Georgia Uncontested Divorce Online Law Office of Rhonda Blackwell Siler
Law Offices of Rhonda Blackwell Siler
P.O. Box 155
East Ellijay, GA. 30539
Uncontested Divorce – missing spouse
Even if you have not seen your spouse in years and have no idea where they are or if they are even alive, you can still get an uncontested divorce in Georgia but it could require you to appear before the Judge twice and will take at least twice as long as other uncontested divorce proceedings and cost you more in fees. If you can swear under oath that you do not know the current whereabouts of your spouse and are unable to locate them through family or friends, then the Judge will sign an order allowing that service on the defendant spouse can be made through publication in the local newspaper. However, the court can only award a divorce and custody of the minor children and will not be able to divide property or award support for the children or you. Along with the regular filing fee of approximately $207.50 you will also have to pay fee to the newspaper that is the “legal organ” in your county to run the legal ad for 4 weeks at approximate cost of $80.00.
Divorce in this manner is always the last way to go and must only be used in circumstances where you and your spouse have been separated for a substantial amount of time. How long a "substantial amount of time" is depends on the Judge but I would not expect that most Judges would approve service by publication without your spouse being missing six months to a year inmost cases. Judges are very reluctant to allow service by publication and will often make you attempt to have your spouse served by the sheriff and will expect you to prove to them that you really have tried to locate the other party.
WARNING: Service by publication is allowed by O.C.G.A. § 9-11-4 (e)(1) ONLY in the event the defendant “cannot, after due diligence, be found. . . .” “Due diligence” means that a reasonable effort must be made to find the defendant. Our legal system is designed to make sure that each party in a lawsuit is protected by due process, especially notice and the right to a fair hearing. Your divorce decree can be set aside later if the defendant’s right to due process is violated.