Before getting married in Georgia, there are several legal requirements a couple must be sure to meet. Just as there are legal requirements for marriage, there are legal requirements that must be met for a couple to get a divorce.
If you are considering filing for a divorce, it may be helpful to understand the requirements you will need to meet to legally do so. An understanding of these requirements can help you make choices that could impact the outcome of your divorce.
To get a divorce in Georgia, your situation must meet the residency requirement. This means that either you or your spouse must have been a Georgia resident for at least six months before you file the petition for divorce.
The other requirement you must meet involves having a legally valid reason to end your marriage. These legally valid reasons are called grounds, and Georgia recognizes 13 different grounds for divorce.
The 13 Grounds for Divorce in Georgia:
- The marriage is irretrievably broken
- Intermarriage by people 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 (and unknown to the husband)
- Adultery during the marriage
- The conviction of a crime of moral turpitude that results in a prison sentence of two years or longer
- Habitual intoxication
- Cruel treatment
- Incurable mental illness
- Habitual drug addiction
Most of the grounds for divorce are fault-based. Using a fault-based ground means that your spouse caused the need for divorce. However, you must be able to provide proof for whatever fault you choose or your petition for divorce may be denied.
You can also get a divorce without blaming your spouse. To do this, you can use the ground that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Your spouse cannot generally object to a divorce based upon this ground.
Practically, you would probably want to allege both that the marriage is irretrievably broken along with any applicable fault ground or at least reserve the right to amend your petition should that be necessary. Which option you chose depends upon the privacy you want to retain as to the reason for the divorce as your petition is a public document.
There is an absolute minimum amount of time, 30 days, between the time your spouse is served the divorce papers and the time the divorce is finalized. However, only in cases where the parties reach an agreement in advance will that minimum time frame be an issue.
Having a full understanding of the legal requirements for divorce can be helpful to have before you ask your spouse for divorce. Every divorcing couple in Georgia must meet the residency requirement. However, your unique situation should influence the ground you choose, which could have a lasting impact on the outcome of your divorce. Contact Dreyer Law to schedule a free consultation. Dreyer Law can help you with every step of the divorce process.