What Is Considered Legal Separation in Georgia?

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A legal separation in Georgia, as in many other states, is a legal condition in which spouses live apart but in which there is no formal or judicial end to their marriage. In Georgia, the technical language does not include reference to "legal separation." Instead, according to Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor, it is formally called a "separate maintenance action."

With a legal separation in Georgia, the court recognizes that a couple is living apart from one another, but that, at least for the time being, they wish to remain married. As such, the individuals involved are not allowed to remarry as they would with the finalization of a divorce. According to the Administrative Office of the Courts of Georgia, upon request of a separation, the resulting court order "generally defines the rights and responsibilities of the spouses between each other while living apart."

Though legal separations and divorces are categorically different from one another, many of the same mechanisms apply to each in Georgia. For example, legal investigator Cathy Meyer at About.com states that one or both spouses can petition for privileges such as child support, spousal support or child custody. After reviewing the pertinent facts, the judge in Georgia is capable of instituting any or all of these conditions, similarly to if the couple engaged in divorce proceedings.