2021 Georgia Code
Title 19 - Domestic Relations
Chapter 5 - Divorce
§ 19-5-3. Grounds for Total Divorce
The following grounds shall be sufficient to authorize the granting of a total divorce:
- Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity;
- Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage;
- Impotency at the time of the marriage;
- Force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage;
- Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the husband;
- Adultery in either of the parties after marriage;
- Willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year;
- The conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude, under which he is sentenced to imprisonment in a penal institution for a term of two years or longer;
- Habitual intoxication;
- Cruel treatment, which shall consist of the willful infliction of pain, bodily or mental, upon the complaining party, such as reasonably justifies apprehension of danger to life, limb, or health;
- Incurable mental illness. No divorce shall be granted upon this ground unless the mentally ill party has been adjudged mentally ill by a court of competent jurisdiction or has been certified to be mentally ill by two physicians who have personally examined the party; and he has been confined in an institution for the mentally ill or has been under continuous treatment for mental illness for a period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the action; and the superintendent or other chief executive officer of the institution and one competent physician appointed by the court, after a thorough examination, make a certified statement under oath that it is their opinion that the party evidences such a want of reason, memory, and intelligence as to prevent the party from comprehending the nature, duties, and consequences of the marriage relationship and that, in the light of present day medical knowledge, recovery of the party's mental health cannot be expected at any time during his life. Notice of the action must be served upon the guardian of the person of the mentally ill person and upon the superintendent or other chief executive officer of the institution in which the person is confined. In the event that there is no guardian of the person, then notice of the action shall be served upon a guardian ad litem, who shall be appointed by the court in which the divorce action is filed, and upon the superintendent or chief executive officer of the institution in which the person is confined. The guardian and superintendent shall be entitled to appear and be heard upon the issues. The status of the parties as to the support and maintenance of the mentally ill person shall not be altered in any way by the granting of the divorce;
- Habitual drug addiction, which shall consist of addiction to any controlled substance as defined in Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 16; or
- The marriage is irretrievably broken. Under no circumstances shall the court grant a divorce on this ground until not less than 30 days from the date of service on the respondent.
(Laws 1850, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 226; Code 1863, § 1670; Code 1868, § 1711; Code 1873, § 1712; Code 1882, § 1712; Civil Code 1895, § 2426; Civil Code 1910, § 2945; Code 1933, § 30-102; Ga. L. 1946, p. 90, § 2; Ga. L. 1951, p. 744, § 1; Ga. L. 1962, p. 600, § 1; Ga. L. 1963, p. 288, § 1; Ga. L. 1971, p. 361, § 1; Ga. L. 1972, p. 633, § 1; Ga. L. 1973, p. 557, § 1; Ga. L. 1977, p. 1253, § 3; Ga. L. 2016, p. 864, § 19/HB 737.)
The 2016 amendment, effective May 3, 2016, part of an Act to revise, modernize, and correct the Code, added "or" at the end of paragraph (12).Cross references.
- Criminal penalty for adultery, § 16-6-19.
Rights and privileges of persons hospitalized for mental illness generally, § 37-3-140 et seq.Law reviews.
- For article discussing the irretrievably broken marriage as a ground for divorce, see 10 Ga. St. B.J. 9 (1973). For article surveying Georgia cases dealing with domestic relations from June 1977 through May 1978, see 30 Mercer L. Rev. 59 (1978). For note, "The Impact of the Revolution in Georgia's Divorce Law on Antenuptial Agreements," see 11 Ga. L. Rev. 406 (1977).JUDICIAL DECISIONS
- General Consideration
- Cruel Treatment
- Marriage Irretrievably Broken
- Other Grounds for Divorce
Am. Jur. 2d.
- 24 Am. Jur. 2d, Divorce and Separation, §§ 19 et seq., 324 et seq.
8B Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Divorce and Separation, § 32.C.J.S.
- 27A C.J.S., Divorce, § 21 et seq.ALR.
