FAQ: What Are Legal Grounds for Divorce?

Are you considering a divorce in Georgia? Most of us know someone who has filed for divorce, either in Georgia or in another state. While a number of states have what is known as “no fault” divorce, Georgia law still looks a little bit different. In other words, many states in the country have moved toward a system of divorce in which neither spouse is at fault for the divorce, thus making it possible to file for a no fault divorce. In Georgia’s legal divorce system, there are several types of divorce, and included among them is an option of filing for no fault. The grounds for filing for divorce in Georgia fall primarily under the state’s statutory law (O.C.G.A. 19-5-3), which we will explore with you in more detail throughout this post.

Thirteen Total Grounds for Divorce in Georgia

The following grounds for divorce are legally delineated in Georgia as:

  • Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity (in other words, individuals who are too closely related);
  • Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage;
  • Impotency at the time of the marriage;
  • Force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage;
  • Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the husband;
  • Adultery in either of the parties after marriage;
  • Willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year;
  • The conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude, under which he is sentenced to imprisonment in a penal institution for a term of two years of longer;
  • Habitual intoxication;
  • 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;
  • Incurable mental illness (in which the party must have been adjudged mentally ill by a court or certified as such by two physicians);
  • Habitual drug addiction; and
  • The marriage is irretrievably broken.

When Your Divorce in Georgia is Irretrievably Broken

The thirteenth and final ground for divorce under the Georgia statute is that “the marriage is irretrievably broken.” In effect, this ground for divorce functions as a kind of “no fault” ground. In other words, the party who files for divorce only must show that she or he does not want to be married to the other spouse, and that the marriage cannot be repaired. If it were due to any of the previous grounds, the divorce would be classified differently from a “no fault” divorce.

Why would a party want to allege one of the twelve fault-based grounds for divorce instead of a mutual separation? In short, those twelve grounds for divorce can impact a court’s decision about the final outcome of the divorce, including alimony and child support payments in addition to other action it should take concerning criminal charges, such is the case with abuse or any other illegal activity.

Discuss Your Case with a Georgia Divorce Attorney

Are you thinking about filing for divorce in Georgia? An experienced Georgia divorce attorney can help with your case. Contact Mitchell & Crunk for more information about the services we provide.