Divorce laws vary and, when considering divorce, it’s important to know the unique legal requirements of your state. Georgia has its own set of rules concerning divorce and, by exploring the overview of Georgia divorce laws below, you’ll be best equipped to end your marriage in The Peach State.
Like all states, Georgia has its own residency requirements that must be met in order for a couple to be granted a divorce. While local jurisdictions may also have their own requirements, the state requirements to file for a divorce in Georgia are:
- Either you or your spouse have been a resident of Georgia for six months immediately prior to filing; or
- If you are a non-resident, you can file for divorce in the county that your spouse lives in, provided that he or she has been a resident for six months
You should always consult with an attorney regarding your eligibility to file for divorce in Georgia prior to taking any action.
Grounds for divorce
In Georgia, there are two types of grounds for divorce: fault and no-fault. In a no-fault divorce, the parties do not have to prove fault in order for their divorce to be granted: the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” There are 12 fault-based grounds of divorce recognized by the court:
- Mental incapacity at the time of marriage
- Force, menace, duress or fraud at the time of marriage
- The wife was pregnant by someone other than her spouse at the time of the marriage, without the knowledge of the husband
- Willful desertion
- Two or more years of imprisonment for a crime involving moral turpitude
- Habitual intoxication
- Habitual drug addiction
- Cruel treatment that causes reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm
- Incurable mental illness
Division of property
Many couples are concerned with how their property will be divided after a divorce. Georgia is known as an equitable distribution state. Although there are exceptions to every rule, in an equitable distribution state, generally any property acquired during the marriage will be divided between the spouses, while property obtained either before the marriage or through third-party gifts or inheritance remain the property of the individual and will not be divided. Keep in mind that property obtained prior to a marriage could become the shared property of the spouses if circumstances change during the marriage—such as adding your spouse to the title of a vacation property you owned before getting married.The division of property must be “fair,” but does not have to be precisely equal. When considering what is fair, the court will consider a number of factors, such as each spouse’s income, assets, and debts.
Alimony is money awarded to one spouse from the other. It can be awarded either temporarily or permanently. The amount of alimony awarded will vary from case to case: each spouse’s financial needs, assets, income, earning capacity, and other relevant factors will be considered by the court in order to determine what amount of money is appropriate.
If the divorcing couple has children and can’t come to an agreement on physical custody, legal custody, and visitation, a judge will decide for them. To make the decision, the judge will focus on what arrangement is in the best interest of the child. The judge can consider any relevant factor in determining the best interest of the child. Common examples of factors a judge could consider include each parent’s relationship with the child and the financial capacity of each parent to provide for the child, as well as any detrimental factors such as a history of drug/alcohol abuse or criminal record.
In order to calculate the amount of child support a parent may potentially owe, the courts consider the total gross income of each parent, as well as a number of other additional factors that influence a parent’s ability to support their child. The amount of the award is calculated using a worksheet developed by the Georgia legislature. The legislature has provided a schedule of basic child support obligations, based on the combined adjusted gross income of both parents: the amounts listed are subject to adjustment based on the particular factors that are relevant in your case.
Experienced divorce lawyer for Georgia residents
The Law Offices of Adam Stein provide excellence in legal representation for family law clients in Gwinnett County, Georgia. To learn more about our divorce and family law services, and to receive your free initial consultation, please visit our website at www.family-lawyer.biz or contact our office at (770) 822-1985.