Once you have decided to file for divorce, the first thing you must determine is where to file. Each state has its own divorce laws governing who can file there, and the alimony, child support, child custody and property division laws vary from state to state. A person cannot just choose the state that is most beneficial to his/her case, however. Rather, a person must have a sufficient connection to that state to be able to avail himself/herself of its laws.
In Georgia, for example, a person must have been a bona fide resident of the state for six months before filing the Petition for Divorce. O.C.G.A. § 19-5-2. However, a nonresident of Georgia may file a Petition for Divorce in this state against a person who has been a resident of the state and of the county in which the action is brought for six months prior to filing the Petition. Id. Thus, if the Husband lives in Florida but the Wife has lived in Georgia for a year, the Husband may file the Petition for Divorce in the Georgia county in which the wife lives.
Once you determine that Georgia is the proper state for your divorce action, you must determine the proper county. Generally, if the spouse/respondent is a resident of Georgia, the filing party must file the Petition for Divorce in the county in which the respondent resides. Id. This remains true even if the filing spouse is also a resident of Georgia. For example, if the filing party lives in Fulton county and the respondent lives in Cobb county, the divorce must be filed in Cobb county. The one exception to this rule is that a Petition for Divorce may be filed in the county where the filing party lives IF the respondent has moved from that same county within six months from the date of filing the Petition AND that county was the site of the marital home when the parties separated.