In Georgia, unlike many other states, there is no legal requirement for you to live separately before you can get a divorce. It’s not unusual for spouses to reside under one roof for the short term, while they are planning to divorce. Sometimes couples plan to get a divorce in Georgia while living together for financial reasons, or to provide stability for their children or because they have not yet found separate households.
However, even though you can get divorced while still living together in Georgia, there are legal conditions you have to abide by, such as being “legally separated,” to successfully get divorced while still living together. Here are some common concerns about living under one roof when getting divorced in Georgia.
Under Georgia law, you have to be legally separated and end “marital relations” with the intention to divorce.
To be “legally separated” means spouses, whether living together or not, do not engage in marital relations. This translates to them no longer sharing the same room or having sexual relations and considering themselves to be in a state of separation. Being “legally separated” does not require a separation agreement, in writing or verbally, although an agreed or verifiable date is recommended.
In Georgia, you don’t have to be separated for any specific period of time. You can decide you want a divorce on Monday and file your case on Tuesday. However, Georgia does have a minimum waiting period of 45 days before a divorce can be granted, with some exceptions that allow it to be done after 31 days. This waiting period is required, even for no-fault divorces. The average duration of the process for uncontested cases, where the parties agree on everything varies based on a number of factors, but provided there are no issues that the judge would not approve, uncontested divorces are typically completed within 60 – 90 days.
If you have sex after filing for divorce, the court will dismiss your court action, and you will have to re-file and repay filing and service fees if you want to continue the divorce. “No longer engaging in a marital relationship” means couples wanting to get divorced should not engage in sex together once the divorce is filed.
If you want to get divorced while living together in Georgia you should:
1. Sleep in Separate Rooms
During your separation, both people need privacy, and you should sleep in separate areas, where both people can have privacy during times of stress or tension.
2. Maintain Clear Communication
If you file for a divorce while living together in Georgia, tensions can run higher than if you lived in separate spaces. Still, it’s important to be as pragmatic as possible during this challenging time. Communicating clearly about children and bills is critical to ensure you’re able to live separately under the same roof.
3. Plan a Childcare Schedule
Divorce is disruptive for everyone in the family. Try to work out general agreements on how to handle children’s schedules and activities to minimize disputes and achieve a level of stability for the children. Remember, both parents have a right to their children until the court sets an Order outlining specific rights and schedules.
4. Decide On a Budget
Many spouses maintain a joint account when married, which they have equal access to when going through a divorce. It’s advisable to keep this account open until all marital property has been divided. When living together during your separation before the divorce is finalized, each spouse should pay for their bills from their own separate accounts, according to their decided budget.
If you are “legally separated,” getting divorced while living together in Georgia is possible. Divorce is a trying time for most, and if you are divorcing while living together if can cause additional stress, which is why hiring an experienced family law attorney to help resolve things as expediently and amicably as possible is always advised.
Protecting your future and filing for divorce in Georgia while living together is stressful, and divorce under any circumstances can be complicated. An experienced and qualified family attorney who can provide proper guidance for you and your family is an investment in your future.
Our divorce and family law team is ready to help you understand your rights, aggressively fight for your interests and create a strategy to help protect you and your children throughout your case. Contact us at (678) 436-3636 to schedule a consultation.
Attorney Sharon Jackson LLC
175 Langley Drive, Suite A1
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Phone: (678) 909-4100
Fax: (678) 281-0482