Divorce is the process for the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court. However, there are circumstances in which couples may decide to live apart but not end the marriage. The reasons for this type of arrangement could vary from the expenses associated with a divorce to the couple not entirely being sure that they are ready to end the marriage. Regardless of the reason, for those couples who desire to remain married but live apart there is a legally recognized action referred to as separate maintenance. A Georgia separate maintenance action is similar to a divorce action in that it resolves issues that would be settled in the event of a divorce. However the marriage is not dissolved.
The main distinction between a Georgia divorce and separate maintenance action is as follows:
- In a separate maintenance action, although the parties are separate, the marriage is not completely dissolved. For example, if an individual or couple is new to a state, they may choose to file for separate maintenance first and then continue with a divorce once they have lived in the state for the required period of time.
Examples of some of the reasons for a separate maintenance action:
- The parties have not lived in Georgia for 6 months
- Uncertainty about divorce. Often times the separate maintenance agreement gives the couple time to decide if the divorce is something they truly want.
- Maintain health insurance
As in the case with divorce actions, separate maintenance actions must be filed with the court. In fact, the same issues that are typically handled in a divorce case are resolved in this action as well, such as: child custody, child support and visitation. Additionally, while the separate maintenance action gives the couple time to decide if the divorce is something they want, it can also be converted into a divorce decree if they decide to move forward.
The Faucette Law Firm has served Douglasville and the metro Atlanta area in the areas of divorce and family law. If you have question about separate maintenance or any other family law related matter contact our firm today for a consultation.