Either spouse may petition the court for alimony or child support without having a divorce pending.The other party will be notified of such a petition, and the judge can grant such an order, to be enforced in the same manner as a divorce. In Georgia, you may file for separate maintenance if you have a valid marriage and you are living in a state of separation.If the other spouse asserts a counterclaim, then the spouse who started the divorce as 30 days to respond to the counterclaim.
After that paperwork is submitted to the clerk of family court, it has to be served on the other spouse such as by personal delivery by a process server.
Afterward, the spouse who is served with divorce papers has 30 days to answer and to counterclaim.
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Some states don't recognize a legal separation.