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Georgia Grounds for Divorce – Marriage is Irretrievably Broken

In Georgia, parties cannot obtain a divorce except on one of 13 grounds allowed by law,the thirteenth of which is “[t]he marriage is irretrievably broken.” OCGA §19-5-3(13). A divorce under this ground is generally referred to as a no-fault divorce.

A marriage is irretrievably broken “where either or both parties are unable or refuse to cohabit and there are no prospects for reconciliation.” Harwell v. Harwell, 233 Ga. 89, 91(1974). However, both parties do not need to agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The Supreme Court has held that “where one of the parties to a marriage refuses to cohabit with the other and testifies that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the fact that the other party maintains hope for reconciliation will not suppose a finding…that there are ‘prospects for reconciliation.’” McCoy v. McCoy, 236 Ga. 633, 634 (1976). Therefore, if one party requests a divorce on this ground and testifies that there is no chance of reconciliation, the other party cannot prevent the divorce simply by testifying that he/she believes they can reconcile.

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