Tag Archives: parenting seminar

How to file for Divorce in Gwinnett County Superior Court?


How to file for Divorce in Gwinnett County Superior Court?

  1. Determine if you can file for divorce in Georgia.  Generally speaking you must be a resident of the State of Georgia for at least the previous six months before you can file a divorce action in Georgia.
  2. To file the divorce action in Gwinnett County your spouse must be a resident of Gwinnett County.  If you live in Gwinnett County, but your spouse lives in Fulton County then you must file the divorce in Fulton County (unless your spouse waives venue).  If you live in Barrow County, but your spouse lives in Gwinnett County, then the divorce action would be properly filed in Gwinnett County.
  3. All divorces filed in Georgia must be filed in the appropriate Superior Court.  All divorces filed in Gwinnett County must be filed with the Gwinnett County Superior Court clerk.  The clerk’s office is on the first floor of the courthouse located at 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville, Georgia (the courthouse is also known as the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center “GJAC”).
  4. When you file the divorce action you must pay the clerk a filing fee of $204.00 (said fee is subject to change).
  5. There must be a Summons attached to the divorce petition or complaint.  The divorce pleadings (the Summons, the Divorce Petition and any Standing Orders) must be served upon your spouse.   Usually the Defendant is personally served with a copy of the divorce pleadings by a deputy sheriff or by a private process server.  The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department charges a fee of $50.00 to attempt service on a Defendant.  If you want to use the services of a private process server In Gwinnett County then  a motion must be filed with the court to request that a particular process server be appointed by the judge to personally serve the Defendant with the divorce pleadings.   The fee charged by private process servers varies depending on travel time and other circumstances.
  6. When a divorce action is filed the case will then be given a specific case number.  The last digit of the case number will indicate which judge has been assigned to your case.  For example, in Gwinnett County Superior Court if the last digit of your case number ends in 7 then you know your case has been assigned to Chief Judge Melodie Snell Conner.  There are ten (10) Gwinnett County Superior Court judges.
  7. Once your spouse has been properly served with a copy of the divorce pleadings then your case will proceed.   A divorce case will either be an uncontested case or a contested case.  An uncontested or settled divorce case means the parties have signed a Settlement Agreement which resolves all issues in the divorce case and the Agreement has been approved by the judge assigned to the case.  (If the judge does not approve of the terms of the Settlement Agreement then the case is not settled.)  A contested divorce case is a case in which the parties are unable or unwilling to settle and thus the case will go to trial before the judge or a jury.
  8. Each divorce case is unique and some can be quite complex.  Many divorce cases involve some or all of the following: Answer and Counterclaim, Interrogatories, Request for Production of Documents, Request for Admissions, Depositions, Emergency Hearings, Temporary Hearings, Contempt Hearings, Domestic Relations Financial Affidavits, Mediation, Guardian ad Litems, Child Support Worksheets, Child Support Addendums, Parenting Plans, Quit Claim Deeds, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO), Protective or Restraining Orders, Parenting Seminars, and Final Hearings.

Gwinnett County Divorce and Family Law Attorney Douglas W. Lewis has over twenty years of experience in Gwinnett County and the Atlanta Metro area handling divorce, modification of custody and child support, contempt, paternity, legitimation, and family law cases.  If you have any questions or want to schedule an office consultation then please contact Doug Lewis at 770-682-3765 or via email at dlewis@dwlewislaw.com



In all domestic actions filed in Gwinnett County Superior Court that involve a minor child or children both parents are required to successfully complete the Gwinnett County parenting seminar within thirty-one (31) days of service of the divorce petition on the Defendant.  The parenting seminar is known as Navigating Family Change: A Parent Seminar.  The only exclusion to the requirement are contempt cases and generally domestic violence cases involving minor children.

In each such Gwinnett County domestic action involving a minor child there will be a Parenting Workshop Standing Order attached to the divorce petition that sets out the requirement to complete the parenting seminar.

The Court’s Standing Order states that “appropriate action, including but not limited to contempt, may be taken upon a party’s failure to successfully complete the workshop”.

The Court’s Standing Order also provides, “for good cause shown, the requirement of completion of this workshop may be waived in individual cases”.  (I have had cases such as divorce matters where the minor child was already 17 years old and the judges agreed to waive the requirement for the parents to attend the seminar).

