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In Georgia Can You Get a Divorce for No Sex in Marriage?

The story of the Frenchman that was ordered to pay his wife $14,000 for failing to have sex with her for 21 years is making the rounds, reports CBS Atlanta.

In the now infamous case, a judge in Nice ruled that among married couples “sexual relations must form part of a marriage.”

This prompted CBS News to locate a study by Georgia State University which found that 15 percent of married couples haven’t had sex with their spouses in the last six-months-to-one-year.

However, because Georgia is one of the few states that has both a no-fault and fault-based divorce, the question also rises: can you get a divorce in Georgia based on no sex in marriage?

The short answer is probably, yes.

Fault-based divorce in Georgia is available under the following circumstances:

  • Adultery
  • Cruel treatment (infliction of bodily pain or danger to life and limb)
  • Desertion
  • Illegal intermarriage with a close relative
  • Mental incapacity at wedding date
  • Impotency at wedding date
  • Using force or duress to make the other spouse agree to marry
  • Pregnancy of wife by another man at wedding date
  • Conviction for a crime of "moral turpitude" with at least a two year jail term
  • Habitual intoxication (alcohol only)
  • Habitual drug addiction (controlled substance as defined by lw)
  • Incurable mental illness (extremely strict)

Out of all these, the fault-based divorce that most applies to a no-sex-in-marriage situation is marital desertion. Refusing intimacy on a continuous basis for at least one year is often enough to satisfy desertion.

So if the French case happened in Georgia, it is conceiveable that the wife could have also gotten a divorce under a marital desertion argument.

It is important to note that most other states do not have fault-based grounds any longer. Georgia is pretty unique. Fault-based divorce makes a big difference when it comes to questions of alimony and spousal support, so if you are considering divorce -- whether because of no-sex or otherwise -- you should look into the difference between fault-based and no-fault divorce.

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