms set by a court order. Contempt is not usually a factor in an uncontested divorce. But contempt can become an issue after the case is finalized by the court.
Contested Divorce – a divorce case filed with the court that does not include a full written and signed agreement by the parties. In a contested divorce, the parties usually have a disagreement regarding: alimony, child support, division of property, debts, custody, etc. Sometimes, one party does not want to get divorced and would essentially be disagreeing with all terms.
Custody – there are two types: physical and legal. Physical refers to the daily care of the children and where they will be physically residing, while legal refers to the parent’s rights to make legal decisions regarding the children
Decree and Judgment – the final decision made in a family law issue. In an uncontested divorce case, the order granting the divorce is usually called a Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce.
Defendant – The person that is presented with a request for an uncontested divorce. The plaintiff serves this person, their spouse, with a request for a divorce.
Guardian ad Litem (GAL) – a neutral third party assigned by the court to protect the interests of the child in a divorce case. The GAL may talk to the school, family members, and friends of the children, and present a report to the judge. The GAL can also be questioned by either party’s counsel in court
Mediation – the process of working out of court to come to an agreement regarding the divorce, usually with the help of a neutral third party who does not have the authority to make legal decisions. Mediation can be used to come to an agreement in an uncontested divorce.
Parenting Plan – a plan that specifies the physical and legal arrangements for the care of the children. A parenting plan is usually filed with the court in uncontested divorce cases involving children and made part of a court’s order.
Plaintiff – The person asking for the divorce. This person starts the divorce by filing an uncontested divorce case by serving their spouse, the defendant, with a request for a divorce.
Pro Se – refers to a person who chooses to represent themselves in a case without the help of an attorney. An attorney can draft all the documents for a pro se client, and the client file the case representing their self.
Spousal Support – Spousal support includes alimony, and/or child support and/or the payment of legal fees by one spouse for the other.
Uncontested Divorce – a divorce case where the parties are in full agreement to all terms of the divorce, including: alimony, child support, division of property, debts, custody, etc.