HB 434 - Divorce; marriage irretrievably broken; limit use

First Reader Summary

A BILL to amend Chapter 5 of Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to divorce, so as to limit the use of the ground that the marriage is irretrievably broken to enumerated circumstances; and for other purposes.

Joyce, Brian D (1st) Crews, Ronald A (78th) Yates, John Phillip (106th)
Davis, J. Max (60th) Snelling, Bob (99th) Hudgens, Ralph T (24th)
Status Summary HC: Judy SC: LA: 02/07/97 H - Read 2nd Time
Page Numbers - 1/ 2/ 3
Code Sections - 19-5-3
House Action Senate
2/6/97 Read 1st Time
2/7/97 Read 2nd Time

HB 434                                             LC 22 2496 
                        A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 
                               AN ACT 
  1- 1  To amend Chapter 5 of Title 19 of the Official Code of 
  1- 2  Georgia Annotated, relating to divorce, so as to limit the 
  1- 3  use of the ground that the marriage is irretrievably broken 
  1- 4  to enumerated circumstances; to provide that a divorce on 
  1- 5  such ground shall not be granted until 180 days from the 
  1- 6  date of service; to provide an effective date; to repeal 
  1- 7  conflicting laws; and for other purposes. 
  1- 9                           SECTION 1. 
  1-10  Chapter 5 of Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia 
  1-11  Annotated, relating to divorce, is amended by striking Code 
  1-12  Section 19-5-3, relating to grounds for a total divorce, and 
  1-13  inserting in lieu thereof a new Code Section 19-5-3 to read 
  1-14  as follows: 
  1-15    "19-5-3. 
  1-16    The following grounds shall be sufficient to authorize the 
  1-17    granting of a total divorce: 
  1-18      (1) Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited 
  1-19      degrees of consanguinity or affinity; 
  1-20      (2) Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage; 
  1-21      (3) Impotency at the time of the marriage; 
  1-22      (4) Force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the 
  1-23      marriage; 
  1-24      (5) Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the 
  1-25      husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the 
  1-26      husband; 
  1-27      (6) Adultery in either of the parties after marriage; 
  1-28      (7) Willful and continued desertion by either of the 
  1-29      parties for the term of one year; 
  2- 1      (8) The conviction of either party for an offense 
  2- 2      involving moral turpitude, under which he or she is 
  2- 3      sentenced to imprisonment in a penal institution for a 
  2- 4      term of two years or longer; 
  2- 5      (9) Habitual intoxication; 
  2- 6      (10) Cruel treatment, which shall consist of the willful 
  2- 7      infliction of pain, bodily or mental, upon the 
  2- 8      complaining party, such as reasonably justifies 
  2- 9      apprehension of danger to life, limb, or health; 
  2-10      (11) Incurable mental illness. No divorce shall be 
  2-11      granted upon this ground unless the mentally ill party 
  2-12      has been adjudged mentally ill by a court of competent 
  2-13      jurisdiction or has been certified to be mentally ill by 
  2-14      two physicians who have personally examined the party; 
  2-15      and he or she has been confined in an institution for 
  2-16      the mentally ill or has been under continuous treatment 
  2-17      for mental illness for a period of at least two years 
  2-18      immediately preceding the commencement of the action; 
  2-19      and the superintendent or other chief executive officer 
  2-20      of the institution and one competent physician appointed 
  2-21      by the court, after a thorough examination, make a 
  2-22      certified statement under oath that it is their opinion 
  2-23      that the party evidences such a want of reason, memory, 
  2-24      and intelligence as to prevent the party from 
  2-25      comprehending the nature, duties, and consequences of 
  2-26      the marriage relationship and that, in the light of 
  2-27      present day medical knowledge, recovery of the party's 
  2-28      mental health cannot be expected at any time during his 
  2-29      or her life. Notice of the action must be served upon 
  2-30      the guardian of the person of the mentally ill person 
  2-31      and upon the superintendent or other chief executive 
  2-32      officer of the institution in which the person is 
  2-33      confined. In the event that there is no guardian of the 
  2-34      person, then notice of the action shall be served upon a 
  2-35      guardian ad litem, who shall be appointed by the court 
  2-36      in which the divorce action is filed, and upon the 
  2-37      superintendent or chief executive officer of the 
  2-38      institution in which the person is confined. The 
  2-39      guardian and superintendent shall be entitled to appear 
  2-40      and be heard upon the issues. The status of the parties 
  2-41      as to the support and maintenance of the mentally ill 
  2-42      person shall not be altered in any way by the granting 
  2-43      of the divorce; 
  3- 1      (12) Habitual drug addiction, which shall consist of 
  3- 2      addiction to any controlled substance as defined in 
  3- 3      Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 16; 
  3- 4      (13) The marriage is irretrievably broken. That the 
  3- 5      marriage is irretrievably broken will be a ground for 
  3- 6      divorce only if one of the following conditions is met: 
  3- 7        (A) The parties agree and there are no minor children 
  3- 8        of the marriage; 
  3- 9        (B) A protective order has been granted or a consent 
  3-10        agreement to bring about a cessation of acts of family 
  3-11        violence has been approved by a court of competent 
  3-12        jurisdiction in accordance with Code Section 19-13-4; 
  3-13        or 
  3-14        (C) The plaintiff or defendant has been convicted of 
  3-15        an offense involving family violence, as defined in 
  3-16        Code Section 19-13-1. 
  3-17      Under no circumstances shall the court grant a divorce 
  3-18      on this ground until not less than 30 180 days from the 
  3-19      date of service on the respondent." 
  3-20                           SECTION 2. 
  3-21  Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 1-3-4.1, this 
  3-22  Act shall become effective on July 1, 1997. 
  3-23                           SECTION 3. 
  3-24  All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are 
  3-25  repealed. 

Clerk of the House
Robert E. Rivers, Jr., Clerk
Last Updated on 04/20/98