How To Divorce A Missing Or Abandoned Spouse In Georgia
The State of Georgia provides a number of legal options for spouses filing for divorce. One ground for divorce is for the “willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year.” The cases encompass situations involving a missing spouse. This is aimed at ensuring that individuals can still have the divorce option regardless of whether the other spouse is available or not. This can be achieved through getting a divorce by publication, which enables one spouse to file a Petition for Divorce when an estranged partner abandoned the household. The period that the parties were living separate and apart while a divorce suit is pending can also be used for purposes of computing the one year period of desertion under the provision authorizing a court to grant a divorce for that reason.
There are 12 other grounds for divorce in Georgia, including the “no-fault ground.” The “no-fault ground” is the ground under which a party asserts that the marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no hope for reconciliation. A party may obtain a divorce in Georgia without having a “fault” ground. Also, in Georgia, unlike in many states, there is no long period of separation required prior to filing for divorce. A Divorce Attorney in Cobb County can provide assistance with filing petitions and handling divorces.
Fault and No-Fault Grounds for Divorce
The state recognizes up to 13 grounds for divorce and the no-fault ground eliminates the need for proving any wrongdoing by the other spouse. The couple must meet certain conditions as stipulated by law. These include satisfying mandatory residency requirements and must be separated. Separation is defined as not having any sexual relationship or sharing a room. This means a couple can still live under the same roof.
A no-fault grounds gives one spouse the right to state conviction that the marriage is over based on abandonment. In the event that one party forces the other to pack and leave the family home through abusive behavior, the victim can cite constructive desertion as a valid reason for divorce. On the other hand, the court can take into account fault when it comes to issues surrounding property division, child custody, and support.
Filing for Divorce
To become eligible for filing for divorce, the law requires that individual must reside in the State of Georgia for not less than six consecutive months. When a spouse has resided in the State of Georgia for at least six consecutive months, the State of Georgia will have jurisdiction over the divorce. The parties will need to be separated when the case is filed. particularly if the ground for divorce is the no-fault ground. However, separation simply means that the parties are not having marital relations. Parties may be separated and living in the same household, and even sleeping in the same bed. If one spouse seeks to get a divorce and meets the residency requirements, the next step involves filing a Petition for Divorce. Individuals are required to specify reasons for filing and any fault grounds must be clearly described.
The petition and summons are served upon the other party who has 30 days to respond after being served. Failure to respond within the specified period may result in a divorce being granted without any input from the spouse who failed to respond.
If the spouse is not able to be located, the Court may, upon proper motion, allow the divorce to proceed by publication. This means that the Court would allow the information about the divorce to be published a specified number of times in the newspaper. Such publication in the newspaper would then be considered a proper notice to the spouse who is missing. Prior to being allowed to proceed with a divorce by publication, the spouse seeking the divorce must make a diligent search to try and locate the missing spouse. The search would include contacting known friends and family of the missing partner.
If the other partner is no longer a resident of Georgia, the petition may be able to be filed in Georgia under certain circumstances. A knowledgeable Marietta divorce attorney should be consulted to determine if the case may proceed in Georgia.
In a divorce by publication, the Court may address certain issues such as division of property located in the State of Georgia, custody of minor children, and the granting of the divorce. However, other issues such as those which involve ordering the missing spouse to pay any money, including child support or alimony, are not able to be ordered in a divorce by publication. Such issues may be able to be addressed by other means. Consult with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help with the pursuit of such matters.
Contact a Marietta Family Law Attorney
For solid and experienced representation from a Cobb County divorce attorney, call our law firm at 770-795-9596 or contact us online to set up your 30-minute initial consultation. For our clients’ convenience, we accept all major credit cards.