The question of whether infidelity can affect a divorce case is incredibly common. Adultery is defined as a married person voluntarily having sexual intercourse with a person other than his or her spouse. In Georgia, adultery is considered a misdemeanor offense (O.C.G.A. § 16-6-19), and if proven, it can certainly impact divorce proceedings. However, proving adultery can be a challenge.
There are thirteen grounds for divorce in Georgia, one of which claims “no-fault” and twelve of which claim “at-fault”. Adultery is one of the latter. Unless the offending spouse is open about it, it can be difficult to prove that an affair took place. This means that if you pursue an at-fault divorce on the grounds of adultery, the judge may find that the evidence is insufficient to grant a divorce.
The Consequences of a Proven Affair on a Divorce
If the infidelity is proven in court, it can impact the divorce in two ways: alimony and the equitable division of marital property. The spouse who has committed adultery is barred from receiving any alimony or spousal support, which can have a major financial impact on both parties.
Additionally, proven adultery may also have an impact on the equitable division of marital property. Georgia is an equitable distribution state, which means that a couple’s marital property is not divided equally, but fairly. Goldstein v. Goldstein, 262 Ga. 136 (1992). Fuller v. Fuller, 621 S.E.2d 419 (Ga. 2005). This does not always mean 50/50. The court may take evidence of an affair into account when deciding the division of assets and may rule in favor of the innocent spouse. This becomes especially true if the guilty spouse spent marital funds on his or her lover during the affair.
If children are involved in the divorce case, adultery will not impact child support. However, if the guilty spouse brought his or her lover around the children, it may impact impending custody hearings, as the court may find that the offending parent did not act in his or her child’s best interests.
Get Expert Divorce Representation
Adultery can have a major impact on your divorce, and it’s essential to have an expert team to ensure your best interests are represented. Trinity Hundredmark and Patrick McDonough at Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C. have combined experience of more than 30 years representing clients through all aspects of their divorce.
For more information or to request a case evaluation, call our law office at (770) 822-0900. We have been very successful at reaching the best possible outcome for our clients, and our attorneys are here to help you through this difficult and stressful time.