Divorce is more than the end of your relationship; it is also the end of your household in Georgia. While property division may not be the first thing you think of when you receive a summons from your spouse requesting a divorce, reading through his or her wishes that have been presented to the court may bring the thought to the forefront quickly. We at The Siemon Law Firm have counseled many people whose spouses filed for divorce first.
The judge will consider a number of factors that are beyond your control when dividing marital property, such as the financial needs of you and your spouse, how long you were married, and how well you are each set up to support yourselves. However, Georgia Legal Aid explains that the judge will consider the wishes of you and your spouse during property division, as well.
By filing first, your spouse becomes the plaintiff in the case, while you will be the defendant. This does not mean that you are necessarily put at a disadvantage. You will receive a document known as a complaint for divorce, which will let you know what your spouse requests from the court. As long as you file your answer before the deadline, which is typically 30 days from the day you receive the summons, your wishes may receive equal weight, depending on the other factors being included.
Each of the paragraphs in your spouse’s complaint for divorce should be answered in writing in the answer you provide. You will need to agree with the specific wishes that you do not have any problem with, and give reasons for any disagreements you have. The answer should be notarized, and a copy sent to your spouse. The other is filed with the Clerk of the Court in the county where your spouse filed the original petition. There is more information about how marital assets are divided on our web page.