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Georgia Grounds for Divorce – Cruel Treatment

In Georgia, parties cannot obtain a divorce except on one of 13 grounds allowed by law.OCGA §19-5-3. The tenth ground under the statute is “[c]ruel treatment, which shall consist of the willful infliction of pain, bodily or mental, upon the complaining party, such as reasonablyjustifies apprehension of danger to life, limb, or health.” OCGA §19-5-3(10).

In order to obtain a divorce under this ground, the offending party must intend wound his/her spouse. Connor v. Connor, 212 Ga. 92, 94 (1955). It should be noted, however, that actualphysical violence is not necessary. Slaughter v. Slaughter, 190 Ga. 229, 232 (1940). Generally, a party may not obtain a divorce under this ground based upon a single act of cruelty orviolence, but if the single act is “accompanied by circumstances indicating a probability of repetition of similar conduct,” this may be sufficient. Phinzy v. Phinzy, 154 Ga. 199, 213(1922). In addition, in certain instances, nagging and mental anguish have been held sufficient to obtain a divorce based upon cruel treatment. Womble v. Womble, 214 Ga. 438 (1958);Ross v. Ross, 169 Ga. 529 (1929).

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