When a person petitions the court for divorce, they must set out a legal basis for the divorce. There are thirteen legal justifications for divorce. Twelve of those reasons are so-called “fault” reasons. This means that they are based on misconduct or bad conduct or conditions of some kind. The last reason has been interpreted by Georgia courts to be a no-fault ground of divorce.
In other words, a person can get a divorce in Georgia simply because they ask for a divorce without proving any fault on the part of the other party. This is a non-contestable basis for divorce. Even though the ground is that the marriage is irretrievably broken, it cannot be defended against on the basis that the parties could do more to try to save the marriage. The legal reasons for divorce are:
- Marriage between persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity;
- Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage;
- Impotency at the time of the marriage;
- Force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage;
- Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband at the time of the marriage, which was unknown to the husband;
- Adultery committed by either of the parties after marriage;
- Desertion by either of the parties that is willful and continued for at least one year;
- 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;
- Habitual intoxication;
- Cruel treatment, including the willful infliction of pain, bodily or mental, upon the complaining party, such as reasonably justifies apprehension of danger to life, limb, or health;
- Incurable mental illness;
- Habitual drug addiction, which shall consist of addiction to any controlled substance as defined in Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 16; or
- The marriage is irretrievably broken.
In some cases it is important to allege and prove a fault ground in order to cut off certain claims for relief by the at fault party. It is important to consult fully with your divorce lawyer to address and consider these issues.
Whatever the reason for your seeking a divorce, NMS Law Firm looks forward to consulting with you.