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Leslie headshot outside_9797_10x10Why Didn’t Khloe Seek a Fault Grounds Divorce?

By Leslie O’Neal

It is becoming apparent that every monthly celebrity blog could be devoted to legal questions arising from the Kardashian family.  The most recent marriage to bite the dust is that of third daughter, Khloe, and her NBA player husband, Lamar Odom.   The two were famously married in September of 2009 after knowing each other for only one month.  However, despite their brief courtship, the two were commonly seen as the most stable and relatable of the Kardashian couples.   They documented their failed attempts to conceive and Lamar’s NBA struggles on their two-season reality show, “Khloe & Lamar”. 

Unfortunately, the marriage began to unravel in 2013 with rumors swirling that Lamar had relapsed into drug addiction, had moved out of the home the coupled shared, and was repeatedly unfaithful.   Khloe finally filed for divorce on December 13, 2013, citing irreconcilable differences.   With the rumor mill constantly swirling about Lamar’s poor conduct, why didn’t Khloe seek a fault grounds divorce?

In Georgia, there must be a statutorily recognized reason for a divorce.  Historically, that included one person being “at fault” for the demise of the marriage.  The twelve fault grounds for a divorce in Georgia are  1) intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of affinity, 2) mental incapacity at the time of the marriage, 3) impotency at the time of the marriage, 4) fraud or duress in obtaining the marriage, 5) pregnancy of the wife by a man other than husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown by the husband, 6) adultery by either of the parties after marriage, 7) willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year, 8) the conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude and under which he or she is sentenced to imprisonment for more than two years, 9) habitual intoxication, 10) cruel treatment, 11) incurable mental illness, and 12) habitual drug addiction.

However, in 1973, Georgia introduced the “no fault” grounds of irreconcilable differences.  Irreconcilable differences is by far the most commonly used grounds for seeking a divorce in Georgia.   It is a common misconception that the “no fault” option means that conduct is not relevant to the issues in the divorce.   That is not the case.  The “no fault” option in Georgia simply means that either spouse is entitled to request a divorce without having to prove that the other spouse did something wrong.  One is entitled to a divorce by simply stating under oath that the marriage is irretrievably broken with no hope of reconciliation.

There are a number of reasons that Khloe would not benefit from seeking a fault grounds divorce from Lamar.  First, it draws more attention to the divorce proceedings because she would have to prove the misconduct alleged.  Additionally, proving misconduct on Lamar’s part may not have much of an effect on the issues of the divorce because the couple reportedly signed a Pre-Nuptial Agreement governing alimony and division of assets.  They also do not have to litigate custody or visitation because they did not have any children together.

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