Many couples who are considering ending their marriages may consider a legal separation. In Georgia, however, the courts do not grant legal separations. A separation means that spouses no longer engage in marital relations. A couple can, therefore, be “separated” and still live under the same roof. Before a couple can file for divorce, they must state that they are in a state of separation. Although the court does not grant a separation, couples may make a separation agreement.
A separation agreement is a legal contract between spouses. It is a document that outlines the details of separation. Once in place, a separation agreement is a legally binding and enforceable contract as long as it is carried out properly. A separation agreement should provide guidance for how couples are to handle issues such as property division, debt repayment, child custody and visitation, and more. Each couple has unique circumstances, so it is best not to try to use a template for this type of agreement.
An experienced Carrollton family law attorney will review your needs and draft a separation agreement that fits your requirements. You and your spouse both need to agree to the terms and must sign the contract. When couples do not agree, they will need to resolve disputes before they can validate the document. A separation agreement can be helpful when couples intend to divorce.
Requesting Separate Maintenance
Georgia laws do allow you to seek separate maintenance while you are still legally married. Separate maintenance is an option for couples who want the courts to make decisions about marital issues while maintaining a marriage. This is the closest thing to a legal separation that Georgia law provides. Separate maintenance is often a preference among couples who are no longer together but might not want a divorce for religious or personal reasons.
Separate maintenance goes through the same process as a divorce. The court will set a hearing and provide a ruling in the case. If you have a separate maintenance order in place, you can convert it to divorce more easily because you have already agreed to the settlement terms. However, you would still need to file for divorce and go through the process as usual to end the marriage. A separate maintenance order does not allow parties to re-marry because they are still married to each other.
The decision to end your marriage is difficult. It is helpful to talk to an experienced Carrollton divorce attorney to discuss your needs and expectations. At Moffitt Law, LLC, we have the experience and knowledge we need to provide you with help and guidance through the process. We will answer your questions and assist you in gaining the information you need to make important choices about your marriage. If you are considering a divorce or separation, you need to understand the facts and how it will impact your life and the lives of your family. We are here to help. Contact Moffitt Law, LLC, to learn more about the divorce process.