Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to live in Georgia to file for a divorce in Georgia?
Yes. At least one of the parties (spouses) must live in Georgia for at least six (6) months to file for divorce in Georgia.
Can I get a divorce even if my spouse does not want a divorce?
Yes. If one party wants a divorce, that party can file for the divorce regardless of the other party’s wishes. This is a classic contested divorce, which costs more and takes longer to resolve.
What are the grounds for divorce in Georgia?
Georgia does not require a finding of fault for divorce. Parties commonly cite “irreconcilable differences” as grounds for the divorce. "Fault" grounds are the following:
- The marriage is irretrievably broken
- Cruel treatment consisting of willful infliction of pain, bodily or emotional, by one party upon the other, which reasonably justifies fear or danger to life, limb or health.
- Adultery by either of the parties after marriage
- Habitual intoxication
- Habitual mental illness
- The conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude, for which he or she is sentenced to imprisonment for two years or longer.
- Willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for a period of one year.
- Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of relationship
- Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage.
- Impotency at the time of marriage
- Force, menace, duress or fraud in obtaining the marriage
- Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than her husband at the time of marriage, unknown to the husband.
Do I have to hire a divorce attorney?
You have a constitutional right to represent yourself, referred to as appearing pro se (without an attorney), but frankly, unless the divorce is without children, no assets and the other spouse is not represented, it is not advisable. You wouldn't do your own root canal. Same for a divorce. If you make a mistake in the division of property, such as the sale of a home, cannot be reversed. In general, only child support and child custody can be modified.
Do both parties need their own attorney?
It is advisable for both parties to have their own attorney except in simple uncontested divorces where the parties are in agreement on all issues. In such case one attorney can draft the agreement the parties reached and represent the plaintiff. One attorney cannot represent both parties.
I have only been married a short time. Can I get an annulment ?
Annulments in Georgia are rare. They can be granted if the marriage was was void or voidable to begin with. For instance, you can obtain an annulment if your spouse was already married when you married and there are no children from your marriage.
Do we have to be separated to file for divorce in Georgia?
Yes, but in Georgia a separation means the parties intend to be separated are not having sexual relations. They can be living under the same roof and still be separated.
Can I get alimony in Georgia?
Alimony or spousal support is available in Georgia, but there is no cut-and-dried way of determining what's fair as there is in child support. The parties can agree to it, or the Court may grant it after examining all the factors at play in a particular case. Asking for the right amount of alimony requires the expertise of an experienced attorney.
How is child support determined?
Like many states, Georgia has adopted a child support calculator (worksheet and schedules) to determine child support. The non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent. In some cases, such as shared custody cases, deviations from the child support amount are appropriate. This is best left to attorneys, as the Court determines whether a deviation is warranted based on fact presented.
How will the court divide our property?
Georgia is an "equitable distribution" state, meaning assets and liabilities are to be divided fairly. In general, marital property is property acquired during the marriage, including pensions and 401(k)s. If the divorce involves substantial assets, it is imperative to be represented by a family law attorney.
Can I change my name back to my maiden name in divorce in Georgia?
Yes. The Court will grant a woman's request to have her maiden name or prior name restored.
How long does it take to finalize a divorce in Georgia?
It depends on the parties. If they are in agreement on all issues, the divorce can be granted 31 days after filing an uncontested divorce. If the divorce is contested, there is no set time. It can take months or even years. The parties are well advised not dive into litigation for the sake of a quick score. Fighting costs thousands of dollars and can take years. That is why it is essential to have competent, professional family law attorneys represent the parties.
Do I have to wait until the divorce is finalized to start dating?
Yes. Dating even after separation while the divorce is pending is a bad idea. It is technically adultery, which is still a crime in Georgia, although this is seldom prosecuted.
Do you have other questions about divorce in Georgia?
If you have any questions about divorce in Georgia, contact Attorney Leo Hughes at 770-933-0780.
Cobb GA Uncontested Divorce Resources