If you have grounds for divorce in Georgia, you may be:
- able to bypass the separation period
- entitled to more financial support
- entitled to a larger share of the marital property
- excused from paying alimony
So, you are probably wondering if you have valid grounds for divorce.
When you file for divorce in Georgia, you have to prove that you and your spouse are experiencing one of the grounds for divorce in Georgia.
These 13 grounds for divorce in Georgia are:
- The marriage is irreparable.
- Being too closely related (consanguinity).
- Impotency or inability to have kids at the time of marriage.
- The mental capacity of your spouse at the time of marriage.
- Forced or fraudulent marriage.
- Wife getting pregnant by another man.
- One of the spouses were cheating.
- Desertion, meaning the spouse left the house over a year ago.
- 2+ year prison sentence.
- Addiction to drugs.
- Addiction to alcohol.
- Abuse and cruel treatment.
- Incurable mental illnesses.
Let’s cover these 13 grounds for divorce in Georgia more in-depth below.
1. No-Fault Divorce Georgia
The first grounds for divorce is a no-fault divorce in Georgia.
Let’s talk about what is no-fault divorce in Georgia.
No-fault divorce describes a divorce where the spouse who is filing the petition for divorce does not have to accuse the other spouse of any wrongdoing.
So, now that we know what no-fault divorce in Georgia is, what is a fault based divorce?
Fault Based Divorce
Fault based divorces refer to the other 12 grounds for divorce in Georgia.
Why would you choose a fault based divorce over a no-fault divorce in Georgia?
Some people don’t want to wait out the period of legal separation in Georgia that is required by the Georgia divorce laws for a no-fault divorce.
In order to file a no-fault divorce in Georgia, you first have to be legally separated.
Legal separation in Georgia does not mean that you or your spouse have to move out of the house.
Under the divorce laws in Georgia, you simply have to suspend marital relations with the intention to divorce.
Spouses can be legally separated while living in the same household.
There is no specific time period required to be legally separated for Georgia’s no-fault divorce, although at least 30 days is recommended.
If you live in Georgia, you are legally separated if either spouse moves out, or moves into another bedroom, with the intention to file a divorce.
Another reason to choose fault-based divorce is that the spouse who proves the other’s fault may receive a greater share of the marital property or more alimony.
But what if both spouses are at fault, and not just one of the spouses?
When both spouses are at fault, the judge grants a divorce to the spouse who is least at fault under Comparative Rectitude.
2. Intermarriage & Prohibited Degrees of Consanguinity
Georgia divorce laws prohibit intermarriage between blood relatives.
Intermarriage is also commonly referred to as a consanguineous marriage.
What Does Consanguinity Mean?
Consanguineous marriage is defined as a union between two individuals who are related as second cousins or closer.
Consanguineous marriages are prohibited because blood relatives have similar gene pools so it’s more likely of getting a double-dose of a recessive gene.
But how are you supposed to know which family members are too closely related to you so that you can avoid intermarriage?
This consanguinity table is a visual representation of which relatives are too closely related and which ones are good to go when it comes to being married under Georgia divorce laws.
3. Impotency Or Inability To Have Kids
Impotency does not ONLY mean the inability to have kids.
Impotency, when it comes to the grounds for divorce in Georgia, is the inability to have sexual relations.
To clarify what’s deemed impotent, consider this.
A spouse that withholds sex is not deemed impotent.
And an infertile spouse, or a spouse that cannot produce a child, is not considered impotence.
But, physical, psychological, or medical conditions that make it impossible to have sex are considered impotency.
4. Mental Capacity of Spouse
When you file for divorce in Georgia, in cases of severe mental illness, a spouse can seek divorce due to incurable mental illness.
But, a few things must happen for you to use mental health as a grounds for divorce in Georgia.
- A spouse has been confined to an institution for mental health.
- A spouse has been under mental health treatment for 2+ years.
- A spouse has been found as mentally ill by the courts.
- A spouse has been verified as mentally ill by two doctors.
- The superintendent of the health facility testifies that the spouse does not comprehend the marital relationship anymore.
5. Fraudulent Marriage
When it comes to fraud as a grounds for divorce in Georgia, we are looking at a blanket statement.
Fraud can come in many forms when it comes to marriage. A few examples of fraud in marriage are:
- Hiding medical condition
- Hiding previous marriages
- Hiding legal issues
- Hiding mental illnesses
- Hiding assets
If you have experience misrepresentation in marriage, then you can get an annulment based on misrepresentation.
6. Wife Getting Pregnant By Another Man
If you’re dealing with your wife getting pregnant by another man, you need to approach divorce in Georgia a little differently.
The first thing to note is that this is definitely going to be a contested divorce in Georgia.
Another thing to look out for is the presumption of fatherhood.
