Though divorce ultimately has the same outcome for everyone — it ends a marriage — not all divorces are the same. Some states recognize two or more types of divorce. You may know this if you recently researched divorce in the Peach State.
Per SmartAsset, Georgia recognizes no-fault, fault and total divorce. Which type for which you file depends on your alleged grounds for ending your marriage.
A no-fault divorce is the most common and least costly type of divorce in Georgia. When filing this type of divorce, you must only show that your marriage has experienced an “irretrievable breakdown” and that reconciliation is not possible. Neither you nor the other party must cite any specific reason.
Fault divorce, or contested divorce, is less common and typically results in higher legal fees for both parties. For a judge to grant a fault divorce, one or both parties must prove an acceptable reason. Acceptable grounds for a fault divorce include conviction of certain crimes (such as murder) and an associated prison sentence of at least two years, desertion for at least one year, adultery, cruel and unusual treatment, and drug addiction.
In Georgia, you can file for a “total divorce.” A total divorce is essentially a form of annulment in which the union becomes void. The only way you can receive a total divorce is if you can prove that your marriage was never valid. Invalid marriages include those between spouses who are too closely related, those in which one spouse is under the legal age, those in which one spouse was mentally incompetent at the time of marriage and those in which one spouse is already legally wed to someone else.
Not all divorces are the same. Before filing, do your homework to ensure you file for the right type.