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Where Should I File My Divorce?
In Georgia you must deal with venue, jurisdiction over subject matter and jurisdiction over the parties. This is a very important element of divorce in Georgia and if you fail to establish proper jurisdiction in the State of Georgia your action will be dismissed.
Venue simply means that the divorce must be filed in the Superior Court in the county in which the defendant lives. This can be waived by consent of the parties but a formal waiver of venue must be filed with the court. In matters in which the defendant is a non resident, and the other elements of jurisdiction have been satisfied , then venue is the Superior Court of the Plaintiff, or person filing the action.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Subject matter jurisdiction must also be satisfied. This simply means the subject of the litigation, in this case a divorce and marriage. Georgia exercises control over the jurisdiction of the divorce if residence has been established for at least six months in the state.
Personal jurisdiction means the court has jurisdiction over person, which can be established by:
- The consent of one or both of the parties.
- Through service both in state and out of state. If serving the defendant as an out of state resident you must adhere to the Long Arm Statute.
- Through publication, which requires a motion and court order after diligent search has been made. It is important to remember that service through publication limits your relief in that you cannot be granted support for yourself or the children.
In the end, it is essential that you start the divorce process correctly, failure to adhere to the rules stated above will cause your action to be immediately dismissed and a great deal of time and money to be wasted.