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Grounds for divorce in Georgia

In Georgia, marriage is a legally-binding contract that can only be dissolved through the courts. Couples who believe that their marriage is irretrievably broken may file for a no-fault divorce. With this option, there is no need to show wrongdoing on the part of either party. The only requirement is that one spouse must establish that he or she will no longer reside with the other party and that there is no hope of reconciliation.

There are other instances where one party may want to establish that the other is at fault for the dissolution of the marriage. Georgia recognizes twelve different fault grounds. These include mental abuse, physical abuse, mental incapacity at the time of marriage, impotency at the time of marriage, marriage under fraudulent pretenses, addictions and mental illness. The conviction and imprisonment of one of the spouses for certain crimes is also included.

Adultery is a fault ground encompassing both heterosexual and homosexual relations. If one party deserts the other spouse for a period of one year or longer, then the remaining spouse may file on the grounds of desertion. If a man finds that his wife was pregnant at the time of the marriage and he was unaware of the pregnancy, then he can file for a divorce.

When filing for a divorce, knowing what qualifying grounds exist can help expedite the process. If any of these grounds can be proven in court, then it simplifies the process for the party requesting the divorce. Consulting with an attorney who has experience in divorce matters can be beneficial, not only for a determination of how to proceed but also in the negotiation of a comprehensive property settlement agreement.

Source: State Bar of Georgia , "Divorce", October 15, 2014

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