Divorce Law Information from State to State

Just like marriage, divorce is a state-level issue. So Georgia has its own divorce laws that may differ from the laws of other states. One difference is how long it can take. In California, as a California divorce attorney would tell you, it takes at least six months to get a divorce in the Golden State. In Georgia, in theory, the it can be done more quickly. If your divorce is as simple as possible and “uncontested,” that is, both sides come to an agreement on the division of assets and arrangement for custody of all children on their own, then you can be granted a divorce 30 days after filing. Of course, most divorces take much longer. And if you have to go to trial to work out the terms of your settlement, it could take years.

Divorce laws vary from State to State, be sure to know the differences.
Divorce laws vary from State to State, be sure to know the differences.

Another thing to consider is whether you will be pursuing a “fault” or “no-fault” divorce, as Georgia is one of a minority of states to offer both. To file a “no-fault” divorce one spouse must simply assert that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” It does not require the cooperation of the other spouse.

A “fault” divorce can be pursued when one spouse destroyed the marriage, whether by adultery, desertion, imprisonment, cruelty, drug addiction, or mental illness (determined by a court of competent jurisdiction), among other grounds.

Fault divorces are more complicated and come with more caveats, which is why no-fault divorces are far more common. For example, adultery, desertion, cruel treatment or intoxication are invalidated as grounds for divorce if any of the above were “occasioned by the collusion of the parties,” consented to by the complaining party, committed by both parties, or condoned by the complaining party after the fact. With all that muck to wade through, most people simply decide to say the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and leave it at that.

Sometimes, a “fault” divorce is worth pursuing if the complainant wants to make sure that the respondent be ineligible for alimony payments for dissolving the marriage by adultery or desertion. Otherwise alimony is determined by several factors, including the standard of living, the duration of the marriage, the age and condition of both parties, both parties’ financial resources, the time required for one party to get trained or educated to become employable, the contribution of each spouse to the marriage, and anything else anyone can argue to be relevant.

Annulment is another option for Georgians who are in marriages which have produced no children and aren’t expecting any and whose marriage is voidable. A marriage may be voidable for any of the following reasons: 1, The spouses are close relatives; 2, at least one of the spouses was mentally unfit to enter into a contract; 3, at least one spouse was under the age of 16 at the time of the marriage; 4, one of the spouses was forced into the marriage; 5, one of the pouses was “fraudulently induced” to enter the marriage; or 6, bigamy. In Georgia, an annulment is granted only to the innocent party.