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What are the residence requirements for filing for divorce?

In Georgia, there are certain requirements regarding the residence of a married couple who wishes to get a divorce. One of these is that at least one of the spouses has to have lived in Georgia for six months prior to the filing of the divorce complaint. Otherwise, the married couple must have held a recent permanent residence, or domicile, in the state.

While some states require the spouses to live separately when they file a complaint of divorce, Georgia does not. However, the spouses have to be legally separated before filing, although they do not have to live in separate residences to achieve this. Legal separation may be achieved by not having sexual relations and not sharing a bedroom while living in the same residence.

When a spouse files for divorce, the individual submits the complaint to the superior court in the other spouse's resident county. If the other spouse recently moved, the complaint is filed with the superior court in the filing spouse's resident county. The other spouse could also consent to the complaint being filed in the filing spouse's resident county, despite where the other spouse lives.

The divorce complaint needs to include information about the spouse's living arrangements at the time of filing, whether the spouses had children during their marriage and the grounds for which the spouse is seeking divorce. Usually, the sheriff serves a copy of the complaint to the other spouse.

Filing documents with the court may cause some spouses to become very nervous for fear of filing the wrong papers in the wrong place or unintentionally submitting inaccurate information. These fears could be quashed by hiring lawyers, who may help the spouses fill out the right paperwork with the right information and ensure that they are filed properly.

Source: Georgia Bar, "Divorce", January 06, 2015

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