Getting a Legal Separation in Georgia

In Georgia, married couples that wish to separate, but do not wish to divorce may file a motion for separate maintenance.   In other jurisdictions, this action is commonly referred to as a legal separation.    It’s a fairly common process and is similar to a divorce in many ways.  Issues that may be decided in an action for separate maintenance include property division, child custody, child support, parenting time and even spousal support.

Why Separation v. Divorce

You may ask, “What’s the purpose of a legal separation,” particularly if Georgia courts have the same power to divide assets and debts in a separate maintenance as they do in divorce.    Although your reasons may be different; couples have countless reasons to enter into a separate maintenance.  The most common reasons have to do with religious beliefs, preservation of medical or social security benefits, and uncertainty about a final termination of the marriage.

It’s becoming more common for married couples to enter an informal agreement to separate rather than a court ordered separation.  After all, it’s plausible to think an informal arrangement will best entertain a “test-run” separation rather than involving the court system.  This argument is wrong for many reasons; the main reason for entering a legal separation rather than an informal agreement is to ensure the rights and responsibilities of the parties during the period of separation.  If one party agrees to maintain the house or one party agrees to pay support for the other, the court order will enforce the rights and obligations under the agreement.

Regardless of your personal preferences, we can offer the support and services you need.  We can anticipate the issues which may arise during the course of a separate maintenance, and in the event you decide to file for a divorce later; we can initiate divorce proceedings on your behalf.  Our goal in serving our clients is to ensure we listen to your concerns and based on your specific facts,  pursue the best course of action to meet your long-term goals.

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