No Fault Divorces in Georgia

No fault divorces are becoming increasingly common in Georgia. Traditionally, a party seeking a divorce would have to establish some type of fault recognized by statute in order for a court to grant a divorce. Fault may also be considered in the distribution of property as well as in child custody awards. Under Georgia law, there are 12 fault-based grounds upon which spouses may seek a divorce, including:

  • Marriage based on relationships prohibited by law
  • Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage
  • Impotency at the time of the marriage
  • Force, duress or fraud in obtaining the marriage
  • Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, where at the time of the marriage, the pregnancy was unknown to the husband
  • Adultery by either of the parties after marriage
  • Willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for at least one year
  • The conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, which carries a sentence of imprisonment for a term of two years or longer
  • Habitual intoxication or drug addiction
  • Cruel treatment, including physical or mental abuse
  • Incurable mental illness

When troubled marriages do not fall into these categories (even though the parties may believe that they do) a divorce may be granted on a no-fault basis. In these situations, a spouse seeking a divorce need only allege (and prove) that he or she refuses to live with the other spouse and that no hope of reconciliation exists between the parties. The parties need not agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and no showing of fault or wrongdoing on the part of either spouse is necessary.

Parties seeking no-fault divorces must still resolve questions regarding the division of marital assets and debts, and reach an accord on child custody, visitation and support issues.

If you have questions about no-fault divorces or the legal implications of seeking a fault-based divorce, an experienced attorney can advise you.