Georgia Divorce Laws

If you have decided that divorce is the only viable option for your marriage, make sure you understand what it entails in the state of Georgia by learning more about Georgia divorce laws.

Who Can File for Divorce and On What Grounds

The first step in determining if you can file for divorce in Georgia is determining if you meet the residency requirements. Those who file must be a resident of the state for six months prior to filing.

Georgia offers both no-fault and fault divorce. In the case of no-fault, a couple can file for divorce simply on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Fault causes for divorce may include:

  • Intermarriage within one of the prohibited degrees of consanguinity
  • Mental incapacity at the time of marriage
  • Impotency at the time of marriage
  • Fraud, duress, force, or menace used in getting married
  • The wife being pregnant by another man at the time of marriage without the husband’s knowledge
  • Adultery
  • Willful, continued desertion for a period of one year
  • Conviction of a crime resulting in imprisonment for two years or more
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Cruelty, including physical or mental abuse
  • Incurable mental illness
  • Habitual drug use

A Georgia resident who is in the military may meet the residency requirements, even if they are deployed out of the state. Those who are residents of Georgia because they are in the military and are stationed there must live within the state for one year prior to filing for divorce. Determining eligibility can be difficult for military members, so many will use an attorney. If you do, choose one who is experienced in military family law.

Division of Property

One of the tasks the courts face during a Georgia divorce is determining how the assets of the estate will be divided. Georgia is a state with equitable distribution. This means that the property is divided in a fair, not necessarily equal, fashion. The state does not list any factors it will use in determining property distribution. It will use the verdict of a jury to make this determination if the couple cannot come to an agreement on their own.

Child Custody

Divorce is difficult for children to understand and experience. Whenever possible, the parents are encouraged to come up with a parenting plan for the children, but when this is not possible, the courts will try to find one that meets the children’s best interests. Factors considered include:

  • Findings of family violence
  • Parental suitability of each parent
  • The child’s needs
  • The prior role each parent took
  • The child’s wishes. A child who is 14 has the right to make the choice for him or herself, and children age 11 through 14 may be able to make this decision if the courts deem them mature enough to do so.
  • The location of each parent’s home
  • Any agreement the parents have made

If a family violence issue comes to light, the court will consider the child’s safety primarily. They will look at the accused’s history of violence when making any decisions. If a parent has to move to be protected from domestic violence, this is not considered an abandonment of the child.


Some cases may include provisions for spousal support. This is determined on a case by case basis considering the following factors:

  • Whether or not the individual receiving support is guilty of adultery
  • Participation each party had in the marital estate
  • Each party’s future financial resources
  • Age and health of each party
  • Length of the marriage
  • Rehabilitative time necessary to gain employment
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Future potential for earning
  • Net worth of the individuals’ separate properties

In cases involving children, child support is determined based on the Percentage of Income model. In other words, the parent who does not have custody of the children will have to pay a percent of his or her income to the custodial parent based on the number of children involved.