According to O.C.G.A. 19-5-3, there are 13 grounds for divorce in Georgia which include adultery, desertion, cruel treatment, mental incapacity or impotency at the time of marriage, incurable mental illness, conviction of a crime of moral turpitude, habitual intoxication or drug addiction, pregnancy by another man unbeknown to the spouse, intermarriage, force when obtaining marriage, and irretrievable breakdown.
Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce in Georgia
- Intermarriage by People Within the Prohibited Degrees of Kinship. To put it simply, it is the marriage between relatives of specific blood relations. In Georgia, the law concerning such unions is especially strict, as the state prohibits marriages between parents and their children or stepchildren, grandparents and grandkids, siblings, half-siblings, aunts and nephews, or uncles and nieces. Moreover, such union may lead to imprisonment if people entered them knowingly. However, marriages between cousins are allowed and they have to cite another ground when filing for divorce in Georgia.
- Mental Incapacity at the Time of the Marriage. If one of the parties was not able to understand and enter the legal union with a sound mind, such marriage can be ended. Mental incapacity can be a result of mental illness, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, congenital disability, brain injury, etc. Additionally, a person might be considered incapable of consenting to marriage if they were severely intoxicated.
- Impotency at the Time of the Marriage. Impotency is a valid reason for divorce in the state of Georgia. According to the law, the spouse has a right to file for dissolution due to husband’s sexual dysfunction if they didn’t know about it prior to getting married or the issue emerged during the marriage.
- Force, Menace, Duress, or Fraud in Obtaining the Marriage. This ground presupposes one of the parties being threatened, forced, or fraudfully induced to agree to marry the other person.
- Pregnancy of the Wife by a Man Other Than the Husband at the Time of the Marriage (and Unknown to the Husband). In Georgia, the husband will be considered a father to the child by default, even if he or she is not biologically his offspring. In order to get a divorce based on this ground, a husband has to prove that he is not a father.
- Adultery During the Marriage. To file based on adultery, one of the spouses who blames another party for cheating on them must have substantial evidence to prove it. For instance, there may be witnesses or electronic evidence such as messages, photos, and credit card statements. In some cases, it might be necessary to hire a private investigator to gather proof.
- Desertion. This ground will be considered sufficient to finalize a divorce if one of the spouses has abandoned the other for more than 1 year. It would be necessary to prove that the spouse who left has done so with no intention to return and it was their choice only. Couples who choose to live separately cannot file on the basis of desertion.
- The Conviction of a Crime of Moral Turpitude That Results in a Prison Sentence of Two Years or Longer. If one of the spouses committed a crime with an evil intent or due to recklessness, and was imprisoned for it for more than 2 years, the other spouse can use it as a reason to file for divorce.
- Habitual Intoxication. In order to get a divorce based on this ground, a Petitioner has to claim that his/her spouse was continuously consuming alcohol during the marriage. It doesn’t have to be an everyday occurrence, but should happen often enough to be considered a habit.
- Cruel Treatment. Cruelty as a ground for divorce presupposes one of the spouses being subjected to bodily or mental cruel treatment. If such actions pose a danger to the life and health of the petitioner, a divorce will be granted.
- Incurable Mental Illness. This ground for divorce will be considered sufficient only in three cases:
- The mental illness was adjudged in court.
- Two independent physicians examined the person and certified that they are mentally ill.
- The spouse has been in the mental health facility or underwent regular treatment for at least 2 years before the divorce process was initiated.
- A CEO of the facility and a physician appointed by the court have determined and testified that it is unlikely that a person under examination will be cured during their lifetime.
- Habitual Drug Addiction. Drug addiction will be considered a serious ground for divorce irrespective of the type of substance. However, there should be the proof of pattern of addiction because one-time use of a controlled substance is not regraded to as habitual.
Is Emotional Abuse a Ground for Divorce in Georgia?
Emotional abuse itself is not included in the list of grounds in the state Georgia. However, such type of abuse may be regarded as cruel treatment, which is a valid reason for marriage dissolution.
No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in Georgia
To file for a no-fault divorce in GA, a person needs to cite irreconcilable differences as grounds for marriage dissolution. This reason simply means that partners did not get along and decided to end their marriage without putting blame on each other.
If spouses agree on how to take care of children if any, divide their property, and other divorce matters, they can file for an uncontested marriage dissolution and do it without a lawyer. Uncontested cases are always faster, simpler, and cheaper as all the agreements are already made and there is no need for litigations.