There are many reasons why couples divorce. In Georgia, you can file for divorce under the claim that the actions of your spouse have led to the breakdown of your marriage.
This is considered a “fault-based” divorce by family law courts, and domestic violence is one of the many fault grounds allowed under Georgia law.
This can impact spousal support, child custody, and equitable division of property. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney helps you achieve the divorce settlement you need and protect you from an abusive spouse.
Domestic Violence in Divorce
Domestic violence includes any act of abuse, threat, or intimidation of a spouse, child, or companion. Although most people think of physical abuse when discussing domestic violence, it can also include sexual, mental, and emotional abuse.
Assault, trespassing, and property damage can all be considered as acts of domestic violence. If you’re a victim of abuse, you can use it as grounds for your divorce.
Individuals can seek temporary protective (restraining) orders to prevent further abuse by filing a petition with the courts. The petition must be verified by a notary, and it must include information related to any domestic violence.
You must demonstrate that a violent act has occurred recently and may arise in the near future. A protective order can also affect decisions made regarding child custody, visitation, and support.
Fault and No-Fault Divorce in Georgia
A fault-based divorce occurs when one person accuses the other of causing the marriage to end. Georgia state law allows for 12 fault grounds for divorce.
In addition to domestic violence, other fault grounds include adultery, willful desertion for a period of one year, alcohol abuse, mental illness, and drug addiction.
In order to file for a fault-based divorce, you need to gather and submit evidence that supports your allegations of domestic abuse or other actions that have led to the end of the marriage.
No-fault divorce occurs when a spouse believes that the marriage is over for no specified reason. In most cases, they can simply cite “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the divorce.
No-fault divorces let couples end their marriages quickly. It results in fewer conflicts and reduces the legal fees otherwise required in a fault-based divorce. It gives spouses the privacy they need to avoid making private matters public.
No-fault divorces make up the majority of divorce cases. But domestic violence allows you to cite abuse as the reason for the divorce. This will also influence how decisions related to your marriage are made.
Fault-based divorces provide the courts with evidence that should be considered when securing the wellbeing of either spouse and any children.
Protecting You and Your Family During and After Your Divorce
In addition to filing a petition for a protective order, there are other legal strategies you can use to protect your family.
Your family law attorney can guide you through the divorce process while protecting your personal assets, custody rights, and future financial wellbeing.
Understanding the grounds for divorce allowed under Georgia law helps you choose the right legal strategies for your own circumstances.
Victims of domestic violence may be entitled to receive a larger portion of marital assets. You may be granted sole custody of your child and the alimony needed to maintain your standard of living and obtain the skills to enter the workforce.
Fault grounds have unique implications for divorce decisions. Understanding how domestic violence impacts your divorce case is the first step to securing the outcome you need.