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What are acceptable reasons for divorce?

Divorces, just like marriages, have legal requirements that must be met before they are granted. In Georgia, one of the requirements for divorce is that there must be a legally valid reason, called a ground, for divorce.

If you are considering ending your marriage, it can be helpful to understand the grounds Georgia recognizes for divorce. The ground you choose could impact the outcome of your divorce.

Fault-based grounds

Most of Georgia's 13 grounds for divorce are fault-based. This means that the need for divorce was caused by your spouse.

Fault-based grounds include:

  • Intermarriage by people who are too closely related
  • Mental incapacity at the time of marriage
  • Impotency at the time of marriage
  • Force, menace, duress or fraud in obtaining the marriage
  • Pregnancy at the time of marriage caused by a man other than the husband and unknown to the husband
  • Adultery
  • Willful desertion for at least a year
  • Conviction for an offense involving moral turpitude resulting in a prison sentence of at least two years
  • Habitual intoxication
  • Cruel treatment
  • Incurable mental illness
  • Habitual drug addiction

If you choose a fault-based ground, you must provide proof of that fault. Your spouse may also object to a divorce based on a fault ground, which could result in the divorce not being granted. Georgia code prohibits a divorce being granted if you consented to your spouse’s action or if you are also guilty of a ground for divorce, among other circumstances.

No-fault divorce

Georgia also recognizes a no-fault ground for divorce. If you say you want a divorce because the marriage is irretrievably broken, you avoid blaming your spouse for the divorce. Additionally, your spouse cannot object to the divorce, so your petition for divorce will most likely be granted.

It is important to carefully consider the ground you choose when filing for divorce. Choosing a fault-based ground may impact alimony, child custody or the division of marital property, but you must be sure you have proof or you may not be granted a divorce at all. A no-fault ground may not have the same impact to alimony, child custody or the division of property that a fault-based ground would have, but there may be less risk of the divorce being denied. However, every situation is different and the ground you use for your divorce should be chosen with your unique situation in mind.

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