What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Georgia?

What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Georgia?

Divorce is the legal dissolution of marriage, conducted through court proceedings or any other legal authority. A divorce is an instrument to gain legal restitution in being separated from your once married spouse. Moreover, it is the only legal way to end your relationship with your spouse, failing to do so may lead to other complications. Divorce in Georgia can be requested on several grounds.

According to the Georgia Code, there are as many as 13 grounds on which you can file for a divorce. This, on top of the fact that Georgia is a no-fault state; meaning you can also file without any grounds.

No-Fault Divorce in Georgia:

As mentioned above, the state of Georgia doesn’t require the establishment of one party’s fault to register a divorce case. Most divorce cases in Georgia are filed under the no-fault column which also translates to the claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken. It is sometimes prudent to use such a no-fault excuse to file for a divorce as it decreases the chances of hostility.

Moreover, at the beginning of the case, tensions may arise due to accusations fired here and there. Most cases without children tend to get resolved amicably by citing the marriage is 'irretrievably broken' instead of accusing the partner of some crime. In this case, an amicable solution is almost always a certainty. The 'irretrievably broken' grounds are the most often used in Georgia.

Adultery as Grounds:

Adultery is the act of engaging in sexual activities while being married to someone. The act can be homosexual or heterosexual but it is done with someone, who is not your spouse. A spouse can file for divorce in Georgia based on adultery charges. Adultery in itself is a crime in the state of Georgia and is punishable by a fine.

Proving the charges of adultery is a little tricky. The accused must be pinned down on the charge of adultery. Herein lies the problem as evidence is usually circumstantial at best in such cases. You may prove there is a relation between your spouse and a paramour based on conjecture, but the court can rule it coincidental.

Willful Desertion as Grounds:

Desertion or continued absence from your spouse's life may also entitle them to file for a divorce. Normally, there are time limits stipulated that must be reached for the act to be considered as desertion. The Georgian state accepts cases with the cause of desertion if the desertion has occurred for a minimum of one year and constitutes willful negligence.

The term 'desertion' is less frequented as phrases such as 'he left me' or 'they moved out' are more common in these cases. Whatever the case may be, once again, proving desertion may be tricky. The onus lies on the spouse accusing the other of desertion but if the other person can defend themselves, it often comes down to hearsay.

Desertion is easier to prove if the spouse cannot be located. For instance, the spouse is inaccessible or their whereabouts unknown. In this case, the other person has good grounds to make a case.

Cruel Treatment as Grounds:

Any physical or mental pain meted out by one spouse to another may constitute cruel treatment and hence, grounds for filing for divorce. Cruel treatment can be either physical or mental depending on the instance. Cases of domestic abuse are quite common grounds for the filing of a divorce.

There's extensive case law that supports such claims and would suffice in getting the bereaved a divorce settlement. Abuse can also be verbal which causes mental stress along with any financial constraints. In these cases, it may be hard to assert the fault but the court can appoint an investigator to assess both parties' claims to the judge's satisfaction.

Other Grounds for Divorce:

The above grounds for divorce are the most common ones for divorce in Georgia. However, other grounds can be used to assert the fault of a party. They include:

  • Criminal Conviction – Two or more years of incarceration for crimes committed.
  • Force, Duress, or Deception – In case when a partner practically forced or manipulated the other into marrying them. The other partner wouldn't have been a willing party until the coercion tactics.
  • Mental Incapacity – a partner that is incoherent and cannot maintain their mental acuity.
  • Impotency – at the time of marriage and without you being aware of this condition.
  • Intermarriage – with closed bloodlines constituting incest.
  • Pregnancy – caused by someone other than the husband and without him knowing of it.

Divorces in Georgia take a typical shape as they are often fought on the ‘irretrievable broken’ grounds. It leads to amicable settlements and less drawn-out litigation procedures. If you’re looking for attorneys to make your cases short and amicable, get in touch with us.