Divorce Residency Requirement for Georgia

by Beverly Bird

Meeting a particular state's legal residency requirements gives the court there the authority to make rulings as part of your divorce action. In legal terms, this authority is called jurisdiction. In most states, two sets of residency rules apply to jurisdiction – one for the spouse who is filing and a separate one for the children. Georgia's laws are no different.

Filing Requirements

To file for divorce in Georgia, you can establish residency in one of two ways. Either you or your spouse must have lived there for at least six months before you file, or you must have lived there while you were married and Georgia was the last place you resided together before you split up.

Custody Requirements

If you and your spouse have children, the residency requirement is six months – at least if the court is going to have the power to make custody decisions. Under the terms of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Georgia must be your children's home state before the court can make orders regarding them. This generally means they have lived in Georgia for six months before you filed for divorce, but a few narrow gray areas exist, so if you’re in doubt, speak with a local lawyer.