Breaking down Georgia’s 13 grounds for divorce

While some states only allow for basic no-fault divorces, Georgia has 13 different grounds that a person can claim when filing for divorce.

If you are about to file for divorce or need to respond to your spouse’s filing, understanding the basics of these grounds and the necessary evidence to prove them in family court can help you ensure the best possible outcome during your divorce proceeding.

Spousal misconduct

If a man marries a woman who is pregnant and he does not know the child is another man’s, he has grounds for divorce when he learns the truth. Either spouse can file for divorce because of adultery.

Sexual misconduct isn’t the only kind that can lead to a fault-based divorce. Georgia also permits divorce based on habitual intoxication or habitual drug addiction. Cruel treatment or abuse is also grounds for a divorce. For such claims, you will need actual evidence of the misconduct that you assert gives you cause to divorce.

Evidence of serious misconduct during the marriage could come from medical records, police reports, financial documents or even your spouse’s behavior on social media.

Extended separations

Georgia recognizes divorce for several kinds of long-term separations between spouses. Desertion or abandonment is one reason. One spouse’s conviction of a crime of moral turpitude and the requirement to stay in prison for two years or longer is another reason. Finally, incurable mental illness, which may require institutionalization, is also grounds for divorce.

With the exception of desertion, which can be harder to prove, convictions and issues with mental health often leave professional paper trails that can help you as you plan to divorce. Communications about someone leaving the marital home could be a good starting point for someone claiming desertion, and financial records can also help.

Issues before marriage

If you discover that you have a prohibited degree of kinship, you can file for divorce, as can those who can show mental incapacitation at the time of the marriage. Impotency at the time of marriage is another viable reason to file for divorce. Finally, if force, duress, fraud or menace played a role in the decision to marry, that can also be grounds for divorce. Medical records, family documents or even genetic testing could help you establish that you qualify under one of these grounds.

Irretrievable breakdown

For some people, the best option will be a no-fault divorce because they will not have the necessary evidence to validate their claims of physical abuse or infidelity. Claims of an irretrievable breakdown of your marital relationship will lead to a no-fault divorce. This approach can be the fastest solution, as you won’t have to prove certain behavior or worry about your spouse fighting against the divorce and preventing it.

Learning more about the grounds for divorce in Georgia can help you make informed decisions about the end of your marriage.

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