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Georgia Grounds for Divorce – Incurable Mental Illness

In Georgia, parties cannot obtain a divorce except on one of 13 grounds allowed by law.OCGA §19-5-3. The eleventh ground under the statute is “[i]ncurable mental illness.” OCGA §19-5-3(11).

There are three strict requirements necessary to obtain a divorce under this ground: (1) the mentally ill party must be adjudged to be mentally ill by the court or must be certified to be mentally ill by two physicians who have each personally examined the party; (2) the mentally ill party must have been in a mental institution or under continuous treatment for mental illness for at least two years preceding the filing of the divorce action; and (3) a chief executive officer of the institution and one physician appointed by the court must make a thorough examination of the party and certify 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.” OCGA19-5-3(11).

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