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Divorce in Georgia

Divorce in Georgia



Over the past ten years, Georgia’s divorce laws and regulations have undergone significant updates, showcasing the state’s commitment to adapting its legal framework to meet the evolving needs of families experiencing divorce. From child custody to alimony guidelines, these changes reflect Georgia’s dedication to ensuring fairness, transparency, and the well-being of all parties involved. Here’s an overview of the key updates in Georgia’s divorce laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023:

2013: Shared Parenting Focus

– Georgia prioritized shared parenting arrangements, aiming to ensure meaningful involvement of both parents in child custody cases.

2014: Child Custody and Visitation Guidelines

– The state introduced guidelines focused on the best interests of the child, providing clear standards for child custody and visitation decisions.

2015: Equitable Property Division

– Georgia clarified rules for property distribution during divorce proceedings, aiming for an equitable split of marital assets.

2016: Alimony Guidelines Implementation

– The introduction of alimony guidelines provided a structured framework for determining spousal support awards.

2017: Digital Documentation

– Georgia embraced the use of digital documentation and electronic signatures in divorce cases, streamlining paperwork processes.

2018: Transparent Child Support Calculations

– The state introduced transparent child support calculation guidelines to ensure consistent and fair support awards.

2019: Comprehensive Parenting Plans

– Comprehensive parenting plans became a focus, emphasizing the importance of detailed arrangements for child custody, visitation, and support.

2020: Streamlined Divorce Process

– Measures were taken to streamline the divorce process, reducing unnecessary delays and simplifying procedures.

2021: Domestic Violence Protections

– Georgia reinforced protections for victims of domestic violence during divorce proceedings.

2022: Financial Disclosure Enhancements

– Enhanced financial disclosure requirements were introduced to ensure accurate assessment of marital assets and debts.

2023: Online Resources and Support

– Georgia introduced online resources to guide individuals through divorce proceedings and provide information about available support services.

2023: Evolving Alimony Considerations

– The state reviewed alimony considerations to ensure adequacy and fairness in spousal support awards.

Georgia’s divorce laws have experienced significant changes over the past decade, showcasing the state’s commitment to modernizing its legal framework while upholding the values of fairness and transparency. These updates underscore Georgia’s proactive approach to addressing the complexities of divorce in today’s society. As Georgia continues to adapt its laws to meet the needs of its residents, it remains crucial for stakeholders, policymakers, and the public to engage in informed discussions that promote justice, equity, and the well-being of families navigating the intricacies of divorce.

Residency and Filing Needs

Divorce in Georgia include one simple requirement:

There is only one requirement before a divorce process can occur:

• Petitioner must be a bona fide resident of the state of Georgia for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.

Reasons for Divorce in Georgia

The court considers divorce as part of one out of two categories….

• No-Fault Divorce

• Fault Divorce

“No-Fault” basically can mean one thing –

1) The Marriage Has to Be “Irretrievably Broken”

“Fault” divorce in Georgia, however, is an entirely different situation.

Grounds for that divorce can include one or more of these as determined by a court of law:

• Intermarriage

• Mental Capacity or Lack Thereof From One Party

• Impotency

• Force, Fraud, Duress, or Menace While Obtaining the Marriage

• The Wife Becomes Pregnant by Another Man Other Than the Husband

• Adultery

• Willful Abandonment of the Marriage by Either Party For at Least a Year

• An Criminal Offense Involving Moral Turpitude Punishable by Imprisonment of at Least Two Years

• Drug and/or Alcohol Abuse

• Intolerable Cruelty

• Incurable Mental Illness

Both “No-Fault” and “Fault” divorce have separate stipulations that can affect custody, child support, and spousal support.

The Definition of “Legal Separation” Versus “Divorce”

Legal separation is simply the road a husband and wife take to lead separate lives without dissolving the marriage. This doesn’t necessarily mean the husband and wife want to stay married, though. Generally speaking a legal separation almost always leads to a petition for divorce. But the reason behind a legal separation can be tax issues, or even health insurance.

The Primary Documents For a Divorce in Georgia

They are listed as follows:

• Disclosure Statement

• Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit

• Marital Settlement Agreement

• Affidavit Regarding Custody

• Domestic Relations Case Filing Information Form

• Petition for Divorce

• And Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce

Divorce in Georgia : Property Distribution

Divorce in Georgia follows what is commonly called all over the States as an “equitable distribution” standard. That simply states that all assets and pieces of property must be divided equally without regard to monetary value. The issue with this standard stresses fairness more than value.

However, both parties can in fact agree on a mutual distribution strategy. Additionally, at this time a former wife may then be awarded her former or maiden name.

Divorce in Georgia : On the Subject of Spousal Support

While the subject of alimony can vary from case to case, one particular stipulation is the fact that alimony can be denied for any party subject to proof of willful desertion and/or adultery; likewise, alimony can be awarded to the other party as a result of desertion and/or adultery.

Divorce in Georgia : Dealing With Child Custody

Generally speaking, parents can come to an agreement on this matter regarding divorce in Georgia in several ways:

• Joint Physical Custody

• Sole Physical Custody

• Joint Legal Custody

• Sole Legal Custody

“Joint Physical Custody” is when both parents share custody of the child(ren) in terms of residency, food, clothing, and transportation. Everything involving the ‘physical’ aspects is addressed in this form of custody.

“Sole Physical Custody” then awards just one party those rights while the other holds “Visitation Rights” of the child(ren). Typically, this type of custody would also involve child support on the non-custodial party.

“Joint Legal Custody” is quite different, in that the responsibilities falling on both parties specifically involve aspects like religion, education, and lifestyle. They involve the more long-term, inner workings of parenting.

“Sole Legal Custody” then takes those legal responsibilities and awards it to only one parent. The other has no rights at all to the decisions made for the child(ren).

Divorce in Georgia : How to Determine Child Support If Necessary

Child support in the state of Georgia is determined by what is known as the Percentage of Income Formula, a basis by which all income of the non-custodial parent is combined and then a percentage of it is imposed to determine the amount of child support per month must be paid.

Of course, both the parents can come to an agreement about the child support amount without regard for the Formula.