Can Lack Of Intimacy Be Considered Grounds For Divorce?

As Family Law attorneys, we get a lot of questions about divorce. One question that many people are embarrassed to ask is whether withholding sex can be grounds for divorce. The lack of intimacy in a marriage can be difficult to quantify, but it can be grounds for divorce, with some caveats.

Georgia has both no-fault and fault-based divorce. To fall under the fault-based category in Georgia, your marriage must match one of these thirteen categorizations.

1) Intermarriage between certain relatives

2) Mental incapacity (at the time of the marriage)

3) Impotency (at the time of 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 by the husband

6) Adultery

7) Desertion

8) The conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude and under which he or she is sentenced to imprisoned in a penal institution for a term of two years or longer

9) Habitual intoxication

10) Cruel treatment

11) Incurable mental illness

12) Habitual drug addiction

13) The marriage is irretrievably broken

While withholding sexual intimacy from a spouse is not explicitly listed, it can fall under the category of “desertion,” depending on the details. Desertion can mean there is a willful absence, meaning the absence is not justified by the other partner’s conduct, such as abuse or addiction. Ending cohabitation, either physically or by refusing to engage in sexual relations, is also considered desertion. The absence must last for a year or more to quality under desertion however.

If your relationship has one or more of the above issues, you may be granted a fault-based divorce. Proving the desertion however, can be very difficult. If you are unable to prove the absence, your marriage may still fall under “irretrievably broken,” which will take the lack of sexual relations into account, but will not be the sole grounds for the divorce being granted.

If you are facing a divorce in Georgia, we can help.

At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Our criminal defense attorneys, Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, have combined experience of more than 30 years representing clients facing criminal charges in Georgia. For more information, or to request a case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-822-0900.