Wondering if legal separation in Georgia is right for you?
Or you already know, but you want to learn more about legal separation.
Either way, this blog is for you.
This article is your deep dive into legal separation in Georgia.
You’re going to learn things like:
Separation can be devastating. It’s heartbreaking when parents lose custody of their children. Spouses end up having to pay agonizing amounts of financial support.
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Okay, here’s the deal.
Georgia laws make this topic super confusing.
For normal family laws:
But for the family laws in Georgia:
Notice how Georgia calls separation maintenance legal separation.
They SHOULD be referring to separation maintenance as spousal support for legal separation.
I am going to refer to legal separation as legal separation since that’s what it’s normally called.
There are two main concepts to legal separation in Georgia. They are:
So, what is a legal separation?
Related: Questions to Ask A Divorce Lawyer
Legal separation is a court-ordered arrangement where a married couple leads separate lives.
A legal separation is good for couples who are unsure about divorce but want to split up.
A legal separation will establish financial boundaries and responsibilities.
They determine things like:
Now that you know what is legal separation, let’s talk about how legal separation works.
How legal separation works is like this.
A legal separation will not legally end your divorce.
A legal separation allows you to move on and live separate lives but remains legally married.
When you get a legal separation, the separation agreement is a court-ordered agreement.
Meaning if your spouse violates the agreement, it can get enforced by the courts.
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.
Related: Reasons a Judge Will Change Custody
There are a few steps you need to take when figuring out how to separate.
When you’re figuring out how to separate, take into consideration:
Now that you know some of the things to consider, let’s talk about how to file for legal separation.
Are you trying to figure out how to file for legal separation?
Your attorney will handle everything for you.
But maybe you’re trying to file for legal separation in Georgia on your own.
Or you just want to know what the steps are to filing for legal separation.
Either way, here are the steps.
How to file for legal separation:
How long does it take to get a legal separation depends on the reason for the legal separation.
Legal separation with the intent to divorce is faster than legal separation without the intent to divorce.
With intent to divorce, legal separation can happen as soon as one spouse meets the separation requirements.
One spouse has to move out of the house or into another bedroom with the intent to divorce.
If there is no intent to divorce, legal separation takes much longer.
For this, you will have to go through the legal separation process with the courts.
This means that legal separation can take as little as 30 days or up to a year.
It depends on how contested the legal separations are.
If you and your spouse agree on the terms of the separation, it is uncontested.
This means that your separation process will be as little as 30 days.
If you are contesting issues like child custody, alimony, and division of assets, then it will take much longer.
Related: Grounds for Full Custody of Child
Not everyone can afford to move out immediately when they decide they want a legal separation.
Some people are trying to figure out how to separate from a spouse while living together.
Let’s talk about some guidelines on how to separate from a spouse while living together.
Related: How to Leave Your Husband
What are the legal separation costs that you will deal with?
Legal separation costs are the same as the costs of divorce.
You will have to pay for:
Legal separation costs can range from ~$1,200 up to $30,000.
The amount of legal separation costs you’ll pay depend on how contested the separation is.
The more contested and drawn out the separation is, the more it’s going to cost you and your spouse.
How much is a legal separation depends on how contested the issues are.
If you and your spouse agree on all issues, legal separation costs an average of $4,100.
If the legal separation has contested issues, it costs an average of $20,400.
Fighting over custody of children drives up the legal separation costs significantly.
What Georgia separation laws are important?
The Georgia separation laws state that the grounds for legal separation in Georgia are:
This is basically saying that you can get legal separation for irreconcilable differences or based on fault.
Another aspect you have to consider about the Georgia separation laws is the residency requirements.
There are no residency requirements to get a legal separation in Georgia.
But the courts MUST have personal jurisdiction over the person being served separation papers.
So, what are the main differences between legal separation vs divorce?
The topic of legal separation vs divorce can be confusing.
There are some key differences when it comes to legal separation vs divorce.
The overarching difference with legal separation vs divorce is that your marriage is dissolved in a divorce.
The other differences in legal separation vs divorce are that legal separation:
Not that we have talked about the key differences in legal separation vs divorce, let’s talk about the similarities.
The similarities for legal separation vs divorce are:
Why would you get a legal separation instead of a divorce?
You’re wondering what are the reasons why would you get a legal separation instead of a divorce.
