Georgia Divorce Laws

Residency requirements when divorcing in Georgia

If you wish to file for divorce in Georgia then certain requirements must have been met. No divorce is granted unless the spouse has lived in Georgia for a period of not less than 6 months before they apply to the courts to grant the divorce. A divorce may be applied for in any county and is usually applied for in the county of the spouse who requests the divorce.

Georgia divorce

Georgia Divorce Grounds

Each divorce in the United States requires that there be grounds for why the divorce is necessary or requested. These grounds are different for each state, so the grounds for which individual files need to be legal in the state of Georgia.

In this state, one individual may file for a divorce but will have to prove the grounds for which he or she is filing in a court of law. Both spouses may file for a divorce together and conclude why divorce is requested.

Georgia’s grounds for divorce are separated into two different categories. The first category is called the no-fault-based grounds.

In Georgia, these grounds include an irretrievably broken marriage and at least thirty days must pass before a divorce can be granted. Usually, under these grounds, the couple has sought marriage counseling. No-fault-based grounds do not name one individual as responsible for the divorce.

A Petition for Divorce is the document that is applied for when requesting a divorce. A divorce may be granted by the Courts on the basis of no-fault or fault-based grounds under the following conditions:

No-fault based grounds

  • A marriage that is irretrievably broken down – in this case, it will take 30 days before the divorce will be granted from the time that it was filed

Fault-based grounds

Fault-based grounds often name one individual responsible for at least one spouse requesting a divorce. These grounds include mental incapacitation, the intermarriage of individuals within any prohibited levels of affinity or consanguinity, pregnancy due to another man outside of the marriage while the couple is still married, impotence during the time period where the couple was wed, duress, fraud, force, the conviction of a felony offense resulting in an imprisonment term of two years or more, adultery, cruel treatment, habitual drug usage or drunkenness, continued and willful desertion of one year or more, or an irreversible mental illness.

  • Intermarriage by persons deemed of affinity or consanguinity
  • Mental health incapacitation
  • Impotency at the time of getting married
  • Any type of duress, fraud, or force
  • If the woman was pregnant by another man at the time of the marriage without his knowledge
  • Adultery
  • Wilful desertion by either of the spouses for a period of 1 year or more
  • Convicted of a felony that led to imprisonment for 2 or more years
  • Drunkenness which is considered to be habitual
  • Treatment which is considered to be cruel
  • Mental illness which is incurable
  • Drug addiction

Georgia Code – Sections: 19-5-3

Georgia Residential Requirements

Before filing for divorce individuals must be state residents for at least one year before a petition is filed. This also includes those who are stationed in Georgia on active military duty or for military reservation but lowers the timeline to six months of residency.

All divorces are to be filed to the Georgia bankruptcy court of the county in which an individual resides. If both spouses reside in Georgia divorce can be petitioned at either county of residency. If the petitioner resides outside Georgia state lines then he or she is allowed to petition for divorce in the Georgia county where his or her spouse resides.

Filing with the Court in Georgia

You must file your Georgia divorce papers in the court located in the County where you presently reside. We will provide the court information in the documents that we send to you, but some of the courts in Georgia are listed below:

  • Fulton County Superior Court:
    136 Pryor Street S.W. Atlanta, Georgia 30303 Phone: (404) 730-4518
  • Chatham County Superior Court:
    133 Montgomery St., Savannah, GA 31401 Phone: (912) 652-7201 Fax:(912) 652-7523
  • Richmond County Superior Court:
    530 Greene St., Augusta, GA 30911 Phone: (706) 821-1837 Fax: (706) 821-2448
  • Muscogee County Superior Court:
    100 Tenth St., Columbus, GA 31902-1340 Phone: (706) 653-4370 Fax: (706) 653-4359
  • Cobb County Superior Court:
    32 Waddell Street, Marietta, GA 30090 Phone: (770) 528-1300 Fax: (770) 528-1382
  • Clarke County Superior Court:
    325 E. Washington St, Athens, GA 30601 Phone: (706) 613-3190 Fax:(706) 613-3189
  • Richmond County Superior Court:
    530 Greene St., Augusta, GA 30911 Phone: 706-821-1837 Fax: 706-821-2448
  • Dougherty County Superior Court:
    PO Box 1827, Albany, GA 31702-1827 Phone: (229) 431-2198 Fax: (229) 878-3155

If your County court is not listed, the information for your court will be included in the divorce papers we send you.

Property division in the state of Georgia

As Georgia is classed as being an equitable state property division decided by the courts will be divided equitably as opposed to 50/50. Equitable means that property is distributed fairly.

  1. First, the courts will have to find out what property is classed as marital.
  2. Once this is decided a monetary value will be put on the marital property
  3. This is then divided equitably among the spouses

When it comes to dividing property there are no factors listed.

Georgia Child Custody Laws

In the case of violence in a divorcing family, the court has the right to prohibit visitation if the violence has been presented to the court. Children who are over the age of fourteen have the right in Georgia to decide which parent he or she wants to live with.

The child has the foremost right in this situation unless the chosen parent relinquishes parental rights and states that he or she is an unfit parent. For children who are between the ages of eleven and fourteen, the court will consider the child’s desires and the educational necessities involved.

The court may choose to overrule a child’s parent’s choice if it sees that parent as unfit. The first and foremost decision for the court is to look at which situation is best for the child. Most often parental desires are not always considered.

When it comes to child custody factors for Georgia the courts will look into all factors and circumstances of all parties concerned. These will include the following:

  • The parental suitability of both parents
  • The needs and wishes of the child
  • The role that each parent had in the upbringing of the child
  • The location in which the parents live with each other
  • Any agreement that the parents managed to reach
  • A history of family violence may be taken into account
  • If the child is over the age of 14 then they may choose who to live with
  • If the child makes a selection this will be so unless the court finds any reasons why that parent is not fit to take custody

Child support issues

Both of the parents or either may be asked to provide child support, this will be based on their ability to pay and circumstances. If the parents can reach an agreement themselves then the court will have no say, otherwise, the factors below are considered and the court will make a judgment.

  • The age of the children
  • The need for any extraordinary medical costs
  • Educational or daycare costs
  • Shared physical custody arrangements
  • Support the obligations of parents when it comes to housing costs
  • Any income that is hidden
  • The income of the parent that has custody
  • The contributions of each parent to the household
  • Economic circumstances which are considered to be extreme
  • Visitation travel expenses of the spouses are considered extreme. Code of Georgia Annotated; 19-5-12, 19-6-14, and 19-6-15

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