- Sufficiency of allegation of adultery in suit for divorce, 2 A.L.R. 1621.
Desertion as affected by element of remonstrance or resistance, 3 A.L.R. 503.
Forcing spouse to get rid of child by former marriage as cruelty constituting ground for divorce, 3 A.L.R. 803.
Abuse by relatives of other spouse as cruelty constituting ground for divorce, 3 A.L.R. 993.
Conduct amounting to treatment endangering life within statute defining grounds for divorce, 5 A.L.R. 712.
Venereal disease as ground for divorce or annulment of marriage, 5 A.L.R. 1016; 8 A.L.R. 1540.
Desertion as affected by intimations of a possible consent to the renewal of marital relations in the future, 12 A.L.R. 1391.
Misrepresentation or mistake as to identity or condition in life of one of the parties as affecting validity of marriage, 14 A.L.R. 121; 75 A.L.R. 663.
Divorce: offer after lapse of statutory period of desertion to resume marital relations, 18 A.L.R. 630.
Birth of child or miscarriage before or after lapse of normal period of gestation since access of husband as evidence of adultery, 21 A.L.R. 1457.
Divorce for desertion predicated upon conduct subsequent to a decree of separation, 25 A.L.R. 1047; 61 A.L.R. 1268.
Adultery by deserted spouse after desertion, as ground of divorce in favor of other spouse, 25 A.L.R. 1051.
Refusal of one spouse to live with relatives of other as affecting desertion as ground of divorce or separation, 47 A.L.R. 687.
Charges, in divorce suit, of marital misconduct as cruelty within statute defining grounds of divorce, 51 A.L.R. 1188.
Necessity that drunkenness to constitute ground for divorce shall continue until commencement of suit or later, 54 A.L.R. 331.
Divorce for desertion predicated upon conduct subsequent to a decree of separation, or divorce a mensa et thoro, 61 A.L.R. 1268.
Discretion as to denial of divorce or separation where statutory grounds are established, 74 A.L.R. 271.
Insistence on living with relatives as cruelty for purposes of divorce or separation, 76 A.L.R. 985.
Request or demand for resumption of marital relations as affected by conditions attached or alternatives suggested, 76 A.L.R. 1023.
Divorce a vinculo for desertion predicated upon conduct prior to decree of separation, 95 A.L.R. 234.
Subsequent adultery as recriminatory defense to desertion or cruelty, 101 A.L.R. 646.
Insanity as substantive ground of divorce or separation, 113 A.L.R. 1248; 24 A.L.R.2d 873.
What amounts to habitual intemperance, drunkenness, excessive drug use, and the like within statute relating to substantive grounds for divorce, 101 ALR6th 455.
Cruelty predicated upon acts or conduct during separation as ground for divorce or separation, 129 A.L.R. 160.
Character or nature of crime contemplated by statute as substantive ground for divorce, 135 A.L.R. 851.
Construction and application of statutory provision requiring security for maintenance of defendant as condition of divorce or annulment of marriage because of insanity, 141 A.L.R. 946.
Accusation of improper relations as cruelty constituting ground for divorce or separation, 143 A.L.R. 623.
Separation due to husband's refusal or inability to support wife as desertion within divorce statute, 150 A.L.R. 991.
Association or conduct of spouse with persons of opposite sex as cruelty or abusive treatment justifying divorce or separation, 157 A.L.R. 631.
Doctrine of comparative rectitude in divorce cases, 159 A.L.R. 734.
Conduct of plaintiff in divorce suit, not of itself a cause for divorce, as basis of defense of recrimination, 159 A.L.R. 1453.
Divorce on ground of husband's gifts of his property to third persons, 160 A.L.R. 620.
Recrimination as an absolute or qualified defense in divorce cases, 170 A.L.R. 1076.
Validity and construction of statute respecting divorce in favor of spouse whose husband or wife has obtained divorce in another state, 175 A.L.R. 293.
Testimony of children as to grounds of divorce of their parents, 2 A.L.R.2d 1329.
