In order to begin a divorce proceeding, the party filing for divorce must first submit a petition.  In the petition, the party will cite the grounds for divorce. Grounds for divorce are divided into grounds of fault or grounds of no fault by either party. This means that Georgia allows parties to file for divorce when neither party is at fault. When the party wishes to file a no-fault divorce, the party will state in the petition that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This is a catch-all and is virtually unlimited. It does not matter if your spouse cheated on you or you can not stand the way he or she looks anymore. Therefore, the court will not look at the reason why you are seeking a dissolution and the motivation will not affect the outcome of your case. For instance, if you were cheated on, you will not get more than your community share of the marital property.  As previously stated, the other alternative is to file on grounds of fault. Georgia law contains 12 fault-based grounds for divorce.

What are the Grounds for a Fault-Based Divorce?

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment/Desertion
  • Cruel treatment
  • Incest
  • Mental incapacity
  • Fraud or duress
  • Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband
  • Imprisonment
  • Habitual intoxication
  • Incurable mental illness
  • Habitual drug addiction

How to Decide on What Grounds to File Divorce

Deciding on what grounds to file for divorce will depend upon each party’s personal situation.  Many decide upon a no-fault divorce because they do not qualify for any fault-based grounds.  Others may choose no-fault because they do not want to bring fault-based accusations into the divorce proceedings. On the other hand, many people decide upon a fault-based divorce for strategic reasons.   To begin, the establishment of fault-based grounds for divorce, such as incurable mental illness, habitual drug use, habitual intoxication, mental incapacity, and cruel treatment, may help to prove that this party is an unfit parent. This determination would then have a strong effect on a child custody determination. In a previous article, we discussed how a marital affair can bar that party from receiving alimony. Therefore, the party who may be ordered to pay alimony may want to pursue this fault-based divorce in order to save him or herself from this order. On the other hand, a spouse guilty of adultery may also have supported his or her affair with marital assets. This would then affect how the marital property is divided because the financial assets, which are marital property, were used towards the commission of adultery instead of on the marriage. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum will help you in navigating through this difficult time.  Our dedicated team will discuss the various options for filing divorce with you and how each may impact your specific situation. Through this process we will assist and guide you in deciding what course of action is best for you. Popular Resources:
  1. Getting a Divorce
  2. Navigating Child Custody
  3. Child Support Guide
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