Albany Divorce Attorney: Do You Really Have to Live Apart Before You File for Divorce?

In many states, there are strict rules about how long you must be separated from your spouse before you file for divorce. Thankfully, as your Albany divorce attorney is well aware, Georgia doesn’t have such a requirement.

This does not mean that Georgia doesn’t have its own rules about filing for divorce.

Most States Have a Mandatory Separation Period Before You File for Divorce

If you were to file for divorce in another state, you may have to endure a 6-month separation period before you file for divorce. Some states have an even longer separation period.

In Georgia, the only such requirement is that you wait thirty (30) days to request a final divorce hearing. In reality, your spouse has thirty (30) days to respond to your petition for divorce. Therefore, the thirty days is nothing more than a formality.

The Rationale Behind These Rules is To Give the Couple a Cooling-Off Period

The reason so many states require a separation period is to make sure you want the divorce to go through. The hope is that, during the separation period, you and your spouse may reconcile.

By the time the separation period has passed, you should know for certain if you still want to get divorced. If the answer is yes, your Albany divorce lawyer can file your complaint for divorce.

Georgia Only Has a 30-Day Waiting Period

As briefly stated above, when you file for divorce in Georgia, you must wait at least thirty (30) days to request a final judgment for divorce. The reason this is spelled out in the court rules is that there are times when the spouse doesn’t respond to the complaint for divorce.

If your spouse ignores your complaint for divorce, your Albany divorce attorney can request a default judgment for divorce. Typically, the judge will grant your request. It is important to know, however, that there’s always the chance your spouse will come back later and ask the judge to vacate the final judgment for divorce.

Your Albany Divorce Attorney Must Wait 30 Days to Request a Final Divorce

As alluded to earlier, the fact that you’re required to wait thirty (30) days doesn’t mean all that much. Since your spouse has thirty (30) days to respond to your divorce filing, you would have to wait at least thirty days anyway.

In fact, in many of the cases our Albany divorce lawyers handle, it takes months or even years before we can request a final judgment for divorce. In high-end, complicated divorce cases, it can take this long to work out the property settlement agreement. If you’re interested in learning more about what happens if your spouse is hiding assets during your divorce, view this page.

It can also take a long time to work out a custody agreement that both sides are happy with.

A woman signing papers from an Albany divorce lawyer

It’s Rare That Your Case Would Move This Quickly Anyway

In all the years our Albany divorce attorneys have been practicing, it is rare that a divorce case would be finalized in anywhere close to thirty (30) days. Usually, our clients end up complaining that it takes so long for their divorce to become final.

Part of the reason it takes this long is that your Albany divorce attorney may spend months negotiating the terms of your divorce.

Another reason for the delay is that the courts often have a backlog in their dockets. It can take more than a year for your case to go before a judge.

There Is a Residency Requirement That You Must Meet

While there isn’t a mandatory separation period in Georgia, there is a residency requirement. If you wish to file for divorce in Georgia, you must show that you’ve been a resident for at least six (6) months.

Your Albany divorce lawyer must file your divorce complaint in the county where your spouse resides. If they don’t live in-state, you can file it in your own county of residence. If neither of you have lived in Georgia for at least six months, you’ll have two options.

You can either wait until you do meet the six months residency requirement. Or you can choose to get divorced out-of-state.

If there’s another state where one or both of you lived for more than the required period, it may be your best option.

What If You’ve Lived in Georgia for Less Than 6 Months?

If neither you nor your spouse live in Georgia, it wouldn’t make sense to hire an Albany divorce lawyer. However, if you’ve lived in-state for three or four months, you can simply wait the other few months until you meet the residency requirement.

If you meet with your Albany divorce attorney now, they can spend the next two or three months preparing your case. They just won’t be able to file until you hit the six-month mark.

You and Your Spouse Must Also Refrain From Engaging in Marital Relations

There is another unique rule in Georgia when it comes to divorce. You and your spouse have to refrain from engaging in marital relations during the thirty-day waiting period.

Depending on which grounds you have cited for divorce, this may be simple. However, as a general rule, you should follow the suggestions outlined below:

  • You and your spouse should not engage in intimate relations
  • You should not hold yourselves out as a married couple to the world
  • You shouldn’t enter into any contracts as husband and wife

One would imagine it wouldn’t be difficult to meet this requirement. Most people who are getting divorced are not tempted to engage in marital relations with their soon-to-be ex-spouse.

At a Minimum, Abstain From Marital Relations During the 30-Day Waiting Period

If you aren’t sure how long you should abide by the marital relations rule, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Our Albany divorce attorneys recommend that you hold off on engaging in marital relations for at least the 30-day waiting period.

If you can stand to do this for a longer period, do it. It will make it easier for your attorney to prove that you honored the abstention rule.

Your Albany Divorce Attorney Is Very Familiar With the Divorce Laws in Georgia

If you’re considering filing for divorce, it’s a good idea to talk to an Albany divorce attorney. There are certain rules that you must follow when you file for divorce. If you miss any of these rules, your complaint for divorce could be dismissed.

If your case is dismissed, you’ll have to refile and start all over again. This means you’ll have to pay filing fees again. Rather than let this happen, you should talk to an experienced Albany divorce lawyer.

Our lawyers have decades of combined experience handling divorce cases. They understand how important it is to follow the court rules precisely. They are also familiar with the practical requirements that come with filing for divorce.

Before you file any papers, contact our office and schedule a time to come in for your initial appointment. Our skilled Albany divorce attorneys can make the divorce process a lot less stressful.

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