Avoidance of procreation of children as ground for divorce or annulment of marriage, 4 A.L.R.2d 227.
Antenuptial knowledge relating to alleged grounds as barring right to divorce, 15 A.L.R.2d 670.
Requisites of proof of insanity as a ground for divorce, 15 A.L.R.2d 1135.
What constitutes duress sufficient to warrant divorce or annulment of marriage, 16 A.L.R.2d 1430.
Insanity as affecting right to divorce or separation, 19 A.L.R.2d 144.
Conviction in another jurisdiction as within statute making conviction of crime a ground of divorce, 19 A.L.R.2d 1047.
Divorce: acts or omissions of spouse causing other spouse to leave home as desertion by former, 19 A.L.R.2d 1428.
Insanity as substantive ground of divorce or separation, 24 A.L.R.2d 873.
Racial, religious, or political differences as ground for divorce, separation, or annulment, 25 A.L.R.2d 928.
Wife's failure to follow husband to new domicile as constituting desertion or abandonment as ground for divorce, 29 A.L.R.2d 474.
Condonation of cruel treatment as defense to action for divorce or separation, 32 A.L.R.2d 107.
Charge of insanity or attempt to have spouse committed to mental institution as ground for divorce or judicial separation, 33 A.L.R.2d 1230.
Sufficiency of allegations of desertion, abandonment, or living apart as ground for divorce, separation, or alimony, 57 A.L.R.2d 468.
Concealed premarital unchastity or parenthood as ground of divorce or annulment, 64 A.L.R.2d 742.
What constitutes impotency as ground for divorce, 65 A.L.R.2d 776.
Charging spouse with criminal misconduct as cruelty constituting ground for divorce, 72 A.L.R.2d 1197.
Drunkenness, habitual intemperance, or use of drugs as constituting cruelty as a ground for divorce, 76 A.L.R.2d 419.
Homosexuality as ground for divorce, 78 A.L.R.2d 807.
Divorce: time of pendency of former suit for divorce, annulment, alimony, or maintenance as included in period of desertion, 80 A.L.R.2d 855.
Mistreatment of children as ground for divorce, 82 A.L.R.2d 1361.
Threats or attempts to commit suicide as cruelty or indignity constituting a ground for divorce, 86 A.L.R.2d 422.
Insistence on sex relations as cruelty or indignity constituting ground for divorce, 88 A.L.R.2d 553.
Acts occurring after commencement of suit for divorce as ground for decree under original complaint, 98 A.L.R.2d 1264.
Construction of statute making bigamy or prior lawful subsisting marriage to third person a ground for divorce, 3 A.L.R.3d 1108.
Single act as basis of divorce or separation on ground of cruelty, 7 A.L.R.3d 761.
Power of court to grant absolute divorce to both spouses upon showing of mutual fault, 13 A.L.R.3d 1364.
Fault of spouse as affecting right to divorce under statute making separation a substantive ground of divorce, 14 A.L.R.3d 502.
Concealment of or misrepresentation as to prior marital status as ground for annulment of marriage, 15 A.L.R.3d 759.
Retrospective effect of statute prescribing grounds of divorce, 23 A.L.R.3d 626.
Separation within statute making separation a substantive ground of divorce, 35 A.L.R.3d 1238.
Incapacity for sexual intercourse as ground for annulment, 52 A.L.R.3d 589.
Refusal of sexual intercourse as justifying divorce or separation, 82 A.L.R.3d 660.
Transvestism or transsexualism of spouse as justifying divorce, 82 A.L.R.3d 725.
What constitutes "incompatibility" within statute specifying it as substantive ground for divorce, 97 A.L.R.3d 989.
Insanity as defense to divorce or separation - post 1950 cases, 67 A.L.R.4th 277.
Homosexuality as ground for divorce, 96 A.L.R.5th 83.
What amounts to habitual intemperance, drunkenness, excessive drug use, and the like within statute relating to substantive grounds for divorce, 101 A.L.R.6th 455.