Continuing our blog series Georgia’s thirteen statutory grounds for divorce according to O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3, here is ground number eleven.
Reason #11: Your spouse has an incurable mental illness.
Unlike some of the other reasons to seek divorce in Georgia discussed in this series, this eleventh reason to seek divorce in Georgia is relatively straightforward and well defined by Georgia statutory law. Specifically, if your spouse suffers from an incurable mental illness, you may seek a divorce in Georgia according to O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3 (11). This section of Georgia law states:
“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.”
O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3 (11).
As alluded to in the statutory law cited above, the rationale behind this reason for divorce is that a spouse suffering from an incurable mental illness is not able to fully appreciate the nature of the marital relationship or the rights and responsibilities that come along with that relationship. Thus, if your spouse suffers from an incurable mental illness, and you believe divorce may be the most appropriate plan of action, speak with an Atlanta Divorce Attorney to determine if the law allows for a divorce based on this grounds in your case.