2021 Georgia Code
Title 19 - Domestic Relations
Chapter 5 - Divorce
§ 19-5-5. Petition; Contents and Verification; Demand for Detailed Statement

Universal Citation: GA Code § 19-5-5 (2021)
  1. The action for divorce shall be brought by written petition and process, the petition being verified by the petitioner.
  2. The petition shall show:
    1. The residence or last known address of the respondent;
    2. That the applicant meets the residence requirements for bringing an action for divorce or that the applicant is bringing a counterclaim and is not required to meet the residence requirements;
    3. The date of the marriage and the date of the separation;
    4. Whether or not there are any minor children of the parties and the name and age of each minor child;
    5. The statutory ground upon which a divorce is sought; and
    6. Where alimony or support or division of property is involved, the property and earnings of the parties, if such is known.
  3. The respondent, at any time before trial, may file with the court a written demand for a detailed statement of the facts on which the grounds in the petition are predicated. The respondent shall cause a copy of the demand to be served upon the petitioner or upon the petitioner's counsel of record and the facts demanded shall be added to the petition in the form of an amendment thereto.

(Laws 1802, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 223; Code 1863, § 1675; Code 1868, § 1716; Code 1873, § 1717; Code 1882, § 1717; Civil Code 1895, § 2432; Civil Code 1910, § 2951; Code 1933, § 30-105; Ga. L. 1946, p. 90, § 4; Ga. L. 1967, p. 761, § 1.)

Cross references.

- Time of trial in divorce cases involving service by publication, § 9-11-40.

Law reviews.

- For article surveying developments in Georgia domestic relations law from mid-1980 through mid-1981, see 33 Mercer L. Rev. 109 (1981). For survey article on wills, trusts, and administration of estates, see 34 Mercer L. Rev. 323 (1982). For note, "The Significance of Stokes v. Stokes: An Examination of Property Rights Upon Divorce in Georgia," see 16 Ga. L. Rev. 695 (1982).


Petition must show property.

- Law provided that if division of property was involved, petition shall show property. Davis v. Davis, 216 Ga. 305, 116 S.E.2d 219 (1960).

It is not necessary to render schedule of property when alimony or support is not sought. Davis v. Davis, 216 Ga. 305, 116 S.E.2d 219 (1960).

Law required that petition for divorce be verified, but did not require that the answer be verified. Harrison v. Harrison, 228 Ga. 126, 184 S.E.2d 147 (1971).

Mandatory verification of petition.

- Requirement that all petitions be verified by the petitioner is a mandatory provision and is manifestly a rule of pleading and not of evidence. Bell v. Bell, 202 Ga. 615, 44 S.E.2d 118 (1947).

Effect of unverified complaint.

- Fact that original complaint for divorce is not verified does not render suit null and void, but is an amendable defect. Edwards v. Edwards, 227 Ga. 307, 180 S.E.2d 358 (1971).

Sworn petition which has not been legally verified.

- Petition, having been sworn to by the plaintiff as required by law, was not subject to dismissal as showing on the petition's face that the petition was not legally verified. Bell v. Bell, 202 Ga. 615, 44 S.E.2d 118 (1947).

Provision requiring that the plaintiff swear to his or her petition being the only requirement of law that it be sworn to at all, it follows that, even if the plaintiff in such a divorce suit had not been legally empowered and required to verify his or her petition, the rule would simply be that no verification was necessary. Bell v. Bell, 202 Ga. 615, 44 S.E.2d 118 (1947).

Sufficiency of allegation concerning separation.

- Allegation that the parties live in the same family dwelling, when taken in connection with the further allegation that they "are living separate and apart," is a sufficient allegation of living in a state of separation, and does not render the petition subject to general demurrer (now motion to dismiss). Westberry v. Westberry, 173 Ga. 42, 159 S.E. 671 (1931).

Challenge to residency assertion was challenge to court's jurisdiction.

- In a divorce case, a husband's enumerations of error raising the issue of the wife's residency under O.C.G.A. § 19-5-5(b)(2) were challenges to the trial court's jurisdiction over the subject matter; these related to a motion to set aside under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-60(d)(1). Kuriatnyk v. Kuriatnyk, 286 Ga. 589, 690 S.E.2d 397 (2010).

Cited in Hicks v. Hicks, 186 Ga. 362, 197 S.E. 878 (1938); Scott v. Scott, 192 Ga. 370, 15 S.E.2d 416 (1941); Ragans v. Ragans, 200 Ga. 890, 39 S.E.2d 162 (1946); Tatum v. Tatum, 203 Ga. 406, 46 S.E.2d 915 (1948); Huguley v. Huguley, 204 Ga. 692, 51 S.E.2d 445 (1949); Hinkle v. Hinkle, 209 Ga. 554, 74 S.E.2d 657 (1953); Fuller v. Fuller, 216 Ga. 131, 114 S.E.2d 881 (1960); Hughes v. Hughes, 218 Ga. 684, 130 S.E.2d 226 (1963); Goodwill v. Goodwill, 221 Ga. 757, 147 S.E.2d 313 (1966); Sutton v. Sutton, 224 Ga. 140, 160 S.E.2d 385 (1968); Mitchell v. Mitchell, 226 Ga. 678, 177 S.E.2d 89 (1970); Sparks v. Sparks, 127 Ga. App. 657, 194 S.E. 621 (1972); Auerback v. Maslia, 142 Ga. App. 184, 235 S.E.2d 594 (1977); Stokes v. Stokes, 246 Ga. 765, 273 S.E.2d 169 (1980); Cavalino v. Cavalino, 601 F. Supp. 74 (N.D. Ga. 1984); Holler v. Holler, 257 Ga. 27, 354 S.E.2d 140 (1987); Pope v. Pope, 277 Ga. 333, 588 S.E.2d 736 (2003).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 24 Am. Jur. 2d, Divorce and Separation, § 216.

8B Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Divorce and Separation, § 68.


- 27A C.J.S., Divorce, § 141 et seq.


- Necessity of pleading affirmative defense in divorce suit, 76 A.L.R. 990.

Inclusion in bill for divorce or annulment of allegations and prayer to impress trust upon property or otherwise settle property rights, 93 A.L.R. 327.

Sufficiency of allegations of desertion, abandonment, or living apart as ground for divorce, separation, or alimony, 57 A.L.R.2d 468.

Social Security Spousal Benefits in Equitable Property Division in Divorce Proceedings, 44 A.L.R.7th Art. 1.

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