List of Legal Grounds for Divorce in Georgia

Couple filling the divorce form

It is never only a husband and wife involved in divorce. The state is the third player that comes into the picture when a husband and wife decide to untie their knot. No one can simply break up, pack their bags, and drive off in the sunset. Along with many legal considerations, a petitioner is supposed to give their state a reason why they should be allowed to go their separate ways. This very reason is known as a ground for divorce.

Common Reasons to File for Divorce in GA

The Peach state takes the seventh place in the list of the states coming with the highest divorce rates in the country. In GA, slightly more than 14 individuals for every one hundred married people have got divorced. In the state, there are thirteen legal reasons for divorce that every petitioning party can use as a good cause for their suit. According to O.C.G.A. 19-5-3 (Chapter 5 of Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia), the following grounds shall be sufficient to authorize the granting of a total divorce:


(1) Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity;
(2) Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage;
(3) Impotency at the time of the marriage;
(4) Force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage;
(5) Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the husband;
(6) Adultery in either of the parties after marriage;
(7) Willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year;
(8) The conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude, under which he or she is sentenced to imprisonment in a penal institution for a term of two years or longer;
(9) Habitual intoxication;
(10) Cruel treatment, which shall consist of the willful infliction of pain, bodily or mental, upon the complaining party, such as reasonably justifies apprehension of danger to life, limb, or health;
(11) Incurable mental illness. No divorce shall be granted upon this ground unless the mentally ill party has been adjudged mentally ill by a court of competent jurisdiction or has been certified to be mentally ill by two physicians who have personally examined the party; and he has been confined in an institution for the mentally ill or has been under continuous treatment for mental illness for a period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the action; and the superintendent or other chief executive officer of the institution and one competent physician appointed by the court, after a thorough examination, make a certified statement under oath that it is their opinion that the party evidences such a want of reason, memory, and intelligence as to prevent the party from comprehending the nature, duties, and consequences of the marriage relationship and that, in the light of present day medical knowledge, recovery of the party’s mental health cannot be expected at any time during his life. Notice of the action must be served upon the guardian of the person of the mentally ill person and upon the superintendent or other chief executive officer of the institution in which the person is confined. In the event that there is no guardian of the person, then notice of the action shall be served upon a guardian ad litem, who shall be appointed by the court in which the divorce action is filed, and upon the superintendent or chief executive officer of the institution in which the person is confined. The guardian and superintendent shall be entitled to appear and be heard upon the issues. The status of the parties as to the support and maintenance of the mentally ill person shall not be altered in any way by the granting of the divorce;
(12) Habitual drug addiction, which shall consist of addiction to any controlled substance as defined in Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 16;
(13) The marriage is irretrievably broken. Under no circumstances shall the court grant a divorce on this ground until not less than 30 days from the date of service on the respondent.

Fault Grounds for Divorce

In the state, there are only twelve fault-based divorce reasons, but only three of them are used most often:

  • adultery;
  • harsh treatment that constitutes a threat to life or mental and physical health of the complaining spouse;
  • desertion (or so-called abandonment) that continues for more than 1 year.

Proving infidelity in divorce in GA is not always easy. Nevertheless, complaining spouses never miss the opportunity to indicate their partners’ unfaithfulness as a ground mainly because they know that their spouses’ misbehavior may be considered by the court in deciding how much alimony they should get. Thuswise, after proving adultery in Georgia, an at-fault party has very few chances to get any spousal support.



The following grounds are mentioned more rarely:

  • impotence;
  • illegal intermarriage;
  • imprisonment of over two years for a crime that involves “moral turpitude”;
  • drug addiction;
  • untreatable mental illness;
  • habitual alcoholic intoxication;
  • consent to marriage was obtained by menace or force;
  • one party had no mental capacity to consent;
  • a wife has got pregnant by the third person while she was married to her husband;
Except for the above-mentioned grounds, there is only one no-fault one used when a marriage is irretrievably broken. In this case, spouses demonstrate their unwillingness or inability to resolve their differences and thus are no longer interested in saving their relationships. There are many examples of irreconcilable differences, but the most common ones are all about money issues, different life goals, and a lack of communication.

So, when someone wants to get divorced, he or she must decide whether to start a fault-based process or simply mention that their relationship is beyond repair. Anybody can use their spouse’s habitual intoxication to divorce in Georgia; however, they should realize that if they fail to prove the allegation, their request will be dismissed.

No Fault Divorce in Georgia

It is wrong to think that every divorce must be a time-consuming, overwhelming, and financially draining process. Over the past half-century, all states in America have adopted a no-fault divorce meaning that today, every divorcing couple can untie their knot without getting involved in never-ending court battles.

The Peach State has adopted this form of divorce as far back as 1973. Since then, divorcing couples have been granted the right to end their marriage on paper peacefully. For this, it was enough that one of the parties could demonstrate their unwillingness to live under one roof with their partner and that they are not going to reconcile. And there is no need to show any misconduct of fault at all. While most courts tend to favor marriage over a breakup, no judge can refuse to grant a divorce if spouses claim that there is no hope for saving their relationship; the same cannot be said about fault-based cases, when complaining parties must prove their grounds first.

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