Divorce Laws in Cobb County, Georgia

By Beverly Bird

State legislatures establish their own divorce laws, and the counties within the state administer those laws. Courts in Cobb County are obligated to follow the Georgia code, but the county has been somewhat progressive about implementing state laws, especially with regard to children. The state is willing to update its legislation when necessary as well.

State legislatures establish their own divorce laws, and the counties within the state administer those laws. Courts in Cobb County are obligated to follow the Georgia code, but the county has been somewhat progressive about implementing state laws, especially with regard to children. The state is willing to update its legislation when necessary as well.

Residency Requirements

If you live in Cobb County, you can file your petition for divorce there. If you’ve moved out of the state, you can still file there if your spouse remains a resident. Either you or your spouse must have lived in the state of Georgia for at least six months before you file.

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Recognized Grounds for Divorce

Like all states, Georgia recognizes no-fault divorce. The no-fault ground is irreconcilable differences, and if you use this, your spouse can’t contest it. The fact that you think the marriage is over is enough for the court, but Georgia law imposes a 30-day waiting period for this ground. You can’t be divorced until one month has passed since the date you served your spouse with your divorce papers. Georgia also offers 13 fault grounds, including desertion, adultery, impotency, cruelty and habitual drinking or drug addiction. If you file on a fault ground, you must prove to the court that your spouse is guilty of that misconduct.

Parenting Plans

Cobb County was the first in Georgia to require spouses to attend a parenting class before the court will grant them a divorce. Since 2008, if you have children, Georgia will not give you a divorce unless you have a court-approved parenting plan. If your child is older than 14, Georgia law allows him to decide who he wants to live with, unless the parent he chooses is unfit. If your child is between the ages of 11 and 14, the court will consider his wishes when making custody decisions for you, if you can't come up with a parenting plan on your own.

Child Support

The Georgia legislature updated its child support laws in 2007. Under the income shares model in place since that time, the court calculates child support by first adding parents’ incomes together, then setting aside a percentage of the total for the children’s needs. The percentage is determined by Georgia’s Child Support Obligation Table, which is based on the number of children who need support and the total income available to both parents. Parents contribute to the Obligation Table figure based on the percentage they contribute to their joint income. If one parent earns 70 percent of the joint income, he will contribute 70 percent to the Obligation Table figure. Georgia courts will not order either parent to pay for post-secondary education costs.

Spousal Support

Georgia law recognizes alimony, but the law does not allow Cobb County judges to award it to a spouse who is guilty of either adultery or desertion. The state reserves the right to order alimony as either a one-time lump sum payment, or in monthly increments. It may be either temporary or permanent, depending on the length of the marriage and other factors, such as the earning ability of the spouse who needs alimony and the reasonable ability of the other spouse to pay it.

Property Division

Georgia’s divorce code contains no specific formula or rules for dividing property. It’s an equitable distribution state, so Cobb County judges have a great deal of discretion when apportioning property between divorcing spouses. They base it on the particular factors involved in each individual divorce.

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References

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Statutes and Guidelines for Iowa Divorce Laws

Divorce is complicated enough, so when you consider that laws change somewhat from state to state, it can be hard to get a clear picture of what you can expect from the process. Iowa made some critical changes to its statutes in 2009, so this further complicates the issue -- some old guidelines no longer apply. However, the state’s legislative code simplifies divorce in other ways.

Child Support Laws for Married Couples in the State of Georgia

Georgia parents are legally obligated to contribute financially to their child’s care, and married parents typically contribute without a court order. However, when parents divorce, courts generally enter divorce decrees that order one parent to pay a specific amount of child support to the other parent so children of the marriage continue to be provided for.

Types of Custody of Children in Georgia

When you file for divorce in Georgia, the court decides a number of issues before granting your decree, including custody. This means the court will determine who your child will live with and whether you or your spouse will have the right to make decisions concerning her welfare. The court bases its decision on what is in the best interests of your child. If you don't want to deal with the uncertainty that comes with letting the court decide such important matters for you, Georgia allows you and your spouse to devise your own parenting plan.

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