Thirteen Grounds for Divorce in the State of Georgia

Georgia is a state that allows for no-fault divorces, but there are still 12 other reasons set forth by O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3 that, if proven, the state will grant a divorce.

An uncontested, or “no-fault” divorce means that either spouse can file for divorce without having to prove the other did something wrong. This is the most common type of divorce and usually the easiest route to take, particularly for couples that are in agreement that their marriage is irreconcilable and desire to part ways. Most people choose this “no-fault” route, as they want to dissolve their marriage without having to allege serious faults in their spouses.

Though it is far less common for people to pursue an at-fault divorce, it does still happen. Under Georgia State law, if one or more of any of the following situations apply, a total divorce may be granted:

(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 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. (There are very specific rules on how mental illness must be diagnosed, as well as time requirements for the period of illness.)

(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 (a “no-fault” divorce). 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.

Instead of divorce, couples may also pursue an annulment; this is a declaration by the court that a valid marriage never existed. However, reasons for annulment can vary, but the rules surrounding annulments are strict, and courts rarely grants them. Therefore, it is usually best to seek a divorce if you wish to legally separate from your spouse.

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.