In the State of Georgia there are several statutory grounds for divorce. Among them include mental incapacity, duress, impotency at the time of marriage, adultery and desertion. Many people believe that a spouse simply leaving the marital home is cause for a fault based divorce. However, in Georgia there is a period of time in which the departed spouse has to remain away from the marriage in order for it to be considered desertion. Additionally, there has to be a clear intent on the part of the deserting spouse to be away from the marriage. This requirement is codified in O.C.G.A §19-5-3 which states that the willful and continued desertion by either of the parties must be for a period of one year.
Ultimately, being able to prove that a spouse has deserted the marriage would make the deserting spouse the cause of the divorce. In other words they would be at fault. There are considerable differences between a no fault divorce and a fault divorce. For instance, a no fault divorce often times will simply state that the marriage is irretrievably broken without blaming a spouse for it’s demise. This will typically put both parties on equal footing when resolving issues such as custody, alimony and the division of assets. However, in contrast, a finding of fault could potentially have an impact on the court’s determination of alimony as well as the division of marital property. Essentially, it is likely that the deserting spouse will be at a considerable disadvantage during the negotiation process.
The Faucette Law Firm specializes in all matters related to contested and uncontested divorce, child support, child custody, alimony, modifications and legitimation in Georgia. If you feel as though you have a legal grounds for a fault divorce based on desertion by your spouse or you are in need of representation to defend against a claim of desertion our firm can assist. We serve the Douglasville, Cobb and Atlanta area. Contact our law firm today for a consultation.