Important Information Regarding the Gwinnett County Navigating Family Change Parenting Seminar

–          a four-hour educational seminar which takes place in one day (Thursday);

–          the seminar is held four times monthly, three morning sessions and one evening session (the 2014 schedule is below, but is subject to change);

–          the cost is $30.00 per person and payment is by cash or money order (payable to Gwinnett County ADR; payment will be accepted at the door;

–          to be successfully completed within 31 days of service of the original complaint upon the original defendant;

–          parties do not have to attend the seminar with their spouses or ex-spouses;

–          children are not allowed in the workshop;

–          pre-registration is required; registration must be received prior to the day of the seminar; once you register you will not receive any further notification of the seminar date;

–          the seminar requirement may be satisfied by a certificate from another approved court sponsored parenting seminar such as:

Ninth Judicial District – 770-535-6909

Cobb County – 770-528-1812

Dekalb County – 404-371-4953

Fulton County – 404-612-4618 (also offers seminar in spanish)

–          all seminars to be held at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center (75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville, GA 30046). Seminars will be in Conference Room A West Wing, located on the second floor;

–          arrive 15 minutes early to receive your materials; attendees arriving late will be required to reschedule;

–          for directions call 770-822-8000 ext. 6000 or http://www.gwinnettcourts.com/#directions

–          if you are unable to attend the seminar for which you registered, you may reschedule for another date, but no refunds are available;

–          certificates will be issued after completing the evaluations; the court will provide a copy of the certificate to the participant and the original certificate will be kept on file with the court;

–          a fee waiver is available for parties having filed under a pauper’s affidavit, carrying a current Medicare/Medicaid card, or falling under the indigent guidelines as set by the state. If you believe you qualify, send a copy of your pauper’s affidavit or Medicare/Medicaid card with your registration form or call for a fee waiver application.

–          If you have questions or need more information then please call 7770-822-8588  or http://www.gwinnettcourts.com/home.asp#courtprograms_parentingseminar_registration

How to Submit the Registration Form for the Gwinnett County Parenting Seminar

  1. Register online here: http://www.gwinnettcourts.com/home.asp#courtprograms_parentingseminar/      (click on the registration button on left-hand side); or here: http://www.gwinnettcourts.com/home.asp#courtprograms_parentingseminar_registration/

(After you fill out the form, you will be taken to Confirmation page, so that you can review your information submitted and confirm it to receive a confirmation number that you need to bring with you. If you do not receive a confirmation number, try to register again or at another time.)

  1. Fax: 770-822-8588
  2. Phone: 770-822-8195
  3. Mail to the address on the      registration form.
  4. Hand deliver to the 2nd Floor Control      Desk (East Wing, Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center)

Gwinnett County Parenting Seminar Program Content

The seminar focuses on the developmental needs of children, with emphasis on fostering the child’s emotional health during periods of stress. The program is informative, supportive, and directs people desiring additional information or help to appropriate resources. The course content includes:

  • Responding to Children — how to talk to them to assist in their emotional adjustment to parental separation or divorce; and so they can stay out of the parental conflict, preserve their self-esteem, and simply be children
  • Leaver/Leavee — the emotional impact on each parent after separation or divorce and how it affects the children
  • Grief Process — how to recognize the stages of grief in self and family members; and how to respond to family members in the different grief stages
  • Co-Parenting — the importance of approaching co-parenting realistically and setting appropriate boundaries to minimize conflict
  • Parenting Plan Basics — the importance of a clear and detailed plan and how to incorporate elements to best execute a cooperative or parallel co-parenting style
  • Child Development — considering the above subjects given the various stages of child development

All Gwinnett County Parenting Seminars are scheduled on Thursdays.   The schedule for 2014 is as follows:

January 9, 16, 30         (Thursday morning from 9 am – 1 pm)
January 23                   (Thursday evening from 5 pm – 9 pm)

February 6, 13, 27       (Thursday morning from 9 am – 1 pm)

February 20                 (Thursday evening from 5 pm – 9 pm)
March 6, 13, 27           (Thursday morning from 9 am – 1 pm)

March 20                     (Thursday evening from 5 pm – 9 pm)
April 3, 10, 24             (Thursday morning from 9 am – 1 pm)

April 17                       (Thursday evening from 5 pm – 9 pm)
May 1, 22, 29              (Thursday morning from 9 am – 1 pm)

May 15                        (Thursday evening from 5 pm – 9 pm)
June 5, 12, 26              (Thursday morning from 9 am – 1 pm)

June 19                        (Thursday evening from 5 pm – 9 pm)
July 3, 10, 24               (Thursday morning from 9 am – 1 pm)

July 17                         (Thursday evening from 5 pm – 9 pm)
August 7, 14, 28         (Thursday morning from 9 am – 1 pm)

August            21         (Thursday evening from 5 pm – 9 pm)
September 4, 11, 25    (Thursday morning from 9 am – 1 pm)

September 18              (Thursday evening from 5 pm – 9 pm)
October 2, 9, 23          (Thursday morning from 9 am – 1 pm)

October           16       (Thursday evening from 5 pm – 9 pm)
November 6, 13          (Thursday morning from 9 am – 1 pm)

November 20              (Thursday evening from 5 pm – 9 pm)
December 4, 11           (Thursday morning from 9 am – 1 pm)

December 18               (Thursday evening from 5 pm – 9 pm)