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Georgia Divorce Laws

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Georgia divorce laws covers a variety of issues couple deal with when going through divorce: alimony, property distribution, child support and child custody. Divorce law can be complex, and there are many exceptions to the rules, so you may want to speak to a local Georgia divorce lawyer about state divorce laws and how your divorce will be affected.

For your convenience, the chart below summarizes a few of the key concepts of Georgia's divorce laws:

Georgia State Laws

  • Fault/No-Fault: Both
  • Property Distribution: Equitable
  • ADR Available: Yes
  • Parenting Plan Required: No

Georgia Grounds for Divorce

State divorce laws allow couples file under either no fault or fault grounds for divorce.

In a no fault divorce, the couple sites that the marriage is irretrievably broke when filing for divorce. A no fault divorce doesn't blame for the end of the marriage on either spouse. During a no fault divorce, the couple may be required to follow Georgia divorce waiting periods.

When a couple files for fault divorce, one spouse may file under the following grounds for divorce:

  • Intermarriage between family members that are too closely related
  • Mental incapacitation
  • Impotence at the marriage
  • Force, duress and fraud
  • Wife was impregnated by another man without the husband's knowledge
  • Habitual drunkenness or drug addiction
  • Incurable mental illness
  • Cruel treatment
  • Felony conviction and imprisonment for 2 years
  • Adultery
  • Willful and continued desertion for 1 year

Georgia Residency Requirements

Before filing divorce, one spouse needs to meet the divorce residency requirement.

State divorce laws require one spouse to be a resident of the state for six months before filing for divorce. The divorce petition is typically filed in the county where the filing spouse lives.

Georgia Divorce Waiting Period

When filing for divorce, most states have divorce waiting periods before, during or after the divorce process to ensure there isn't a possibility of the couple reconciling.

Divorce laws in Georgia don't require a divorce waiting period before filing divorce. After the divorce petition is entered in court, there is at least a 30 day waiting period for marriages filed on the grounds of the marriage being irretrievably broken. If the couple has children then the waiting period is extended to 120 days.

Once the marriage is final, there isn't a remarriage period for either spouse.

Georgia Property Division

State divorce laws follow equitable property distribution in Georgia.

The divorce courts divides property by what is considered fair but not necessarily equal. When deciding property division, the divorce courts will consider the circumstances of the divorce on a case-by-case basis.

Georgia Alimony

Most state divorce laws allow couples to negotiate alimony if the spouses can work together, and then the divorce court can approve the agreement.

When filing for divorce in Georgia, the divorce court will determine how alimony will be distributed by the following factors:

  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Length of the marriage
  • Age and health of both spouses
  • Financial resources of each spouse
  • Time necessary for either spouse to acquire
  • Contribution of each spouse to the marriage
  • Financial conditions of the spouses, such as separate estate, earning capacity and fixed liabilities
  • Other relevant factors the divorce court considers equitable

Divorce laws in Georgia terminate alimony if the supported spouse remarries, unless otherwise specified in the divorce settlement.

Georgia Child Custody

Some state divorce laws allow parents to negotiate child custody arrangements, and then provide the plan to the divorce court to approve the agreement.

In Georgia, if the couple can't come to a child custody agreement when filing divorce, the divorce court will consider the following factors:

  • Parental suitability of each parent
  • Needs of the child
  • Prior role of each parent
  • Child's wishes
  • Location of the residences of each parent
  • Any agreement between the parents

If the child is 14 years old, the child has the right to select the parent he or she would like to live with. The child's choice will be the determining factor unless the parent he or she chooses to live with is determined unfit for child custody.

When a child is at least 11 years old but not yet 14, the divorce court will consider the child's desires and educational needs to determine which parent will have custody.

Georgia Grandparent Visitation

Divorce laws don't automatically grant child visitation rights to grandparents, but grandparents can petition for visitation rights.

Grandparents may intervene in any action regarding child custody when parents are filing for divorce, parental rights are being terminated, courts are deciding visitation rights or a blood relative or stepparent is adopting the child.

The grandparent's visitation rights don't terminate as long as the adoption is by a blood relative of the child or the child's stepparent.

Georgia Child Support

State divorce laws don't set specific factors to consider when determining child support.

When parents are filing for divorce, there are specific child support guidelines that the divorce court will follow if the parents can't agree on child support in a divorce settlement. The special circumstances that will be considered include:

  • Age of the children
  • Child's medical costs or extraordinary needs
  • Educational costs
  • Daycare costs
  • Shared physical custody arrangements
  • Hidden income of a parent
  • Custodial parent's income
  • Contributions of each parent
  • A parent's support obligations to another household
  • Extreme economic circumstances
  • Any extraordinary needs of a parent
  • Historic spending levels of the family
  • Cost of health and accident insurance coverage for the child
  • Extraordinary visitation travel expenses

Georgia Child Support Enforcement

When parents default on child support payments, state divorce laws have different child support enforcement techniques to help collect unpaid child support.

The following child support enforcement techniques used by Georgia courts include:

  • Withholding paychecks or unemployment benefits
  • Garnishing workers' compensation benefits
  • Intercepting federal and state income tax refunds
  • Reporting parents owing more than $1,000 in child support to credit bureaus
  • Suspending or revoking driver's, professional or occupational licenses
  • Reviewing or modifying child support
  • Intercepting lottery winnings of more than $2,500
  • Filing contempt of court actions that may mean jail
  • Filing liens and levy on tangible or intangible property
  • Suspending passports for failure to pay $2,500 or more
  • Seizing bank accounts after notice

Please understand that this information is provided for illustration purposes only and is not legal advice.

Connect with a local Georgia divorce attorney today and protect you and your family during the divorce process. Call 877-349-1310 or fill out our divorce case review form to connect with an attorney who can review your case and help you learn about filing divorce.

This "Georgia Divorce Laws" page was last updated April 2009.

The above synopsis of Georgia divorce laws is by no means all-inclusive and has been adapted from applicable state laws. These laws may have changed since our last update and there may be additional laws that apply in your situation. For the latest information on these divorce laws, please contact a local Georgia divorce lawyer in your area.

Note: Keep in mind that all divorce laws are complex. If you need legal divorce advice or want to fully understand how these laws affect you, please speak with a local divorce attorney.