Separation and Divorce in Georgia

Posted by Diane Cherry, Managing Partner | Dec 05, 2022 | 0 Comments

Tossing in the Rings

How long have you been separated and why does it matter?

In Georgia, you have to be separated to be divorced.  This is why every Georgia Divorce Complaint contains a paragraph that says the spouses are living in a bona fide state of separation.  Separation means that you are no longer intimate with one another. If you are intimate, the Court can and should dismiss the Divorce Complaint and force you to refile after you stop being intimate.

How is this different from legal separation? 

Living in a bona fide state of separation is very different form "legal separation." Very rarely, a couple will enter into a Legal Separation Agreement but remain legally married.  A Legal separation involves a division of all of marital assets and marital rights and responsibilities.  It is normally done for one of two reasons following a long term marriage in which the parties continue to have respect and affection for one another but no longer wish to be together.  Either one party is seriously disabled and unable to procure insurance except as the legal spouse of the other party or in order to continue other retirement benefits as the legal spouse of the other party. 

Legal separation requires the consent of both spouses.  If either spouse wants a divorce rather than a legal separation, the court will grant it.  The court cannot require a party consent to legal separation.   In almost all cases, if one spouse files for a Legal Separation, the other spouse Counterclaims and asks for a Divorce.

If you think you need a Legal Separation due to extenuating circumstances, talk to your spouse and try to reach an agreement before you file.

About the Author

Diane Cherry, Managing Partner

I am an Atlanta area Family Law Attorney who has represented hundreds of clients in federal and state courts and administrative hearing cases throughout the State of Georgia.


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