Statutory Grounds for Divorce in Georgia

Unfortunately, no matter how happy marriages begin, sometimes people grow apart or, for other reasons, want a divorce. As with most of the country, in Georgia, “no-fault” is the most commonly-stated grounds (identified legal reason) for filing for divorce. A “no-fault” divorce happens when neither spouse is held legally to blame for the reason the marriage dissolved.

There are twelve other reasons that Georgia law identifies as legal grounds for a couple to divorce. These twelve reasons allege that one spouse is at fault for causing the divorce. Though alleging fault is not required in Georgia, it can make a difference in how the judge rules during divorce proceedings. Specifically, one party being at-fault for the divorce may affect child custody, child support, and alimony decisions in favor of the wronged spouse.

Thirteen Legal Reasons Couples Divorce in Georgi

In Georgia, there are thirteen statutes that provide legal grounds for a married couple to divorce. These include:

  1. Irretrievably broken marriage: Through no fault of either spouse, the marriage has become broken without possibility of being fixed.
  2. Cruelty by one spouse to the other: Physical or mental abuse, for example, would fall into this category.
  3. Adultery by either spouse: Adultery, as grounds for divorce in Georgia, is particularly important to understand because if one party cheats on their spouse, they will not be entitled to alimony payments.
  4. Abandonment: Deliberately deserting a spouse or living out of the home without good reason for more than one year. A good reason could be a military tour of duty.
  5. Mentally unaware or unable to enter into an agreement when the marriage begins.
  6. Mental illness without chance of recovery.
  7. At the time of marriage, one or both parties are impotent. In Georgia, the inability to have sexual relations with your spouse when you first marry is considered legal grounds for divorce.
  8. Forcible or fraudulent marriage or marriage while under duress. A marriage in which one party does not agree or was forced by their spouse or family to marry is grounds to dissolve the marriage.
  9. Without a husband’s knowledge, a wife is pregnant at time of marriage.
  10. Conviction in a court of law for moral turpitude crime with a prison term of at least two years: Moral turpitude crimes must include malicious intent, meaning that the spouse meant to commit a crime that hurt someone. If, for example, a person robs a bank or assaults someone, they deliberately set out to cause harm or damage. These can be felonies or misdemeanor offenses. However, in general, a misdemeanor would not be grounds for divorce because it is highly unlikely that it would be associated with a lengthy incarceration period.
  11. Habitual alcohol abuse.
  12. Habitual drug abuse.
  13. Marriage between individuals who are too closely-related to each other: In Georgia, a person is not allowed to marry family members to whom they are closely-related.

The first four grounds listed here are cited as the reason for divorce much more frequently than the last nine.

Legal Representation During Divorces

Though many Georgia divorces cannot be attributed to one cause and, therefore, are generally considered irretrievably broken (“no-fault”), some marriages end due to one spouse’s actions. Obtaining a divorce attorney can be a good idea even during “no-fault” divorces, however, because an attorney can help you with child custody and visitation issues, division of assets, and obtaining alimony.

When one spouse files for divorce because of the faults of the other spouse, the legal process of divorce can become even more complex. Family law attorneys handle cases like these every day. They understand all the relevant laws and know which documents should be filed with the court. These attorneys have experience helping people go through one of the most emotional and personal experiences of their lives

Divorce is not easy for anyone involved. It can be devastating and cause a great deal of stress. It is important to understand that the determination of grounds for divorce can directly impact your life for years to come.

Contact Kessler & Solomiany, LLC

The Atlanta divorce attorneys at Kessler & Solomiany, LLC handle a range of divorce cases, from straightforward, uncontested divorces to the most complicated divorce issues. We handle cases that involve child custody, division of assets, and much more.

Whether you want to explore the possibility of filing for divorce, or your spouse has served you divorce papers, we will compassionately guide you through the process of understanding your legal options. We can aid you in identifying your legal grounds for divorce and getting you the outcome you deserve. Our lawyers are here to help you get through this difficult time. Call us at today at (404) 688-8810 for a completely free initial consultation.