Continuing our blog series Georgia’s thirteen statutory grounds for divorce according to O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3, here is ground number ten.
Reason #10: Your spouse is physically or mentally abusive.
Abuse is never acceptable during a relationship, whether it be a marital relationship, or any other type of romantic relationship. Abuse is not only unacceptable when it is physical abuse, but all forms of abuse, including mental and emotional abuse are similarly intolerable. With this being said, one spouse’s physical or mental abuse is the tenth reason to seek divorce in Georgia. Specifically, in Georgia, one party may seek a divorce based on cruel treatment suffered at the hands of the other spouse. O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3(10).
Georgia law defines cruel treatment as consisting 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.” O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3(10). As the definition suggests, it is not necessary for a spouse seeking a divorce on this grounds to show actual physical violence or abuse on the part of the offending spouse, but a divorce may be granted due to the mental or emotional abuse. Slaughter v. Slaughter, 190 Ga. 229, 232 (1940). In fact, Georgia case law suggests that a divorce may be granted due to one spouse’s infliction of mental anguish on the other spouse. Womble v. Womble, 214 Ga. 438 (1958); Ross v. Ross, 169 Ga. 529 (1929). However, to successfully prove that a divorce should be granted on this grounds, a petitioning spouse must show that the offending spouse intended to cause the mental or physical injury. Connor v. Connor, 212 Ga. 92, 94 (1955).