What Are Grounds For Divorce?

What Are Grounds For Divorce?

There is technically no such thing as a “no-fault” divorce in Georgia. Spouses may agree to divorce when the marriage is either “irretrievably broken” or when “irreconcilable differences” exist. Because of this, many sources claim that Georgia is a no-fault divorce state. The 13 grounds for divorce in Georgia include:

  1. Adultery or bigamy
  2. Pregnancy by a man other than the husband, without the husband’s knowledge, at the time of marriage
  3. Intermarriage between prohibited degrees of kinship (i.e. incest)
  4. Willful and continued desertion for at least one year
  5. Constructive desertion, in which a spouse “leaves the relationship” without actually leaving the home; i.e. refusal of marital duties; engaging in dangerous conduct that endangers health, safety, or even the self-respect of the filing party.
  6. Mental incapacitation at the time of marriage
  7. Incurable mental illness with confinement to a hospital or mental institution for at least three years. At least two or more psychiatrists must present proof of an incurable diagnosis. A court-appointed attorney will defend the incapacitated spouse.
  8. Cruel treatment
  9. Force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage
  10. Impotency at the time of marriage
  11. Conviction of a crime (misdemeanor or felony) with the guilty spouse serving at least 12 months of a minimum 3-year sentence
  12. Habitual intoxication
  13. Habitual drug addiction
  14. Irreconcilable differences (marriage is irretrievably broken)


If you wish to file for divorce in Georgia, you must provide at least one ground or reason as to why you are applying. You may also provide more than one ground or reason.

Georgia divorce code states that “No divorce shall be granted” if spouses consented to the activities mentioned as grounds for divorce. Additionally, the state may refuse a divorce if both parties are guilty. If the respondent enters a defense plea, a jury may examine the case and refuse the divorce.

Desertion and Good Faith- In the case of desertion, Georgia divorce law allows the deserting party to return at any time before 12 months have passed and gives that party the opportunity to make a “good faith” effort to fix the relationship. If the deserted party denies a good faith effort to return, then the deserting party can sue for desertion based on his or her spouse’s refusal. This is only true in actual “good faith” efforts at repairing the marriage, however: If the deserting party returns and wants to make things right after discovering that the divorce will be costly, he or she is not covered by the “good faith” return clause.

In any case, the party wishing to file for divorce on grounds other than irreconcilable differences must be able to prove fault.