Understanding Divorce in Georgia

by | Apr 20, 2021 | Family Law

Divorce proceedings aren’t the same everywhere.

Here are the basics of divorce in Georgia.


No one walks down the aisle thinking, “I bet we’ll get divorced one day!” Yet unfortunately, divorce is a fairly common occurrence.

If you are considering filing for divorce in Georgia, you probably have a lot of questions (mingled with some emotional turmoil).

While no two couples—or divorces—are the same, there are a few commonalities that govern Georgia divorces. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common questions about divorce in Georgia.


Does Georgia Have No-Fault Divorce?

All states in the U.S., including Georgia, allow couples to petition the court for a “no-fault” divorce.

This means that neither spouse needs to prove that the other did something wrong. They can merely assert that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

Does Georgia allow no-fault divorce?

However, Georgia law does recognize certain other grounds for a divorce, including (but not limited to):

  • Infidelity
  • Cruelty or abuse
  • Willful desertion for at least one year
  • Chronic drug or alcohol use
  • Incurable mental illness
  • Conviction of a crime involving “moral turpitude” with a sentence of two years or more in prison

If you are divorcing your spouse on the grounds of cruelty or desertion, for example, s/he will likely have a less favorable outcome in the divorce.


Filing For Divorce in Georgia

Other than having grounds, Georgia has few requirements for divorce. One of them, however, is that you must have lived in or maintained a residence in Georgia for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.

Your first step is to file a Petition for Divorce (sometimes referred to as a Complaint for Divorce) in your county of residence. Once you have served your spouse with a copy of the divorce papers, they may choose to accept or contest the divorce proceedings.

Even if the divorce is uncontested, it is always a good idea to get a Georgia divorce attorney to guide you through the proceedings and represent your interests.

Georgia does not have legal separation, but they do have "Separate Maintenance."

Does Georgia Have Legal Separation?

No court documents are needed in order to obtain a legal separation in Georgia. The spouses only need to suspend marital relations in order to be “legally separated.” A legal separation can last for as long as you like and you may even remain in the same household.

If you wish to make your separation a bit more official, you can file for separate maintenance. Unlike filing for divorce in Georgia, there is no six-month residency requirement for separate maintenance.

In an uncontested separation, the two of you will work out child visitation/support, alimony, division of property, etc. and a judge will approve the decisions. If you cannot come to an agreement, both spouses will present their evidence to a judge, who will make those decisions for you.


Filing For Divorce in Georgia?

Don’t start divorce proceedings without the assistance of a licensed divorce attorney.

Many issues can arise during even the simplest of divorces. Your spouse may surprise you and contest the divorce. They may agree to the divorce but not any of your terms regarding child support, alimony, or division of property. Perhaps your spouse lives in another state or refuses contact with you.

Whether you are parting ways on good terms or not, you and your spouse are bound to have some conflicting emotions—emotions that make it hard to think straight and make sound legal decisions. Having a lawyer on your side can make sure that your interests are represented and that both parties reach a fair agreement.