If you find yourself looking to file for divorce in Georgia, properly preparing can help you navigate through the process more smoothly. It is beneficial to understand the legalities in the state regarding divorce in Georgia to avoid unnecessary surprises later on. 

Eligibility For Divorce in Georgia 

Each state has its own requirements for a couple to be eligible to file for divorce in Georgia. If you do not meet the qualifications in one state, there may be an alternative location where your case could proceed. Typically, this involves checking two separate boxes- meeting residential eligibility in the state and meeting eligibility for the state’s grounds. 

To qualify in Georgia, you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for a minimum of six months before you file for divorce in Georgia. The alternative eligibility would be if you had lived in a United States military facility for at least twelve months before you file for divorce in Georgia. 

Grounds For Georgia Divorce

The “grounds” for divorce generally means that there is a legally valid reason to end the marriage. These reasons vary from state to state but Georgia allows for both fault and no-fault options. Here are the grounds in Georgia: 

  • Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of kinship
  • Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage
  • Impotency at the time of the marriage
  • Force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage
  • Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the husband
  • Adultery in either party after marriage
  • Willful and continued desertion by either party for one year
  • The conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude and sentenced to confinement for more than one year, or hard labor
  • Habitual intoxication or addiction to drugs or narcotic substances
  • Cruel treatment toward either party of the marriage or the other’s child, including an attempt to cause bodily harm
  • Incurable mental illness
  • Living separately under a decree of separate maintenance or a written separation agreement for at least one year
  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, which means that the marriage is broken beyond repair and there is no chance of reconciliation.

Generally, it is easier to file for divorce in Georgia “no-fault” to avoid unnecessary legal battles. In some cases, a fault-based ground can be beneficial when you file for divorce in Georgia. For example, if one party committed adultery, a judge might order them to not receive alimony. Regardless of your intended grounds, consulting with an experienced family law attorney early on in the process can help increase efficiency and decrease headaches and overall legal costs. 

Preparing Documents 

Before you file for divorce in Georgia, there are a variety of documents that are beneficial for you to have while preparing to file for divorce in Georgia. In some cases, it can be easier to compile documents and information before the other party is aware you’re hoping to separate. The following documents serve as the foundation for understanding your financial situation, property ownership, and other critical aspects that will influence the settlement.

Start by collecting financial records, including bank statements, investment account statements, retirement account statements, and any documentation related to income sources such as pay stubs or business profit and loss statements. These documents provide insight into your financial standing and help determine the equitable distribution of assets and liabilities.

Additionally, gather documentation related to real estate properties, such as property deeds, mortgage statements, and appraisals. Property division is a significant aspect of many legal matters, and having clear documentation of property ownership and valuations is essential for a fair settlement.

Tax returns for the past several years are also crucial. They provide a comprehensive overview of your income, deductions, and potential tax liabilities, which can significantly impact financial negotiations during the process. 

Furthermore, any relevant legal documents, such as prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, or documentation of previous legal proceedings, should be included in your collection. These documents may contain provisions or agreements that affect the final settlement or legal rights of the parties involved.

Planning For What To Expect in Your Georgia Divorce

If your marriage was quick without children or property involved, this stage of the preparation process should be less taxing. However, if your marriage lasted many years, including having children or buying property, there are more matters to determine if the marriage ends. 

House and Property Division in Georgia

One of the most significant concerns while preparing to file for divorce in Georgia is the fate of the marital home and other properties. In Georgia, equitable distribution laws govern property division, which means assets are divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Factors such as the contributions of each spouse, the behavior of each spouse during the divorce process, future financial needs of each spouse, and any evidence of misconduct resulting in the waste of assets by either spouse. It’s essential to gather documentation of all properties, including deeds, mortgage statements, and appraisals, to facilitate a fair division.

Georgia Child Custody

In Georgia, the court prioritizes the best interests of the child when determining custody. Factors such as parental fitness, stability, and the child’s preferences (if they are of sufficient age) are taken into account. Parents may opt for joint custody or sole custody arrangements, depending on the circumstances. Researching the types of custody and preparing a parenting plan can help streamline the process and advocate for the well-being of your children.

Child Support

Child support is another critical consideration in family law cases involving children. Georgia utilizes child support guidelines that consider factors such as parental income, child-rearing expenses, and healthcare needs. Calculating child support obligations accurately is crucial for ensuring the financial support of the children after the split. Consulting with a family law attorney can help you understand how child support will impact your case. 

Alimony

Alimony, also known as spousal support, may be awarded in Georgia divorces to provide financial assistance to a dependent spouse. Factors such as the length of the marriage, financial needs, and earning capacities of each spouse are considered when determining permanent spousal support or alimony awards. Exploring the types of alimony available, such as temporary or permanent, can help you prepare for the financial adjustments you’ll need to make after the divorce.

Next Steps To File For Divorce in Georgia 

Once you determine that you are eligible and have grounds for a divorce in Georgia, proceed to prepare the appropriate documents and consider how entwined both parties are. This is often the phase where it is helpful to start consulting with a divorce and family law attorney so you can navigate the process with greater confidence and clarity. 

The experienced legal team at Vayman & Teitelbaum, P.C. has the tools to help you through your divorce and related needs in Georgia.

Contact us by email or call us at 678-736-7700 to get started today!