Legal Separation in Georgia

Legal Separation in Georgia

Legal Separation vs. Separate Maintenance

Legal Separation, by that name, does not exist in Georgia. The Georgia equivalent is a Separate Maintenance Agreement. Unlike a divorce, it does not end a marriage. Instead, it establishes a framework for spouses to live separately and have prudent legal protections.

Georgia Legal Separation

In Georgia, there is no legal status termed legally separated. To be legally separated in Georgia, you need to go through the process of establishing a Separate Maintenance Agreement. What this does for you, without getting a divorce, is establish assignment or division of property, finances, and address matters affecting minor children.

Similar to a divorce, in drafting your Separate Maintenance Agreement you can request child support, spousal support, terms for custody and visitation, equitable distribution of property, andd more.

Why Get a Separate Maintenance Agreement

If you and your spouse are having marital problems and think you should separate for awhile, a Separate Maintenance Agreement may be right for you. The bottom-line reason is it fosters levels of stability and peace during your separation. Without an Agreement your separation could be never-ending arguments and power struggles over common issues normally addressed in a divorce.

A Separate Maintenance Agreement does not have an expiration date. Theoretically, you could live separately for as long as you choose.

Some people find that there are benefits to remaining legally married, even if living apart.

Benefits of Legal Separation in Georgia

  • Financial Reasons: A separate maintenace agreement allows a couple to maintain financial benefits such as healthcare, tax advantages, etc. Example, one spouse may need employer provided healthcare coverage from their spouse. Legal separation can allow the dependent spouse to continue receiving these benefits.
  • Personal/Religious Beliefs: If you have beliefs that conflict with the idea of divorce, a separation agreement is a manner to live apart without violating your beliefs.
  • Trial Period: A separation period can serve as a trial period for couples who are unsure about whether or not they really want a divorce. Sometimes a cooling-off period saves a marriage.
  • Child Custody and Support: Legal separation can also address matters of child custody, visitation, and support. It provides a stability for co-parenting and financial responsibilities.

An often overlooked benefit is that having a separate maintenance agreement gives you a look at how your post-divorce life may look. Specifically, your Agreement is like a trial-run of a divorce decree. If you decide to move forward with a divorce, you have the benefit of knowing what changes would better serve you.

Requirements for Separation

In Georgia, you may file for separate maintenance if you are legally married yet living in an established state of separation and have no pending action for divorce.

If you need to separate, but not certain a divorce is the right thing to do, you should consult with a legal separation lawyer to exlore your options. When you’re informed you can make better decisions… and protect your future. Schedule a discrete, confidential consultation by calling 678-880-9360 or Contact Us Online.


  • Photo by Paige Thompson, available at Pexels
Jimmy Duncan
James Hobson is a marketing professional and author with 40 years of experience in sales, marketing, print and digital advertising. James is a frequent contributor to law firm and business blogs under the nom de plume Jimmy Duncan.