In Georgia, there is a presumption that the husband is the father of any baby conceived during marriage.
The presumption that a child born during the course of your marriage is the husband’s biological child can be challenged in a few ways.
- The mother can challenge the presumption.
- The husband can challenge the presumption.
In either case, the issue of paternity can be raised during the divorce proceeding.
Georgia divorce laws require you to raise the issue in your divorce even if the child has not yet been born.
This is because it may not be possible to determine the biological father of your child during pregnancy.
7. Grounds For Divorce Adultery
When it comes to divorce laws and the grounds for divorce in Georgia, adultery is defined as a spouse having a sexual relationship outside of the marriage.
Adultery is any sexual activity with another person outside of the marriage.
It doesn’t have to necessarily be intercourse to constitute adultery.
If you are going to use adultery as your grounds for divorce, you have to prove the act of adultery.
How to Prove Adultery in Georgia
To prove adultery in Georgia, you will need more than just the spouse’s confession of adultery.
To prove adultery to the divorce courts, you need to bring evidence such as:
- phone records
- bank and credit card statements
- other witnesses
In Georgia, you don’t have to prove that sexual intercourse happened if you can prove that your spouse had both the opportunity and the inclination to have committed adultery.
To prove adultery in Georgia, hire a family law attorney to help you navigate the legal rules of evidence and trial procedure.
8. Grounds For Divorce Abandonment
For Georgia’s grounds for divorce, abandonment or desertion means that one spouse leaves the family home and the relationship without communicating and without warning.
For example, if a spouse leaves home without the intent of returning, the court views that as abandonment, which can lead to the other spouse filing for a “fault” divorce after one year of the spouse’s absence.
If you have children who are financially dependent on you, and you abandon them without support, you COULD be charged with a criminal abandonment.
And your spouse can use it as grounds for a fault divorce.
If your spouse made it difficult to live in the home and you left, you might be guilty of constructive abandonment.
‘Difficult’ is determined by the judge, not the spouses.
For example, let’s assume that a husband was an alcoholic and abused the wife and children.
If the wife moved out of the home with the children to avoid the husband, then the court is less likely to find the wife guilty of abandonment or desertion.
Proving Abandonment in Georgia
When claiming abandonment, you will find yourself having to prove abandonment in Georgia.
This means that you have to prove that your spouse left you for a specific period of time.
You also have to prove that:
- They refused to communicate with you during that period of time
- There was no justification for leaving
- Your spouse intended to end the marriage
- Your spouse had no intention of coming back
Before you file for divorce in Georgia due to abandonment, make sure that your slate is clean.
If you are using the abandonment as grounds for divorce in Georgia, but your spouse left 6 months ago because of domestic abuse, then the judge will throw out your case.
You must prove that:
- Your spouse left 12+ months ago.
- Your spouse was intending to desert you.
9. Filing for Divorce Due to Prison
If you are filing for divorce because your spouse went to prison, you cannot use incarceration alone as grounds for divorce.
The only way that you can use your spouse going to jail as grounds for divorce is if the prison term is 2+ years.
If the prison term is 2+ years, then the other spouse can file for divorce and use imprisonment as grounds for divorce in Georgia.
10. Addiction to Drugs
Substance abuse is a grounds for divorce in Georgia.
The reason is because substance abuse is correlated with domestic violence.
To prove substance abuse for divorce, you may need:
- drug tests
- time in rehab facilities
- phone records
11. Addiction to Alcohol
Using addiction to alcohol as grounds for divorce in Georgia is the same as addiction to drugs.
Addiction to alcohol is correlated with domestic violence in relationships.
Mistreatment of spouses is a large driving factor in why addiction to alcohol is a grounds for divorce.
12. Abuse and Cruel Treatment
Abuse and cruel treatment as grounds for divorce can be proven with just the testimony of the abused spouse.
Arguments and disagreements do not qualify for grounds for divorce in Georgia.
There must be a level of severity to the abuse and cruel treatment.
What constitutes cruelty and abuse when it comes to the Georgia divorce laws?
- Physical attacks
- continuous rage, anger, screaming, or yelling
- constant belittling abilities, employments, and looks
- publicly flaunting an affair
- falsely accusing an innocent spouse of adultery
- not telling a spouse about a sexual transmitted disease and continuing to have sex
- consistently staying away from the marital residence without explanation
To prove cruel treatment and abuse, you should provide the courts with:
- police reports
- medical records
- text messages
- photos of injuries
- photos of property damage
13. Incurable Mental Illness
If you file for divorce due to incurable mental illnesses, there are strict requirements.
- The mentally ill person must be adjudged mentally ill by the court or be certified as mentally ill by two physicians.
- They must have been admitted to a mental institution for at least two years before filing for divorce.
- A physician of the mental institute must testify that the person is unable to comprehend their marital relationship anymore.
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