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Seeking Summary Judgment or Judgment on the Pleadings in Divorces

In Georgia, it used to be possible to get divorced and SURPRISE! - that was it. Alimony and child support could go out the window, because a divorce decree had been granted and that was the end of that. Needless to say, this caused some considerable fury on the parts of the people who were left with no recourse, so Uniform Superior Court Rule 24.7 was enacted in part to remedy this problem. It provides that "[a]lthough the court may, in appropriate cases, grant judgment on the pleadings or summary judgment that the moving party is entitled to a divorce as a matter of law, no divorce decree shall be granted unless all contestable issues in the case have been finally resolved" (emphasis supplied).

What this means, in practical terms, is that the separate issues of a divorce matter may be put into categories of contested or uncontested - issues of child custody, child support, alimony duty both in general (recurring) and lump sum, property issues, and different grounds for or defenses to divorce, etc. Every contested issue must be resolved prior to the entry of a decree of divorce.

The case that established this in Georgia was Brochin v. Brochin, 277 Ga. 66, 586 S.E.2d 316 (Ga. 2003).

It explains the motivation for enacting Uniform Superior Court Rule 24.7, and the proper interpretation of the rule. An interesting note is the point it makes specifically concerning the issue of attorney's fees. "The rule was not intended to abolish the longstanding ability of Georgia's courts to preserve the issue of attorney fees, as long as that issue is raised prior to the entry of final judgment." This is one very good motivation to always demand attorney's fees in every Complaint and Answer in contested divorce matters.

The Brochin decision is listed on my website.