Fault, No Fault and Covenant Marriage
“You mean she can divorce me without proving I did anything wrong, just like that?”
It seems that, as a family lawyer, I have heard this lamentation many times. People facing an unwanted divorce often profess shock at the fact that, in this state, a divorce may be granted although they did not cheat on, abuse or otherwise grossly fail as a spouse.
It was not always so–prior to 1973 in Georgia, a divorce was only granted if fault grounds were proven. In other words, someone had to have cheated on, or abused their spouse, or become alcoholic or insane. This led, inevitably, to unhappy couples falsifying grounds to get the divorce they wanted.
On the other hand, since uncontested divorce was made available, divorce rates have climbed. Some have responded to this by reintroducing fault as a necessary element in divorce through covenant marriage–in essence, a couple agrees prior to marriage to divorce only when there is fault. This is authorized by law in several states: Louisiana, Arkansas and Arizona. I understand that around 2% of couples marrying in those jurisdictions choose this course.
Covenant marriage is not available in Georgia.
So my question to you is: if you were getting married and had the option to be bound together unless there was fault, would you chose to do so?