As discussed in the section entitled “The Complaint for Divorce: Jurisdiction,” in order for a Georgia court to grant a decree of divorce or enter a valid judgment in any other domestic relations matter, the court must not only have personal and subject matter jurisdiction, but venue must be proper as well. Venue determines the most appropriate location for the proceedings to occur. In order for venue to be proper, certain requirements of the Georgia constitution must be complied with. Georgia’s constitutional requirements regarding venue in divorce cases are set out in Article 4, Section 2, Paragraph 1, which states:
Divorce cases shall be tried in the county where the defendant resides, if a resident of this state; if the defendant is not a resident of this state, then in the county in which the plaintiff resides, provided that any person who has been a resident of any United States army post or military reservation within the State of Georgia for one year next preceding the filing of the petition may bring an action for divorce in any county adjacent to said United States army post or military reservation.
Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, § II.
Older case law suggested that venue, unlike personal jurisdiction, may not be waived by the defendant. Thus, improper venue would cause any judgment rendered in the case to be void. See Rice v. Rice, 223 Ga. 363 (1967) and Johnson v Johnson, 222 Ga. 433 (1966). However, more recent case law has made clear that under certain circumstances venue may be waived or conferred by consent as well. See Williams v. Williams, 256 Ga. 788 (1990).
There are often several appropriate choices for venue in a case. Therefore, if you are considering filing for divorce, you should confer with a knowledgeable divorce attorney to ensure that you have chosen the correct and most appropriate venue for your case.