Georgia differs from many other states in terms of divorce law. While other states allow no-fault divorces, Georgia law requires couples that are splitting up to provide grounds for their divorce. The grounds that you choose for your divorce and the evidence that you use to prove your grounds can have an impact on your case.
The 13 grounds for divorce
To get the court to approve your divorce petition, you must select one of the following 13 grounds for divorce:
- Your marriage is illegal because your spouse is closely related to you.
- Mental incapacity was present during the marriage.
- There was impotency during the marriage.
- The marriage was obtained under duress or through fraud, force or menace.
- The husband did not know that the wife was pregnant by another man at the time of marriage.
- There was adultery during the marriage.
- Either party willfully deserted the other person for at least one year.
- Either party was convicted of a crime of moral turpitude that resulted in a prison sentence of at least two years.
- Either party was habitually intoxicated during the marriage.
- Either party was habitually addicted to any controlled substance during the marriage.
- There was cruel treatment involving mental or physical abuse that caused one spouse to fear for his or her life.
- The marriage has become irretrievably broken.
How fault can affect a divorce settlement
When making decisions about child custody and property division issues, a judge will look closely at the reasons for the dissolution of the marriage and evaluate which spouse was responsible for the breakup of the marriage. Therefore, your conduct during the marriage impact whether a judge grants you an equal share of the marital property. If your spouse accuses you of domestic violence during the marriage, this claim could sway child custody rulings in his or her favor.
How a lawyer may help
While a judge may look at marital behavior, like adultery and drug addiction, he or she will also consider how much someone condoned his or her spouse’s negative behavior. If you have been accused of being at fault for your divorce, a lawyer may help you show that you and your spouse had worked through your past marital problems before the divorce petition was filed.