Separate Maintenance


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Separate Maintenance Georgia

Separate Maintenance is the legal option for persons who want to live separately without rushing into filing for divorce.

Legal Separation in Georgia

In Georgia, what is commonly referred to as "legal separation" is known as "separate maintenance.". The purpose of separate maintenance is to allow a legally married couple to live separately without pursuing a divorce. Hiring a divorce lawyer to create and file a Separate Maintenance Agreement is how to formally enact a marital separation in Georgia.

In Georgia, a legal separation is not required before filing for divorce. If you believe that your marriage is hopeless, then your should explore options for filing divorce in Georgia.

Benefits of Legal Separation in Georgia

Perhaps the greatest benefit of legal separation is the potential to save a marriage or preserve marital benefits. A separation allows a couple the opportunity for space to work through issues without the day-to-day friction when living together. Additional benefits of a separate maintenance agreement are:

  • No interference with insurance coverage, financial benefits, ownership of titled property
  • Formally identify who gets possession/use of certain property
  • Determine who gets to live in the existing marital home
  • Formally set the terms for child custody, visitation, and support
  • Address special needs such as spousal support, insurance coverage, etc.
  • Assign the responsibility of paying common debt (credit cards, etc.)

Separating without a court-approved Separate Maintenance Agreement sets the stage for ongoing, and potentially, increased conflict over living arrangements, parenting issues, finances, access to property, and more.

How Does Separate Maintenance Work?

A Separate Maintenance Agreement effectively can and should cover nearly the same matters addressed in a divorce. The key difference is that, although living apart, you remain legally married.

To file for separate maintenance, you and your spouse must be in a true state of separation. Primarily, "marital separation" means that you and your spouse are not having sexual relations. Resuming sexual relations during a state of "separate maintenance" can complicate claims to such status.

Filing for separate maintenance does require some of the same information as filing for divorce. Specifically, this includes stating the Grounds for requesting separation.

When your petition for separation has been approved by the court, you will know the exact terms of your (then) legal rights, privileges, and reponsibilities. Failure to abide by the terms could be addressed by either spouse filing a motion for contempt.

Legal Separation vs. Divorce in Georgia

In short, a divorce terminates a marriage whereas a legal separation does not. Both forms of separating from your spouse involve a legal process to address changes in your relationship. Anyone living as legally separated is still legally married.

Can I date while separated? The short answer is dating (having sexual relations) while still married is legally viewed as adultery. If you move forward into a divorce, and adultery can be proven, it can adversely affect the outcome of your divorce.

Need more information or ready to file for separate maintenance? Simply call us at 770-956-1400 to arrange a no-pressure FREE CONSULTATION. In your consultation you can get answers to your questions, learn possible outcomes, and get started.