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Thirteen Reasons to Divorce in Georgia: Part 9

Continuing our blog series Georgia’s thirteen statutory grounds for divorce according to O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3, here is ground number nine.

Reason #9: Your spouse is a drunk.

 Alcohol and substance abuse has the potential to cause many problems in the lives of individuals facing such addictions, such as physical, emotional, and legal difficulties. Not only do those living with such addictions suffer the potential consequences, but their families must also contend with any negative effects. Additionally, it is not uncommon for alcohol and substance abuse on the part of one spouse to result in marital issues stemming from the addiction, like financial strain, abandonment or infidelity.

Due to the damaging impact alcohol abuse may have on a marriage, the “habitual intoxication” of one spouse is the ninth reason to seek a Georgia divorce. O.C.G.A. § 19-5-3(9). Although the statutory law allowing for divorce based on this ground does not specifically define “habitual intoxication,” Georgia case law gives guidance on what a spouse seeking a divorce on this basis must show to prevail. To obtain a divorce due to the other spouse’s “habitual intoxication,” it is not necessary for the petitioning spouse to prove his or her spouse was continuously and constantly drunk during the marriage. Fuller v. Fuller, 108 Ga. 256 (1899). However, a petitioning spouse may not simply show that the other spouse was drunk or under the influence of alcohol once during the marriage. Stimpson v. Stimpson, 213 Ga. 235 (1957). To prevail in a divorce action based on the other spouse’s “habitual intoxication,” the spouse seeking divorce must essentially establish a pattern of drunkenness.

 

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