Pros and Cons of Legal Separations

While legal separation is not specifically recognized in the state of Georgia, a separate maintenance action may be what you are looking for, as this is Georgia’s closest equivalent. A separate maintenance action allows the couple to remain married, erases any responsibility that each spouse has for the other, and also provides important legal decisions regarding the following:

  • Child support;
  • Child custody and visitation;
  • Alimony;
  • Marital property division, including debts;
  • Possible settlement.

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How Much Does it Cost to File for Legal Separation?

There are many benefits to a separate maintenance action over divorce. The cost of a separate maintenance action will depend on whether or not the parties agree to the terms, just like a divorce action.  However, in a divorce action, it is likely that the parties will be more contentious and that will likely cause the costs to escalate. Whether you are low-, middle-, or high-income, there are many other benefits of filing for a separate maintenance action, including:

  • Maintaining benefits of marriage: Marriage comes with a number of financial benefits, such as tax savings, medical coverage under a spouse’s employee insurance plan, and more.
  • You have not been a state resident for very long: Under Georgia code 19-5-2, the residency requirement for filing for divorce is six months. If you have not been a resident for at least six months, you may not divorce. However, no residency minimum time limit is set for separate maintenance agreements.
  • Religious or cultural beliefs: Many people cannot get a divorce without violating their religious or cultural beliefs, or harming their relationship with their community or family.