It is a common misconception that you have to file for divorce in the same state in which you were married. Typically, most divorce cases are filed in the county in which the filing spouse resides, but residency requirements may make filing the divorce a bit tricky if you have not resided in the state for very long. If you are the filing spouse, you should make sure that you meet Georgia residency requirements to avoid dismissal or denial of your Georgia divorce case.

What Residency Standards Apply in Georgia

As we mentioned above, in order for a Georgia Superior Court to hear a divorce case, the residency standards (Georgia code § 19-5-5) must be met. (Only Georgia Superior Courts can grant divorces in the state of Georgia.) If the residency standards are not met, the court will most likely deny or dismiss your divorce petition because the court does not have the jurisdictional right to proceed with the divorce. The Georgia residency requirements for divorce are:

  • At least one of the parties in the divorce must have been a bona fide resident of the state of Georgia for a minimum of six months before filing for divorce.
  • If you are in the military, you can file a divorce petition in any county in Georgia that surrounds the military base.

If you are not a current resident of Georgia, but your spouse has been a Georgia resident for at least six months, you can file a divorce petition in the county in which your spouse lives. Do not be afraid to contact an attorney with any questions you may have to ensure that you are making the right decisions in order to obtain a divorce in the future.

What if I Do Not Meet Georgia Residency Requirements for Divorce?

If you do not meet the strict six-month residency requirement in Georgia, it does not mean that you cannot file for divorce. Some options that may apply to your situation include:

  • Taking the time to establish residency in Georgia while you focus on saving money for a divorce and obtaining necessary paperwork.
  • If your spouse meets the residency requirements in Georgia, you could ask him or her to file for the divorce.
  • File for the divorce in the state in which you do meet residency requirements. Since every state has its own unique laws pertaining to divorce and residency, you should check with the state in which you currently reside.

Remember that if your spouse meets the residency requirements for Georgia, you can file the petition for divorce in the county in which your spouse resides. Only one spouse needs to meet the residency requirement for the divorce petition to be valid.

Do You Need Legal Advice

If you are contemplating filing for divorce and you have questions pertaining to the residency requirements in Georgia, the experienced  family law attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are prepared to help you. We will ensure that your Georgia residency is properly pled and proven to keep your divorce petition on track. Contact us today at 678-736-7700 today for your free case evaluation.