Understanding the Grounds for Divorce in Georgia
May 6, 2021
Divorce can be highly emotional. And yet, there are many legalities involved that you need to consider. Contrary to popular opinion, not every couple that wants to file for divorce has to go to trial. There are several options to consider, and only an experienced divorce lawyer can help you fully explore your options.
In this article, we discuss all of the possible scenarios in which individuals in Georgia can seek divorce from their spouses.
Grounds for Divorce
While divorce laws vary from state to state, all U.S. citizens filing for divorce anywhere in the nation have to provide a legally acceptable reason to end the marriage. This is known as the grounds for divorce. Here's an overview of the legally acceptable reasons for terminating marriages in Georgia.
Divorce can be mutual or the result of one spouse abusing the other or not fulfilling their marital duty. In the former case, no one is “at fault” for the divorce. Georgia is a mixed divorce state, which means you can file for divorce amicably (no-fault) or due to your partner's misconduct (fault-based).
In no-fault cases, only one spouse has to state on record that the marriage isn't working out and the couple has decided to part ways. Fault-based divorce cases, however, require sufficient grounds and proof.
Acceptable Grounds for Divorce (Fault-based)
The following are legally acceptable reasons for divorce in the state of Georgia:
Intermarriage within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity
Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage
Impotency at the time of the marriage
Force or fraud in obtaining the marriage
Impregnation of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the husband
Adultery by either party after marriage
Willful and continued desertion by a spouse for a year
The conviction of either party for moral turpitude leading to imprisonment for two years or longer
Habitual drinking or drug addiction
Cruel treatment (physical or mental)
Incurable mental illness
In some cases, the court may decide to annul the marriage because it was never valid to begin with. Possible grounds for annulment include bigamy or one or both spouses being under the legal age.
Knowing Which Type of Divorce to Choose
It is tricky to choose which type of divorce one should file for when the marriage reaches an irretrievable breakdown. A person may opt for a no-fault divorce to speed things up and avoid publicly shaming the other spouse.
That being said, a person may be so hurt and damaged in the relationship that they want to put it on record. The challenge with fault-based divorce cases is that one has to prove their allegations in court — failure to do so can lead the judge to deny or dismiss your request.
It is best to consult an experienced family law attorney like Noreen Banks-Ware to determine which divorce option is best for your situation.
Filing for Divorce
If you think your marriage has reached a dead end, you can file for divorce, provided that you meet the requirements.
In order to file for divorce, at least one spouse should be a resident of Georgia for at least six months.
How Long Does Divorce Take?
The court cannot grant a divorce for at least 30 dates from the date when the plaintiff serves the defendant.
Work with a Compassionate Family Law Attorney
Even the most amicable divorce cases can be overwhelming. E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm LLC provides legal services in Lithonia, Georgia, to individuals seeking to end their marriage. Attorney Noreen Banks-Ware will help you navigate the complexities of family law. If you are located in Decatur, Conyers, Covington, McDonough, Lawrenceville, and Lithonia, Georgia, call today for a free consultation.