People get a legal separation instead of a divorce because of:
You’re considering legal separation vs divorce.
So, what are the disadvantages of legal separations in Georgia?
The disadvantages of legal separation in Georgia are that:
These are the main disadvantages of legal separations in Georgia.
Are there any benefits of legal separation?
And if so, what are those benefits of legal separation?
The main benefits of legal separation are:
Let’s look at this study on legal separations in Georgia.
They found that legal separation is not sustainable for most couples.
The future of their relationship during separation was too unclear.
Spouses who make the decision to separate rarely gave clear information on things like:
Most people who were recipients of a legal separation had zero clarity on where their relationship stood.
They had increased feelings of sadness, pain, and confusion as time passed.
For this reason, most people just want the marriage to end after they have been legally separated for some time.
When it comes to how long can you be legally separated, there is no set time limit.
You can be legally separated for 3 months or 25 years.
But what if you are using legal separations in Georgia as a basis for divorce?
There is no rule for the amount of time you need to be separated before the divorce.
In Georgia, you just have to have initiated the separation to get a divorce.
The average length of separation before reconciliation is:
80% of spouses who go through legal separation get divorced.
Most of these happen within three years.
Related: Grandparents Rights In Georgia
The chances of reconciliation after separation are 40%.
75% of people report reconciling twice after a legal separation.
The most common reason for reconciliation after separation is children.
So you’re thinking, “I want to leave my husband.”
But you’re trying to figure out how to tell your husband you want a separation.
This is not the time to lay blame or have a heated argument.
When you tell your husband you want a separation, you need to be firm and direct.
But you need to tell him with respect and kindness.
The goal of this conversation is only to tell your husband you want a separation.
Related: Annulment in Georgia
You’re probably wondering what gets included in a marriage separation agreement.
A marriage separation agreement spells out the following terms:
You may have special circumstances surrounding your legal separation in Georgia.
In this case, work with your family lawyer to spell those out.
These can include but are not limited to scenarios for:
Related: Common Law Marriage in Georgia
When you hire an attorney, they will provide you with Georgia legal separation papers.
They will tailor your legal separation papers to match your scenario.
But you can also get generic copies of legal separation papers at your local Superior Court.
If you get these legal separation papers, you will need to fully comprehend Georgia separation laws.
Georgia separation laws can get complex quickly.
Your family lawyer will also file your legal separation papers for you.
If you are doing it yourself, file your legal separation papers at your local Superior Court.
A separation maintenance decree is the court order you will receive from the judge.
A separation maintenance decree determines each spouse’s boundaries and financial responsibilities.
A separation maintenance decree does not dissolve the marriage.
There are some important details about legal separations in Georgia that you should know about.
Related: Child Support Laws Georgia
During separation who pays the bills depends on the separation agreement.
Usually, who pays the bills will get spelled out in the legal separation agreement.
Let’s say that your spouse is going to stay in the marital home while you move out.
In this case, the separation agreement should show that your spouse is responsible.
They should be responsible for the bills that they use.
If they are living in the marital home, this would be things like:
If your name is still on these bills, you may have to have it changed to your spouse’s name.
Otherwise, you run the financial risk of them not paying bills in your name.
This can ruin your credit and cause you to go into collections.
Related: Emergency Custody
Another question we get asked a lot is, “Can I remove my spouse from my car insurance?”
You cannot remove your spouse from your car insurance without their consent.
They are still on the policy.
And a car insurance company cannot remove your spouse without their consent.
If you are legally separated, your spouse will remain on your car insurance.
That is unless they consent to be removed from the car insurance.
What happens to health insurance during separation?
When you get legal separations in Georgia, health insurance will stay the same.
A spouse cannot cancel health insurance during separation.
The only way that they can cancel health insurance during divorce is if both spouses consent to it.
One spouse cannot remove another spouse without their consent.
And a legal separation in Georgia does not dissolve the marriage in the law’s eyes.
So, health insurance during separation is not affected.
If you want the best separation attorneys to represent you, fill out the form below.
We have the experience needed to ensure that your rights are protected.
This means that you don’t wrongfully lose custody of your children.
We also make sure that your separation judgment is equitable and fair.
This means you don’t get raked over the coals financially.
After you fill out the form below, we will set up your free consultation.