Georgia Divorce & Separation
UPDATED: June 19, 2018
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While separations and divorces are common in every state, each state has its own laws and rules governing the process. What are the requirements for getting a divorce in Georgia? Is mediation a requirement before you can get a Georgia divorce? What is the law on Georgia annulments? Find the answers to your Georgia divorce questions here.
Georgia Legal Separation:
Georgia doesn't formally recognize legal separations. But if the two parties involved agree not to file for divorce (yet) but still want to be separated, they may file 'separation agreements' in what is called a 'separate maintenance action.'
In Georgia, separate maintenance neither ends a marriage nor does it allow for entering into a new marriage. It does resolve many of the legal issues that would arise in a divorce (e.g. - visitation rights, arrangements for debt payments, child support, etc), without the need for the formal divorce itself. In Georgia, the Complaint for Separate Maintenance must be filed with the local Superior Court where the respondent lives. For more information about the differences between divorce, separation and annulment, see Ending a Marriage or Taking a Break.
Grounds for Divorce/Fault ' No Fault:
Georgia has both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. For more information about what that means, see The Divorce Process: From Separation to Final Judgment. The ground for a no-fault divorce is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Grounds for a divorce based on fault in Georgia are: 1) consanguinity; 2) mental incapacity; 3) impotency at the time of the marriage; 4) force; 5) pregnancy by a man other than the husband; 6) adultery; 7) desertion (more than 1 year); 8) prison sentence (2 years or more); 9) habitual intoxication; 10) cruelty; 11) incurable mental illness; (12) drug addiction. Your grounds (or reasons) for wanting a divorce are set out in a document called a Petition for Divorce that you file with your local Superior Court. Once the judgment for divorce is granted (i.e. the judge approves your divorce), you will become an unmarried person again.
Residency/Where to File for Divorce:
One of the parties to the marriage must have been a resident of the state for six months preceding the filing. A non-resident spouse can file for divorce in a county in which the other spouse has been a resident for six months before the filing. You will file your paperwork in the Superior Court of _______________ [write/type in county of residence] County, Georgia. The County Clerk's Office of the Superior Court will be managing your paperwork with the court.
Availability of Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures:
In Georgia, there are no separate divorce procedures for 'special' divorces, though uncontested divorces in Georgia benefit from the obvious savings that come from resolving affairs on one's own rather than litigating them with law firms that are charging by the hour or even the minute. In an uncontested divorce, the parties may reach written agreement on all issues resulting from the marriage, including finances, division of property and debt, custody and visitation of children, and spousal and child support. The parties then present that agreement to the court for approval. When the court approves it, the agreement is made an order of the court. An uncontested divorce may be granted 31 days after the defendant has been served with the complaint for divorce.
Georgia Online Divorce Services:
LegalZoom.com– An online documentation service that helps users file for divorce.
CompleteCase.com– Offers an affordable way to file for uncontested divorces online.
Divorce Mediation in Georgia:
Mediation is an option that many divorcing couples choose when working out the specific terms of their settlement agreement. It's less expensive than hiring two lawyers, and perhaps more importantly for the long run, it can keep the parties from becoming adversaries. In Georgia, the use of mediation is determined by the counties. Many counties ask divorcing couples to make a good faith effort to resolve their differences and work out an agreement before coming to court (see Availability of Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures above).
An annulment is when a court declares your marriage legally invalid. In other words, rather than ending a marriage via divorce, an annulment is a declaration that the marriage was never valid to begin with. In Georgia an annulment is not allowed if there are children to the marriage. To seek an annulment from the Superior Court, you will need to file a Petition for Annulment and attend a hearing with a judge. [Georgia Code Section 19-4-1'19-4-5]
Georgia Divorce Laws: Click below to find the Georgia Divorce laws you're looking for:
- Georgia Divorce & Separation
- Georgia Divorce & Finances
- Georgia Divorce & Children
- Georgia Divorce Resources & Statutes