Georgia Divorce Law FAQ
Does Georgia still recognize “common law” marriage?
On or after January 1, 1997, no common law marriage shall be entered into in the State of Georgia. However, otherwise valid common law marriages entered into prior to January 1, 1997 are recognized.
Do I need to live in Georgia to get a divorce here?
Yes, at least one spouse must be a “bona fide” resident of the State of Georgia for at least six months prior to the filing of the petition for divorce.
Does Georgia have “no-fault” divorce?
Yes. For a “no-fault” divorce, one spouse must state a belief that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and that the husband and wife are unable to resolve their marital differences with no hope of reconciliation.
Does Georgia have “fault” divorce?
Yes. One spouse can allege that the other spouse caused the marriage to be “irretrievably broken”. Other than the “no-fault” ground for divorce, there are twelve fault grounds, some of which are: adultery, desertion, mental incapacity at the time of the marriage, marriage between people related too closely to one another, force or fraud in obtaining the marriage, mental or physical cruel treatment.
How do I start the divorce process?
One spouse files a document called a Complaint (or Petition) for Divorce in the appropriate superior court. This document is a formal declaration to the court and to your spouse that you are seeking a divorce, and seeking relief for all other related issues such as child custody and support, spousal support, and equitable division of property, including debts, if any. A copy of the Complaint (or Petition) for Divorce will be served on (personally delivered to) the other spouse by a sheriff of the appropriate county, or that spouse may choose to acknowledge service by signing an Acknowledgment of Service before a notary public. This spouse has 30 days to file with the court a written response to the Complaint for Divorce.
How long will the whole process take?
It depends on whether your divorce is simple or complicated, and how well you and your spouse can interact to resolve all the issues. Every divorce is different. Understandably, the more the two of you can agree, the less time and less costly it will be. If I file for divorce, am I going to have to go to trial to get it resolved and be able to move on with my life? In Georgia, more than 93% of all filed divorce cases are settled prior to trial.