Where Will My Attorney File My Divorce Case?

Where Will My Attorney File My Divorce Case?

This is a question we are often asked in consultations. The answer is not always easy – and the answer is related to the concepts of: jurisdiction and venue. All divorce and family law cases filed in Georgia are filed in Superior Court (as contrasted with Magistrate, State, etc.) However, the actual county / state the case should be filed can usually be determined by the general guidelines outlined below.

A divorce is generally filed in the county where the defendant resides. For example, if the wife in a case is filing divorce against her husband and the husband lives in Fulton County – then the case will be filed in Fulton County. This would be the situation no matter where the wife resides. In this situation, while it is a convenient situation for the wife that the case is also being filed in the county she resides – this is not the determinative factor.

Lets review another scenario: The husband lives in Forsyth County and wants to file a divorce case against his wife that lives in Gwinnett County. In this situation, the case would need to be filed in Gwinnett county (the county of the Defendant wife).

Another situation that my come up is that the wife lives in Georgia, but wants to file for divorce against a husband that now lives in another state. In this situation, the wife would normally need to obtain an attorney that is licensed to practice in the state that the husband now resides – and the case would be filed in county / parish that the husband now resides.

International cases present additional issues. For example, if a husband wants to file divorce against a wife that resides in another county, the husband can file the case in the county he resides – or he can file in the country that his wife lives in.

However, uncontested cases open up the possibility of filing a divorce case in the county that the plaintiff resides. This is because the defendant can waive jurisdiction and venue by agreeing to allow the divorce case to proceed in a county other than the one he/she resides. In this situation, the case can be filed in the county of the Plaintiff – but only if the parties both agree in writing on a pleading to be filed with the court.

Family law / post-divorce cases involving child support / modifications, etc. can get quite complicated when trying to determine where the case should be filed. If you are experiencing a divorce or family law issue – it is best to speak with an attorney that is experienced with complex jurisdictional issues. This is because a case that is filed in the wrong county / state can usually easily be caused to be dismissed by the defendant – leading to wasted time and expenses.

It any event, the defendant will need to be properly served with the divorce papers in accordance with where the state law where the case is filed.

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