But this does not mean that you or your spouse has to move out of the marital residence. Parties can be legally separated while living in the same household.
And there is no specific time period required, although at least 30 days is recommended. So, if you live in Georgia, you are legally separated if either spouse moves out, or moves into another bedroom, with the intention to file divorce. In Blasingame v.
BlasingameGa. The suspended conjugal rights include the company, the cooperation, assistance, and intimacy of the other spouse in every conjugal way It is not essential that the husband or wife should leave the marital homeplace; separation can occur when one spouse moves into another room with the intent and purpose of suspending conjugal rights. In order to divorce, the separation must be maintained.
However, the effect of cohabitation is to nullify only future obligations for permanent alimony and does not require the spouse to return any property or payment already received. And the specific date of the separation can be important.
So, it is best that a divorcing spouse sets a date that is easily verified. For example, it can be January 1st, or the date one spouse moves out, or it can be the day after a memorable fight or incident prompting separate bedrooms.
As a general rule, after separation, evidence of support payments is inadmissible. See, McEachern v.
McEachernGa. See, Horton v. HortonGa. If a spouse is seeking to reduce historic support, the specific date of separation is especially important. In this situation, the obligated spouse will usually want to push back the date of separation as much as possible to exclude evidence of voluntary payments.
Support payments made prior to legal separation are admissible, and the actual date of separation, if disputed, is a question of fact. See, Groover v. GrooverGa. So, again, it is best to pick a clear date and stick to it. As this date can impact support payments, you will want to consult Atlanta Divorce Attorney Russell Hippe before making this decision.
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