What is Legal Separation Prior to Divorce in Georgia?

Legal separation prior to divorce is a status the parties must reach to file for divorce in Georgia. Many people believe this means the parties must be physically separated. However, this is not the case. Unlike many states, Georgia does not recognize the concept of ‘legal separation.’ Although the term legal separation is often used in Georgia, it means something specific. A couple cannot divorce in Georgia unless they are legally separated with the intention of divorcing. Georgia does not allow a legal separation option as an alternative to divorce like many states.  Couples have three options: ending the marriage via divorce, annulment, which erases the marriage as if it never existed; and a separate maintenance order, which does not end the marriage by law. To be legally separated, a spouse does not have to move out of the marital home. Under Georgia law, it’s sufficient that the parties suspend “marital relations” with the intention to…

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