Lawrenceville Divorce Attorney Blog Series – By Douglas W. Lewis, Attorney at Law
This is Part 2 of the ‘Can I file for a Divorce in Georgia if…?' series. I addressed whether you can file for divorce if both spouses still live together in Part 1 of the series. In the twenty years I have been handling divorce cases in my Lawrenceville office I have been asked numerous questions about filing for divorce. This series is focused on addressing common questions that many have asked when considering filing for divorce in Gwinnett County, the Atlanta metro area, or anywhere else in Georgia. If you have any questions after reading this post please contact me at myLawrenceville office for a free phone consultation.
In Georgia, there can only be one valid pending divorce case between spouses
A question that has come up a number of times during a free phone consultation is whether a person can file a divorce case although the wife or the husband has already filed. The short answer is no. If one spouse properly files a case first and properly serves the other party with the divorce papers then that case will be the valid pending divorce case. For example, if the wife lives in Lawrenceville and the husband lives in Dacula and the wife files a divorce case in Gwinnett Superior Court, then the husband will not be able to file a second case since the wife filed first. There are a couple exceptions to the rule, such as a dismissal of the first case. An experienced divorce lawyer will be able to talk with you about the circumstances of your case to determine if any of the exceptions apply which would allow for the filing of a second case.
Once a Divorce case has been filed in Georgia the divorce papers must be properly served on the other spouse
If your spouse has already filed then you will need to be properly served with the Summons and Divorce Complaint or Petition. Proper service is usually done by the local sheriff's department, a private process server or in some instances by a process known as service by publication.
If your spouse has already filed you can assert your own claim for divorce by filing a Counterclaim for Divorce
Just because your wife or your husband has already filed and you have been served with the papers does not mean you cannot still assert your own claim for divorce. I have handled a great deal of divorce cases in my twenty plus years of practicing law in my Lawrenceville office and the vast majority of clients that have been served with divorce papers will want me to file an Answer and Counterclaim for Divorce. The Answer responds to the Petition or Complaint that was filed against you and the Counterclaim asserts your own claim for divorce against your spouse.
Although Georgia attorneys do differ in their opinions on the subject, most will agree that there is no great advantage of being the first spouse to file for divorce. So do not worry if your spouse files first. Just give me a call for a free phone consultation and we can discuss what to do going forward including the filing of a Counterclaim asserting your own claim of divorce against your spouse.
Do you or someone you know have a question regarding filing for divorce or just a question about divorce in general? If so please do not hesitate to contact me for a free initial telephone consultation.
Lawrenceville Attorney Douglas W. Lewis has over twenty years of experience in Gwinnett County and the Atlanta Metro area handling family law and divorce cases, personal injury cases, criminal defense, civil litigation cases and estate planning matters. If you have any questions please call the Lawrenceville office for a free initial phone consultation or to schedule an office consultation. You can contact Mr. Lewis by telephone at 770-682-3765, via email. Client reviews can be found on Mr. Lewis' Google + page and on his website.