How Does a Cheating Spouse Affect a Divorce?

How Does a Cheating Spouse Affect a Divorce?

In Georgia, divorcing couples do not need to prove fault in order to get divorced. You can get divorced simply because you have grown apart or have irreconcilable differences. However, there are times when it may benefit one party to claim grounds for the divorce. There are 13 grounds for divorce in Title 19 of the Georgia Code. One of those grounds is cheating or adultery.

Did you know that adultery is technically illegal in the state of Georgia? It is actually considered a criminal offense. However, in the last 100 years, no one has gone to jail for adultery in the state. Yet, while you may avoid jail time, cheating is not without consequences. Cheating on your spouse can have significant repercussions on the divorce process.

How Does Cheating Affect Divorce in Georgia?

Cheating spouses may face major hurdles during the divorce process. However, before the courts will take action, adultery must be proven in court. This is not always easy. You must have evidence that your spouse cheated before the courts will grant the divorce based on adultery. This evidence must be solid and cannot be hearsay. Evidence often includes photos, recordings, bank and credit card statements, and witnesses. Many suspicious spouses often hire private investigators to gather this information and help them prove adultery.

If one partner can prove that their spouse cheated during the marriage, it can have a significant effect on both alimony and property division.

Alimony and Cheating Spouses

Alimony is financial support given by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse. It can either be permanent or temporary, depending on the circumstances of the divorce and how long the couple stayed married. Georgia courts often look at many factors when determining alimony, including the couple’s standard of living and length of the marriage.

One of the ways cheating can affect alimony is if the dependent spouse was the one who cheated. In this scenario, the courts could reduce alimony or even eliminate it altogether for committing infidelity.

In court, the judge will examine the adultery and the circumstances of the case. If the cheating did not lead to the divorce or cause the divorce, then the infidelity would not negatively affect a claim for alimony. Also, if the other spouse continued to cohabitate or have sexual relations with the cheating spouse, the courts will consider that to be condonation. In this case, adultery would not negatively affect a claim for alimony.

Property Division and Cheating Spouses

When a couple decides to divorce, the courts typically divide property between them. They seek to divide marital property equitably and not equally. As such, a judge may determine that the spouse who didn’t cheat should get a bigger portion of the marital assets.

This is especially true when the cheating spouse spent marital assets on their lover or on multiple affairs during marriage. Hotel rooms, expensive gifts, and trips are all examples of ways a cheating spouse may have negatively impacted a marriage’s finances. A court will seek to hold them accountable for this by dividing the property in favor of the non-cheating spouse.

Will Cheating Affect Child Custody?

Most of the time, cheating will not affect child custody. The courts generally consider it in the child’s best interest to spend time with both parents. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If the cheating spouse exposed the children to inappropriate behavior or committed adultery in front of the children, the courts may choose to reduce their parenting time or custody. For this reason, individuals accused of adultery must act quickly to protect their parenting rights.

Should I Seek a Fault-Based Divorce?

When a spouse cheats, it can wreck your entire marriage and your future. Spouses looking to file for divorce may wonder if they should just file a no-fault divorce, or if they should pursue a divorce based on the grounds of adultery. Unfortunately, there is no answer that fits every situation. That’s why divorcing couples should seek legal representation as soon as possible. Your Georgia divorce attorney will review your case and help you determine the best way to file for divorce.

Call Our Experienced Atlanta Family Law Attorneys

At Hobson & Hobson, P.C., our Georgia divorce attorneys know the difficulties couples face when going through a fault-based divorce. We know that cheating can significantly complicate the divorce process in many ways. From affecting alimony to parenting time, cheating spouses may face a major uphill battle. In addition, marriages that involve infidelity are often more contentious and emotions may run high throughout the negotiation process.

If you are considering a divorce in Atlanta, we can help. Call us today at (770) 284-6153 or fill out our confidential contact form. We can set up a consultation, so you can review all your legal options.

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