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Georgia Divorce Law

When filing for a divorce in Georgia, you should be aware of the various laws about details like property distribution, child custody, alimony, etc. Knowing how Georgia’s divorce laws work can mean the difference between getting what you want and getting whatever the court decides to award you with.

LawInfo’s Georgia Divorce Law articles can help relieve some of the stress of the process. You’ll learn about the state’s divorce prerequisites, how property is divided and many other divorce topics. Whether you need assistance in Savannah, Augusta or Atlanta, LawInfo can help connect you with a Georgia divorce attorney.

Equitable Distribution in Georgia

Georgia is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that when you get divorced, you may not get half of the assets and debts from the marriage. The point of equitable distribution is a fair division of marital property based on each spouse’s needs. This means that the distribution may be split evenly for some cases, but most of the time it’s an uneven but fair division.

The court determines the distribution of property by weighing certain factors that affect each spouse’s eligibility for a larger share of the distribution. These factors typically include:

  • How long your marriage lasted.
  • Each party’s health and financial circumstances.
  • Any marital misconduct.
  • The value of the separate property each spouse retains.

Only marital property will be included in a property distribution order. This includes all assets and debts acquired by either party during the marriage except for gifts to individual spouses and other separate property. Separate property isn’t usually included in the distribution as it’s solely owned by each individual. This includes assets and debts acquired before the marriage, inheritances, insurance benefits and personal injury compensation.

Divorce Grounds in Georgia

When one spouse petitions for divorce in Georgia, they are required to prove one of 13 grounds as the reason for the marriage’s failure. (See Georgia Code § 19-5-3.) Those grounds include:

  • An irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. (Also known as the “no-fault” divorce ground.)
  • Both spouses are related to one another within prohibited degrees of familial relation.
  • One spouse was mentally incapacitated enough to provide consent to marriage.
  • One spouse was impotent at the time of the marriage.
  • One spouse is habitually intoxicated.
  • One or both spouses committed adultery.
  • One spouse consented to the marriage under force, duress or false impression from the other spouse through fraud.
  • One spouse willfully deserted the other continuously for one or more years.
  • The wife became pregnant from an adulterous relationship without the husband’s knowledge.
  • One spouse was sentenced to two or more years of imprisonment.
  • One spouse is expertly determined to be mentally ill and has been confined in an institution for two or more years with no reasonable prospect of recovery.
  • One spouse is habitually addicted to drugs.
  • One spouse cruelly abused the other—either physically or mentally—until the victim’s life or health is threatened.

Georgia Divorce Residency Requirement

To be granted a divorce in Georgia, you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for six months or longer prior to filing the divorce complaint. If you’re a nonresident filing for divorce in Georgia, your spouse must have been a Georgia resident for six months or longer. If either party was a member of the U.S. armed forces in Georgia, you must have resided in the state for one or more years before you’re allowed to file for divorce in a county adjacent to the location of your installation. (See Georgia Code § 19-5-2.)

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