Legal separation is a concept that many are aware of due to media coverage of celebrity or other high profile couples seeking legal separation. Generally couples seek legal separation as a precursor to divorce in order to prepare for the divorce process or to ensure that divorce is the correct alternative. However, unlike some other states, Georgia law does not recognize legal separation. In other words, couples may not seek a legal separation in Georgia.
Although there is not legal separation in Georgia, couples in Georgia who wish to remain married by have their separation legally recognized may take advantage of a legal action called Separate Maintenance. See O.C.G.A. §§ 19-6-10. Separate Maintenance is similar to a legal separation in that it may be initiated by either spouse when the parties have separated, but it does not result in the dissolution of the marriage. On the other hand, an action for separate maintenance is also similar to a divorce action in that it results in the resolution of certain issues that would be settled in the event of divorce such as alimony, child support or child custody. See Southward v. Southward, 265 Ga. 671 (1995). If you and your spouse are currently living separately, and would like to have your separation legally recognized while also resolving issues such as alimony and child support, contact your Atlanta Divorce Team.