2021 Georgia Code
Title 19 - Domestic Relations
Chapter 5 - Divorce
§ 19-5-12. Form of Judgment and Decree

Universal Citation: GA Code § 19-5-12 (2021)
  1. A final judgment of divorce shall be prepared so as to conform to the pleadings and the evidence and may restore a maiden or prior name, if requested. It shall be prepared in form substantially as follows:

    It is considered, ordered, and decreed by the court that the marriage contract heretofore entered into between the parties to this case, from and after this date, be and is set aside and dissolved as fully and effectually as if no such contract had ever been made or entered into.

    Petitioner and Respondent in the future shall be held and considered as separate and distinct individuals altogether unconnected by any nuptial union or civil contract whatsoever and both shall have the right to remarry.

    Decree and order entered this __________ day of ______________, ______.


    Judge, Superior Court"

  2. When applicable, any one or more of the following clauses shall be included in the form of the judgment:

    The court restores to (Petitioner/Respondent) his/her prior or maiden name, to wit:


    The court awards custody of the children of the parties asfollows:


    The court fixes alimony as follows:


  3. In any case which involves the determination of child support, the form of the judgment shall also include all of the information set forth in paragraph (2) of subsection (c) of Code Section 19-6-15. The final judgment shall have attached to it the child support worksheet containing the calculation of the final award of child support and any schedule that was prepared for the purpose of calculating the amount of child support. The final judgment shall specify a sum certain amount of child support to be paid.
  4. When applicable, the court shall also include in the final judgment the ability to use income deduction orders as set forth in Code Sections 19-6-30 and 19-6-32.
Cross references.

- Recording of divorces in vital records, § 31-10-21.

Provision for collection of child support by continuing garnishment for support, § 19-6-30.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 1995, p. 603, § 4, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that it is the intention of Sections 1 and 2 of that Act to encourage judges in divorce cases to require all couples involved in contested divorces to go to mediation to attempt a mutually agreeable settlement.

Ga. L. 2005, p. 224, § 1/HB 221, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "The General Assembly finds and declares that it is important to assess periodically child support guidelines and determine whether existing guidelines continue to be viable and effective or whether they have failed or ceased to accomplish their original policy objectives. The General Assembly further finds that supporting Georgia's children is vitally important to the citizens of Georgia. Therefore, the General Assembly has determined that it is in the best interests of the state and its citizenry to undertake an evaluation of the child support guidelines on a continuing basis. The General Assembly declares that it is important that all of Georgia's children are provided with adequate financial support whether the children's parents are living together or not living together. The General Assembly finds that both parents have a continuing obligation with respect to providing financial and emotional stability for their child or children. It is the hope of the members of the General Assembly that all parents work together to advance the best interest of their children."

Ga. L. 2006, p. 583, § 10(b)/SB 382, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "Sections 1 through 7 of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2007, and shall apply to all pending civil actions on or after January 1, 2007."

Law reviews.

- For article, "Alimony and Child Support: Limit Issuance or Renewal of Licenses for Failure to Comply with Child Support Order," see 13 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 127 (1996). For article on 2005 amendment of this Code section, see 22 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 73 (2005). For article on 2006 amendment of this Code section, see 23 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 103 (2006). For note on the 1995 amendment of this Code section, see 12 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 169 (1995).


Decree fixing status of parties treated as judgment quasi in rem. So far as the adjudication fixes the status of the parties, the judgment concludes both parties and strangers; but, beyond the adjudication of the status, the decree does not conclude strangers. McDonald v. McDonald, 232 Ga. 190, 205 S.E.2d 850 (1974).

Verdict construed as for plaintiff when form fails to specify.

- When both parties to a divorce suit introduced evidence in support of their respective prayers for divorce, and the jury returned a verdict in the form prescribed by law, without stating whether the verdict was for the plaintiff or the defendant, the verdict would be construed to be for the plaintiff. Gardner v. Gardner, 206 Ga. 669, 58 S.E.2d 416 (1950); Fried v. Fried, 208 Ga. 861, 69 S.E.2d 862 (1952); Newman v. Newman, 223 Ga. 278, 154 S.E.2d 581 (1967).

