Divorce in Georgia vs. Legal Separation: What’s Better?

Divorce in Georgia vs. Legal Separation: What’s Better?

Going through a divorce can be an emotionally taxing time for everyone, with each case having its own issues and loopholes to consider when ending a marriage. Besides the mental and emotional toll, a divorce in Georgia can also drain you financially. This is because divorce proceedings in a court come with several associated costs, such as consultation fees, court fees, and attorney fees; not to mention the division of assets and property and deciding on child support, alimony, etc. However, the law also provides some alternatives to divorce that can prove to be far less costly.

One alternative that some jurisdictions around the world provide is that of legal separation over divorce. Under the law, legal separation is possible when spouses chose to live separately, without any chance of co-habitation, while still remaining a part of the children’s lives. In this case, they are considered married under the law but are separated in terms of their personal lives, based on terms and conditions that all parties agree to while keeping the best interest of the child or children at heart.

Separation and Divorce in Georgia:

Under the laws of Georgia, a married couple cannot pursue legal separation as it is not recognized. However, the state offers separate maintenance, which is a type of settlement through which spouses can negotiate and agree on childcare, alimony, and other mutual interests while living separately. Additionally, the only legal issue not covered in separate maintenance is dividing property or financial assets between both parties. All decisions are made while keeping the child’s best interests at heart.

Before you proceed to court, there are three conditions that must be met when seeking separate maintenance:

  • The two parties or spouses must be legally married and produce a marriage certificate in court
  • The two parties must not be living together as co-habitation is not allowed
  • No previous divorce proceedings should be filed in court; This is because separate maintenance is an alternative to divorce itself

Separating from Your Spouse in Georgia:

From a legal perspective, a legal arrangement can also prove to be an efficient and cost-friendly way to separate from your spouse. An experienced attorney can help you decide which type suits you best, and how to go about legalizing it while minimizing the costs associated with a divorce in Georgia. Some of these options include:

  • SAPCR:

A Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) is a lawsuit that in nature, coincides very much with the aspects of a legal separation. SAPCR is a good choice if you do not want to file for divorce but want a court to decide on matters of child custody, child support, and alimony, and may even deal with visitation rights. This lawsuit affects one or both parents’ relationship with the child.

  • Protective Orders:

Protective orders can be filed as a petition without filing for divorce, which is especially useful in cases where no mutual agreement can be reached between spouses. These are used to limit or control physical contact between spouses and children, especially in cases of domestic violence.

  • Temporary Orders:

Usually placed upon spouses and other parties while a divorce decree is being finalized in court, a temporary order can be used as a legal instrument to decide on child support and visitation, alimony, division of assets, etc. to support either of the spouses and their children. Temporary orders are considered legally binding until a divorce decree is finalized, which may take months or even years to complete.

Financial Considerations for Divorce and Separation:

When it comes to finances when pursuing a divorce or legal separation, you need to remember that assets and finances are shared between spouses under the law. Apart from legal fees and court obligations, here are some factors that determine the overall cost:

  • Your Relationship:

When getting a divorce, a major obstacle is reaching an agreement, which can be easier if there is an understanding between spouses. This can also make mediation or legal settlements shorter and cheaper.

  • Assets and Property:

A higher or more complex collection of assets and property can prove to be harder to divide. Equitable distribution of assets that are shared can lead to higher bills if multiple assets are included, such as trust funds, shared property, investment holdings, etc.

  • Debt:

For spouses, debt is sometimes a shared responsibility and can make divorce harder and more expensive. Without a divorce decree, you may be financially liable for your partner’s debt.

Find an Uncontested Divorce Attorney Today:

A divorce, or its many alternatives, requires an understanding of the law as well as dedication to drafting the best agreements for your family, children, etc. At Cheap Uncontested Divorces, our team of experienced and dedicated attorneys provides hassle-free and affordable services for an uncontested divorce in Georgia, making the process faster and easier for you.