Are you considering legal separation in Georgia?
This article is going to dig into:
- what’s legal separation
- how does legal separation work
- how much does legal separation cost
- and filing for legal separation
So, let’s dig in.
What Does Legal Separation Mean for Georgia Residents?
A legal separation means a ‘break up’ of a married couple that is recognized by the courts. When you are legally separated, you live separately and have your own, separate lives.
Couples usually go through legal separation if they want to avoid a divorce, but they want to establish financial boundaries and responsibilities, such as separation of assets, custody of dependents, and child support.
Legal separation means you stop living with your spouse but you follow certain living arrangements per a voluntary, written agreement. If a spouse violates the agreement, the family court can enforce it. Unlike a divorce, a legal separation does not end your marriage.
Couples decide to go through legal separation vs divorce in Georgia for many reasons. Some of the most common reasons for legal separation in Georgia are:
- Married couples are unsure if they want to get divorced
- Couples cannot afford to get divorced
- Financial benefits, such as continued health insurance for that person and the kids
- Religious reasons
How Does Legal Separation Work in Georgia?
If you are considering a divorce in Georgia, you have to start with legal separation.
This does not mean that either you or your spouse have to move out of the house. It just means that you have to have separate rooms and suspend “marital relations.” Basically, this means that you cannot be intimate with each other.
While it’s not required that you have a mutual separation agreement filled out, it’s important that you do make one. This will outline how you want to proceed with the divorce. And if you’re not getting a divorce, it will allow you to outline how you want to split assets, child custody, alimony, child support, etc.
Maybe you’re wondering how long do I have to be legally separated in Georgia before I can get a divorce.
In Georgia, there is no legal requirement that spouses live separately before they can get a no-fault divorce. Once 30 days have passed after the spouse serves the divorce papers on the other spouse, the court can grant a divorce.
How Much Does Legal Separation Cost in Georgia?
For just the legal separation, all you have to pay for is the cost of the document and the cost to file it at your local family courts. If you and your spouse are not going through an amicable divorce, you may have to get a divorce lawyer involved to help you fill out the divorce paperwork.
When this is the case, you end up having to pay divorce lawyer fees and the cost of divorce in Georgia gets expensive very fast. This is especially true if you are planning to file for divorce with children in Georgia. If you want to have an affordable divorce and separation, it’s important that you both work through the property settlement and child custody issues.
Filing For Legal Separation In Georgia
When filing for legal separation in Georgia, just download the separation agreement, fill it out with your spouse, and file it at your local courts in your county.
This separation agreement is going to outline what the terms of the separation are. They include things like who gets the house, how to split the assets (checking, savings, and retirement accounts), who gets the dog, child custody, and alimony.
Sometimes, it’s hard to sit down and agree on these things when you’re in the middle of a separation. But, if you want an easier, cheaper divorce, it’s important that you figure it out on your own.
Sit down separately from each other and write down the top 5 things you each REALLY want. Most likely, 3 or 4 of these items will be different than your spouse’s things that they really want.
It’s that ONE thing that you have to negotiate on. And knowing what each of you really wants allows you to figure out what you’re willing to trade-off in order to get what you want.
Legal Separation in Georgia
Legal separation in Georgia is not recognized by the divorce courts. According to divorce laws in Georgia, the term legal separation means that the spouses are no longer in a marital relationship. Instead, they have something called separate maintenance.
You can still live with your spouse during the legal separation, but you are living your own life in terms of finances. responsibilities, assets, etc.
For legal separation in Georgia, there is not a set time frame that you and your spouse have to be separated. And you can live with your spouse during the legal separation, but you are not allowed to share the same room or have any type of relationship.
Separate maintenance in Georgia allows the divorce courts to rule on marital issues but does not indicate or grant a divorce. Marital issues refer to the separation of assets, custody of dependents, and child support, etc.
In place of legal separation in Georgia, the Georgia divorce courts grant separate maintenance to couples who no longer want to be together, but cannot get a divorce. As mentioned before, reasons to go with legal separation are religious reasons, affordability of a divorce, or keeping the family on the insurance plan.
If you want to become legally separated in Georgia (separate maintenance in Georgia), then start by creating a separation agreement.
The separation agreement can be filled out by you and your spouse. It can also include confirmation that both parties recognize their separation from marriage, and outline the disposition of all marital property, children, and alimony.
Georgia does not recognize a separation agreement as evidence to bypass any court proceedings. But the document is a binding agreement and can serve as a clear outline of how each party wishes to proceed when going through a divorce in Atlanta or anywhere in Georgia.