A legal separation occurs when a couple decides to live separately and apart without going through the formal process of divorce. The state of Georgia does not recognize the concept of legal separation. This means that the court cannot grant an action requesting legal separation. Under the law, it’s possible for the couple to continue to live together as long as they suspend marital relations with the intention to divorce.
Although Georgia does not recognize legal separation, the state does provide couples an alternative to absolute divorce - separate maintenance.
Separate maintenance is similar to traditional divorce in the sense that the court allows the couple to live separately and resolve alimony, child support, and child custody issues. However, the couple stays legally married until one of them files a divorce petition in court. Furthermore, in a separate maintenance claim, the court cannot divide or award property.
To qualify for separate maintenance, the couple has to demonstrate the following:
The decision to file for divorce or separate maintenance is personal and varies from couple to couple. Here are some of the reasons why couples in Georgia choose to file a separate maintenance action:
Under Georgia law, there are different requirements that couples have to fulfill before a divorce decree can be issued. For instance, they should meet the state’s residency requirements, service of process, and cooling off period. There is, however, no requirement for the couple to live separately before they file for divorce. Essentially, there is no required timeframe of separation before one of the parties can file a divorce petition.
If you’re wondering whether divorce or separate maintenance is the right choice for you, get in touch with a qualified and experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Your divorce attorney will help you obtain the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Our team at Sharon Jackson can help you with your case. We have years of experience fighting for our client’s best interests and helping them make tough decisions. Call us now at (678) 909-4100 to schedule a confidential consultation.