In 2019, over 66,000 calls came into Georgia’s certified domestic violence agencies. In the same year, there were 166 domestic violence-related deaths.

For divorce, allegations of abuse may play a part in negotiations, such as child custody and spousal support. Georgia is a no-fault state regarding divorces, but there are some instances where there may be grounds for fault. One of these is domestic violence.

Georgia’s definition of domestic violence

The state defines domestic violence as “family violence.” It protects against physical, sexual and emotional abuse from family members who abuse spouses, children, parents and others who lived or are living in the same household. Domestic violence or abuse involves:

  • Assault
  • Stalking
  • Property damage
  • Unlawful restraint
  • Criminal trespassing

Georgia recognizes domestic violence as a ground for divorce. It falls under the category of cruel treatment and comprises the intentional infliction of pain upon the petitioner. Victims of abuse who want to get a divorce have the option of petitioning the court for a protective order.

The Family Violence Protective Order

Seeking relief from domestic violence comes with certain requirements. The person asking for the order must provide evidence of the abuse. The court asks the petitioner to give specific facts to establish family violence occurred and will probably occur again. The order lasts for one year, or the court can extend an order for three years or permanently.

The consequences of domestic violence on divorce

When a divorce petitioner files a Family Violence Protective Order against his or her spouse, the court may prevent the abuser from:

  • Contacting the person who filed the order
  • Keeping custody of the children
  • Living in the home
  • Using the car

With a proven case of domestic violence, the judge can rule on child custody, support and visitation. Georgia law allows visitation or parenting time to a parent who committed family violence; however, visitation must take place in a protected setting and supervised by another person or agency.