Friday, July 31, 2009

Fault Grounds in a Georgia Divorce

Georgia law does not require that "fault grounds" be alleged or proven. Many parties get divorced in Georgia on the simple ground that the marriage is "irretrievably broken." But there are times when it might be advantageous for a party to a Georgia divorce to raise adultery, or another fault ground. For example, adultery by the other party may operate as a bar to alimony. So, it is important for you to discuss all the facts with your Georgia divorce lawyer to see if alleging a fault ground may be helpful to your case.

In Georgia, the fault grounds are set forth in O.C.G.A. section 19-5-3 and summarized here:
(1) Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguity or affinity;
(2) Mental incapacity at the time of marriage;
(3) Impotency at the time of 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, (in some circumstances, as set forth in the divorce statute);
(12) Habitual drug addiction, which shall consist of addiction to any controlled substance (as defined in the statute); and
(13) The marriage is irretrievably broken.

Please consult with your own Georgia divorce attorney about these fault grounds and about any other questions you may have about obtaining a Georgia divorce.

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