The 12 Legal Grounds for Divorce in Georgia

When you get divorced in Georgia, do you have to give a reason?

Yes and no.

Technically, when you fill out the divorce paperwork, you have to state a reason. The most common reason is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” which amounts to a no-fault divorce.

However, there are other reasons you can give. Here’s an overview of all the legal grounds you can give for divorce in Georgia.


1. The Marriage is Irretrievably Broken

This is typically the easiest and cheapest way to get divorced. If both parties agree on this point, and there are no other disagreements in terms of how your assets are divided up, this is how you get divorced without going to mediation or court.

2. Adultery

If either party slept with anyone outside the relationship while married, adultery can be given as a reason. If you both categorized your relationship as “open,” however, it may not apply.

Courts may not agree to grant alimony to a cheating spouse even if they have a financial need and the other spouse has the ability to pay, which is why some people pick this reason.

3. Addiction Issues

This applies to situations where a spouse has issues with drug or alcohol addiction, and makes no attempt to overcome these problems. Courts are sometimes  unwilling to award child custody to spouses with addiction problems.

4. Mental Incapacity at The Time of Marriage

A spouse can claim mental incapacity to agree to a marriage due to a mental health issue, intoxication, or other conditions.

5. One Spouse Was Unwillingly Forced or Coerced Into the Marriage

 Under this claim, one spouse pressured the other into the marriage through any means, including intimidation, fear, threats, or manipulation.

6. Pregnancy with Someone Else’s Child

In Georgia, if a woman was pregnant with someone else’s child at the time of the marriage and didn’t tell her new spouse, it’s grounds for divorce.

7. Impotence

If the husband was impotent at the time of marriage and the wife did not know of this condition, it’s also grounds for divorce.


8. Abuse

Both physical and mental abuse are grounds for divorce in Georgia. Courts are often unwilling to award alimony or child custody to spouses who are proven to be abusive.

9. Incest

If you and your spouse are closely related, it’s grounds for divorce. Marriage to stepchildren also counts as incest.

10. Incarceration

In Georgia, if you or your spouse was convicted of a crime involving “moral turpitude” and are incarcerated for two or more years, it’s grounds for divorce.

The term “moral turpitude” is used to define crimes that the public conscience considers particularly terrible. These may include murder, rape, child sexual abuse, aggravated kidnapping and assault, arson, fraud, theft, paternity fraud, and spouse abuse.

11. Serious Mental Illness

To qualify as grounds for divorce in Georgia, the mental illness needs to be considered incurable. This is sometimes difficult to prove. Generally, it requires testimony from two or more psychiatrists or doctors, as well as a history of institutionalization.

12. Willful Desertion

If one spouse leaves the marriage for a period of a year or more, with no intention of coming back, it’s grounds for divorce.

Talk to a Divorce Attorney in Chamblee

If you’re going through a divorce, often no-fault is the easiest, cheapest option but sometimes, choosing one of the other reasons is a necessary strategy.

If you need someone experienced to guide you through this process and fight for your rights in court, if need be, we can help. Call (404) 260-6330 now for a free, confidential consultation.