Verdict for plaintiff is not concurrent with one for defendant and decree based upon nonconcurrent verdicts is void, and should be set aside on proper motion. Hyde v. Hyde, 200 Ga. 635, 38 S.E.2d 287 (1946).

Judgment not set aside when language used substantially conforms to section.

- Verdict and judgment which was not couched in the exact language contained in the statute but the language used was substantially the same, the verdict was not subject to being set aside. De Gouras v. De Gouras, 205 Ga. 362, 53 S.E.2d 759 (1949).

Incorporation of custody judgment in divorce decree.

- When custody is decided by juvenile court, it is unnecessary to incorporate custody judgment in divorce decree. Saade v. Saade, 238 Ga. 620, 234 S.E.2d 530 (1977).

Decree should accurately reflect a settlement reached by the parties; therefore, the trial court cannot be allowed to make substantive additions in voluntary agreements made before the court. Robinson v. Robinson, 261 Ga. 330, 404 S.E.2d 435 (1991).

Substantially conforming to agreement.

- Although a spouse alleged on appeal that a motion to set aside that portion of the divorce decree which dealt with the issue of child support, which incorporated the parties' settlement agreement, was properly granted because the decree failed to set forth a specific baseline dollar amount for child support, as required by O.C.G.A. § 19-5-12, the decree contained stated dollar amounts which could be considered baseline payments; hence, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15 as applicable at the time, the trial court properly found that the spouse was liable for paying child support for two children in the range of 23 to 28 percent of the spouse's gross income. Scott v. Scott, 282 Ga. 36, 644 S.E.2d 842 (2007).

Cited in Taylor v. Taylor, 195 Ga. 711, 25 S.E.2d 506 (1943); Ragans v. Ragans, 200 Ga. 890, 39 S.E.2d 162 (1946); Pate v. Citizens & S. Nat'l Bank, 203 Ga. 442, 47 S.E.2d 277 (1948); Huguley v. Huguley, 204 Ga. 692, 51 S.E.2d 445 (1949); Carnegie v. Carnegie, 206 Ga. 77, 55 S.E.2d 583 (1949); McDonald v. Hester, 115 Ga. App. 740, 155 S.E.2d 720 (1967); Shaw v. Shaw, 224 Ga. 747, 164 S.E.2d 723 (1968); Moore v. Moore, 229 Ga. 600, 193 S.E.2d 608 (1972); Loftis v. Loftis, 236 Ga. 637, 225 S.E.2d 685 (1976); Dickson v. Dickson, 238 Ga. 672, 235 S.E.2d 479 (1977); Shell v. Shell, 239 Ga. 566, 238 S.E.2d 99 (1977); Harwell v. Harwell, 248 Ga. 578, 285 S.E.2d 12 (1981); Urquhart v. Urquhart, 272 Ga. 548, 533 S.E.2d 80 (2000).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 24 Am. Jur. 2d, Divorce and Separation, §§ 357, 358, 361, 362.


- 27A C.J.S., Divorce, § 345 et seq.


- Divorce decree as res judicata in respect of community property, 85 A.L.R. 339.

Decree of divorce or annulment by court having jurisdiction as binding upon one not a party, as to facts adjudicated, 87 A.L.R. 203.

Effect of failure of divorce decree to show whether divorce was granted to the husband or to the wife, 133 A.L.R. 556.

Remedy of party against whom preliminary decree for divorce is rendered in event of failure or refusal of prevailing party to request entry of final decree, 151 A.L.R. 849.

Divorce decree as res judicata in independent action involving property settlement agreement, 32 A.L.R.2d 1145.

Power of court to award absolute divorce in favor of party who desires only limited decree, or vice versa, 14 A.L.R.3d 703.

Support provisions of judicial decree or order as limit of parent's liability for expenses of child, 35 A.L.R.5th 757.

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