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Acceptable Grounds for Divorce in Georgia

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The state of Georgia recognizes no-fault and fault-based divorce processes for a couple wishing to end their marriage. In fault cases, your divorce will be blamed solely on the actions of either you or your spouse. This can influence a judge’s decision about spousal support, child support and custody plans.

In Georgia, the 12 recognized grounds for divorce based on fault are:

  • Intermarriage: The spouses are directly related to each other.
  • Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage: One spouse was unfit to consent properly to a marriage, most commonly because of drug or alcohol usage before the ceremony.
  • Impotency at the time of marriage: A divorce can be granted if a spouse was sexually impotent at the time of the marriage, and the other spouse did not know.
  • Force, menace, duress or fraud in obtaining the marriage: Marriages that take place under threats of violence or fraud are subject to dissolution by a judge.
  • Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband at the time of the marriage: The pregnancy is a proper ground for divorce only if the husband was unaware that the woman he was marrying was pregnant by another man.
  • Adultery: A spouse has a sexual relationship with another party outside of the marriage.
  • Abandonment: If your spouse abandons you for more than a year, a judge can dissolve your marriage.
  • Conviction: This is an acceptable ground for divorce if your spouse has been convicted to a prison sentence of two or more years for a crime involving moral turpitude.
  • Habitual intoxication: This condition involves an extended period of alcohol abuse and addiction.
  • Cruel treatment: Various kinds of physical and mental abuse perpetrated by your spouse are considered cruelty.
  • Incurable mental illness: A divorce may be granted if your spouse has been institutionalized for more than two years since your marriage.
  • Drug addiction: An extended period of drug abuse/addiction is a ground for divorce.

Contact Athens divorce attorney Michael S. Brown to discuss your options in pursuing a fault-based divorce from your spouse.

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What Are Your Rights if You Are Pulled Over?

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It never feels good to see the red and blue flashing lights of a police car in your rearview mirror, signaling you to pull over. Right away, your mind begins to race. What could you have done wrong, and how will you pay for any tickets you get? However, what you may not think about are your rights as an American citizen.

Under the law, you have some protection from unintentionally incriminating yourself. If you are pulled over by the police, keep these basic rights in mind:

  • An officer must have a reason to pull you over: A police officer cannot just pull you over without probable cause. Most drug busts happen because a driver was speeding or had a broken tail light. Without a firm reason such as those, the police cannot pull you over.
  • Don’t pull over if it’s not safe: If you believe that pulling your car over on a dangerous road would put your safety at risk, you can signal to an officer that you will continue driving until you are able to go off to the side of the road in a secure spot.
  • You can refuse a Breathalyzer® test at your own risk: It’s within your rights to refuse a Breathalyzer test in Georgia; however, such a refusal violates the state’s implied consent law. Your refusal could lead to a suspension of your license and a heavy fine unless you challenge the ruling.
  • A police officer can’t search your vehicle without cause: The police do not have the right to search your car without your permission, unless an officer notices something illegal — such as a container of alcohol — in plain view. However, a police officer can begin to search without a warrant if he or she notices exigent circumstances that force the issue, such as the destruction of evidence. This situation is most common in drug stops. However, without cause, evidence or exigent circumstances, the officer has no legal right to enter your car.

To better understand your rights, call Georgia criminal defense attorneys Michael S. Brown and Kim Stephens immediately after you are pulled over.

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