Georgia Divorce Information
A divorce may be granted in the State of Georgia on the following
1. Incest; 2. Mental incapacity at the time of marriage; 3.
Impotency at the time of marriage; 4. Force, menace, duress, or
fraud in obtaining the marriage; 5. Pregnancy of the wife by one
other than the husband at the time of marriage, unknown to the
husband; 6. Adultery by either party; 7. Willful and continued
desertion by either party for one year; 8. Conviction and
imprisonment for at least two years for a crime of moral turpitude;
9. Habitual intoxication or drug addiction; 10. Cruel treatment; 11.
Incurable mental illness; 12. The marriage is irretrievably broken.
Residency requirements The party filing for divorce must have
been an actual and bona fide resident of the State of Georgia for at
least six months prior to the filing of the petition for divorce and
such divorce action shall be filed in that party's county of
residence. If the filing party is a non-resident of the State of
Georgia and the other spouse has been a resident of the state for
six months, the filing party may file the petition in the county in
which the other party resides. CGA 19-5-2 Waiting period A divorce
based upon the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage shall not be
granted until at least 30 days have elapsed from the date of service
upon the respondent. CGA 19-5-3
Name of court and title of action/parties An action for divorce
is filed with the Superior Court. The action initiating the divorce
proceeding is the Petition, while the action granting the divorce is
referred to as the Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce. The filing
party is called the Petitioner, while the other spouse is referred
to as the Respondent. CGA 19-5-1,19-5-5
Simplified divorce proceeding There are no provisions within the
State of Georgia for simplified divorce proceedings. Legal
separation When the spouses are separated, the State of Georgia
permits either party to petition the court for support on that
party's behalf or on the behalf of any minor children of the
marriage. CGA 19-6-10
Conciliation/mediation In any county with alternative dispute
resolution programs, the court may refer all contested petitions for
divorce to those programs. In addition, in counties without such
programs, the court may still refer any disputed divorce case to
participate in any reasonably available alternative dispute
resolution program as it sees fit. CGA 19-5-1
Alimony Alimony may be awarded to either spouse on either a
permanent or temporary basis in accordance with that party's needs
and the other party's ability to pay, although a party is not
entitled to alimony if the court determines that the cause of the
spouses separation was due to that party's adultery or desertion.
The amount of alimony will be determined by the court after
consideration of the following factors:
1. The standard of living established during the marriage; 2. The
duration of the marriage; 3. The age, physical and emotional
condition of both parties; 4. The financial resources of each party;
5. The time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient
education and training to find suitable employment; 6. The
contribution of each spouse to the marriage; 7. The condition of the
parties, including the separate estate, earning capacity and fixed
liabilities of each party; 8. Any other factor the court deems
relevant and just.
Distribution of property The court will distribute the marital
property of the parties between them as it deems equitable and just,
after setting aside to each spouse that party's separate property.
Child Custody The issue of custody of any minor children of the
marriage will be determined by the best interests of the child. The
court shall not prefer one party over the other on the basis of sex.
The court will consider instances of domestic violence in
determining custody and may also order a psychological or medical
evaluation of the family as it deems necessary. CGA 19-9-3
Child support Either party may be ordered to pay child support.
Georgia has enacted child support guidelines which establish the
presumptively correct amount of support to be paid. Deviation from
these guidelines require a specific written finding on the record of
the proceeding that the application of the guidelines would be
inappropriate or unjust in the particular case. The record must
further state what the amount of support would have been under the
guidelines. Justification for deviation from the guidelines include
such things as: 1. The ages of the children; 2. Educational costs;
3. A child's extraordinary medical costs; 4. Day-care costs; 5.
Shared physical custody arrangements; 6. A party's support
obligation to another household; 7. Income that should be attributed
to a party because of that party's artificial suppression of income;
8. In-kind income for the self-employed; 9. Other support a party is
willing to provide; 10. A party's own extraordinary expenses; 11.
Extreme economic circumstances; 12. Historical spending in the
family for children; 13. Cost of living factors; 14. Any other
factor the court deems to be required by the ends of justice.
The duty of support shall continue until the child reaches the
age of majority, dies, marries or becomes emancipated, whichever
occurs first. The court may, however, under certain circumstances,
order the continued support of a child who is enrolled in a
secondary school until the child reaches the age of twenty.
The court may also order a party to provide medical insurance for
the child if such insurance is reasonably available. CGA 19-5-3
Name change In all divorce actions, upon request, the court may
restore a party to a former or maiden name. CGA 19-5-1