Some people think that filing for divorce before their spouse will give an advantage. In reality it may not. Announcing your intention to divorce your spouse by having a sheriff's deputy deliver a divorce complaint could be the beginning of a long, difficult and costly divorce proceeding.
If you think a divorce is in your future, your first step should be to a consult with an attorney before you take any actions that cannot be undone.
How to file for divorce in Georgia
In Georgia, one spouse initiates a divorce proceeding by filing a complaint with the superior court of the county where the other spouse lives. The complaint will explain the reasons for divorce, the present living arrangements, and information about the children, assets and debts. A copy will be served on the spouse (the defendant) who can choose to contest the complaint. Thus begins many an adversarial divorce proceeding.
There are less adversarial ways to begin a divorce, including discussing with your spouse who should file for divorce and the ground for divorce. Most use the no-fault ground, which is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The spouse who is the defendant can choose to acknowledge service of the complaint without having it delivered by a sheriff or other court personnel.
How you choose to file for divorce can set the tone for everything that follows. Your goal should be a negotiated outcome, which will be easier to accomplish if you keep lines of communication open.
When you may need to file right away
There are times when you may need to immediately file for divorce in order to obtain the protection of the court. For example, if your spouse is draining money out of joint accounts and selling marital assets, you can file a divorce complaint with an injunction to protect your financial interests.