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Ending a three year marriage in Georgia or Massachusetts - which is better for debt distribution

Smyrna, GA |

My husband left without warning after pretending to stay to work on anger issues with a counselor. I believe he will try to hold me responsible for paying part of his student loans accrued during our marriage (about 55,000 - I accrued about 15,000). We were only married for three years (in January - two years now). Will it be more favorable for me to divorce him in Massachusetts or Georgia?

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Filed under: Divorce Alimony
Attorney answers 3


Every state has rules about how to determine the appropriate jurisdiction for filing a divorce action. Generally, the appropriate state is going to be the state where the defendant resides. The only exception is when the defendant left "recently" from the state where the parties were residing as a married couple.

It most likely doesn't really matter which state would be more favorable. If you are filing, you must file in Massachusetts unless your husband has not yet lived in Mass long enough to satisfy their jurisdictional requirements; in which case you must file in Georgia (if he's been gone less than 6 months) or wait until he does meet Mass's requirements.

To answer your specific question (which state would be more "favorable") you would need to either find an attorney who is licensed in both states or speak to multiple attorneys (at least one per state). Either way, an attorney would need more information from you in order to be able to tell you what your options are.

I hope this information helps answer your question(s).

~ Kem Eyo

The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the individual posting the question and the attorney providing the answer.

Ikemesit Amajak Eyo

Ikemesit Amajak Eyo


NOTE: The information in my second paragraph is based on the belief that you live in Georgia and your husband lives in Massachusetts.


You've actually asked the wrong question without realizing it. The actual question is where CAN you file? That is a question of personal jurisdiction. You haven't stated who lives where, and where parties lived before, and how long ago that before is.

As a general rule, you MUST file where he is unless he recently left another state. An exception is where both parties agree on everything.

If Georgia is the appropriate state, feel free to call me with details and to assist you at 404-768-3509.

If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you. Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.


You have not really given us enough information to determine if you in fact have a choice. Likely, only one of the states will have jurisdiction to grant the divorce. If by chance you could pick a state, I would talk to lawyers in both states and see what advice you get before making a decision.