2020 Georgia Code
Title 19 - Domestic Relations
Chapter 10 - Abandonment of Child or Spouse
§ 19-10-2. Abandonment of Dependent Pregnant Wife; Criminal Penalties; Continuing Offense

Universal Citation: GA Code § 19-10-2 (2020)
  1. A wife who is pregnant with her husband's child shall be deemed to be in a dependent condition when her husband does not furnish her sufficient food, clothing, or medical treatment to meet her needs, both before and immediately upon the birth of the child.
  2. Any husband who willfully and voluntarily abandons his wife, while she is pregnant with his child, leaving her in a dependent condition, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
  3. Any husband who willfully and voluntarily abandons his wife while she is pregnant with his child and leaves the jurisdiction of this state shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than three years. The felony shall be reducible to a misdemeanor.
  4. For purposes of this Code section, a husband shall not be deemed to have abandoned his wife willfully and voluntarily unless he has actual knowledge of her pregnant condition.
  5. The offense of abandonment as set forth in this Code section is a continuing offense.
  6. The wife shall be competent to be a witness against her husband in any proceedings or cases brought against the husband for abandonment as set forth in this Code section.

(Code 1933, § 74-9903, enacted by Ga. L. 1964, p. 224, § 1.)

Cross references.

- Husband and wife as witnesses for and against each other in criminal proceedings, § 24-5-503.


For discussion of public policy underlying statute.

- See Garrett v. State, 125 Ga. App. 743, 188 S.E.2d 920 (1972).

Prosecution under former Code 1933, § 74-9903 (see now O.C.G.A. § 19-10-2) did not bar further prosecution for abandonment of the child under former Code 1933, § 74-9902 (see now O.C.G.A. § 19-10-1). Waites v. State, 138 Ga. App. 513, 226 S.E.2d 621 (1976).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 23 Am. Jur. 2d, Desertion and Nonsupport, §§ 1 et seq., 36.


- Criminal responsibility of husband for abandonment or nonsupport of wife, who refuses to live with him, 8 A.L.R. 1314.

Power to make abandonment, desertion, or nonsupport of wife or family criminal offense, 48 A.L.R. 1193.

Right to indigent defendant in paternity suit to have assistance of counsel at state expense, 4 A.L.R.4th 363.

Crimes against spouse within exception permitting testimony by one spouse against other in criminal prosecution - modern state cases, 74 A.L.R.4th 223.



  • 19-10A-1. Short title.
  • 19-10A-2. Definitions.
  • 19-10A-3. Purpose.
  • 19-10A-4. No criminal prosecution for leaving child in custody of medical facility, fire station, or police station.
  • 19-10A-5. Investigating and reporting utilization of provisions.
  • 19-10A-6. Reimbursement of medical costs; placement with Department of Human Services.
  • 19-10A-7. Liability.
  • 19-10A-8. Posting of signs at medical facilities, fire stations, or police stations indicating authorized location for leaving newborns.
Cross references.

- Hospital care for pregnant women, § 31-8-40.

Law reviews.

- For note on the 2002 enactment of this chapter, see 19 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 151 (2002).

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