In most states, in a situation such as this the petitioning spouse (the one filing for divorce) can obtain what is called a "divorce by default". As long as a valid summons and complaint has been filed with the court and the respondent (the non-filing spouse) has been properly served, the petitioner is entitled to one if the respondent fails to file an answer to the action within a specified time (typically 30-60 days). After that period, they will be deemed to have "defaulted". Accordingly, the petitioner can then file their final paperwork and appear before the judge, who will make their ruling solely on the petitioner's written/oral testimony. A divorce is then granted generally on the terms that are requested.
Specifically, in GA a petitioner cannot get a divorce strictly by default. Even after the 30 days to respond have passed, a respondent may still file a response any time prior to the final hearing. However, failure to file a timely response does constitute a waiver to further notices. If the respondent fails to appear at a final hearing, the judge will issue a divorce decree and distribute the marital property.
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