What Can Get Used Against You in Divorce?

What Can Get Used Against You in Divorce?

What Can Get Used Against You in Divorce?If you are going through a Georgia divorce, you may wonder whether your spouse’s wrongdoing can be used against him or her—or whether something you have done could potentially get used against you.

While Georgia—like most states—offers a no-fault divorce, you are also allowed to claim fault. However, you must be able to prove that fault. No-fault divorce simply means you or your spouse will claim “irreconcilable differences,” and go your separate ways. You can, however, claim any of the following “grounds,” which could potentially have an effect on marital property division, alimony, and child custody.

  • Your marriage was one of intermarriage within the prohibited degree of kinship
  • One spouse was mentally incapacitated at the time of the marriage
  • Impotency at the time of the marriage
  • Force, menace, or duress from one spouse to the other at the time of the marriage
  • Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband at the time of the marriage
  • Adultery during the marriage
  • Desertion during the marriage
  • A conviction for a crime of moral turpitude, resulting in a prison sentence of two years or longer
  • Ongoing cruel treatment by one spouse to the other
  • Habitual intoxication or habitual drug addiction
  • An incurable mental illness

So long as the evidence is obtained legally, evidence of adultery, hiding assets, or other wrongdoing can be used during the divorce.

One example of why claiming fault might really matter: Georgia law stipulates that proof of adultery that caused the breakdown of the marriage will render the adulterous spouse ineligible to receive alimony. If one spouse can (legally) prove the other was hiding assets to prevent those assets from being subject to marital division, then the judge might take that into consideration, awarding the other spouse more marital assets. Since Georgia is an equitable division state rather than a community law state, the judge has much more discretion in the division of marital assets as the division must only be fair, not equal.

Remember—Evidence of Wrongdoing Must Be Legally Obtained

You can conceivably find yourself in trouble if any evidence you obtain related to your spouse’s wrongdoing was not obtained in a legal manner, under Georgia law. Using hidden cameras, recording devices, or computer spyware can cause you more trouble than your spouse, as could hacking into his or her computer searching for evidence of wrongdoing. The proper way to pursue evidence of wrongdoing in a divorce is almost always through a legally obtained subpoena.

This means if you believe there is evidence on your spouse’s computer or phone that would be valuable to you during your divorce, your attorney can file a “spoliation” letter ordering your spouse not to delete, destroy, or alter records on those devices.

In short, just because you have access to your spouse’s unlocked phone does not mean it is admissible evidence. If the evidence is obtained legally, the following can be admitted as evidence during a Georgia divorce:

  • Text messages proving adultery or other wrongdoing
  • Hidden (burner) cell phones with evidence of wrongdoing
  • Social media communications

Top Five Things That Can Be Used Against You—or Your Spouse—During Your Georgia Divorce

  • Extraordinary spending—Legally obtained credit card information and financial information can show a pattern of financial misconduct that led to the dissipation of marital assets. Financial records may also show that marital assets were spent on extramarital affairs or activities such as drug use or gambling.
  • Hiding assets can also get you into hot water. Moving money out of a joint bank account before the divorce can be a red flag.
  • Adultery can result in negative decisions regarding child custody, awards of alimony, and the division of marital assets.
  • Posting on social media is never a good idea if you are contemplating divorce or in the middle of a divorce. If those posts are found—and they are detrimental to you—your spouse’s attorney will almost certainly use them. Social media is one of the primary ways adulterous behaviors and even extraordinary spending are tracked. (i.e, if you post a photo of you and your mistress on a brand-new boat before your divorce is finalized, you could live to regret it).
  • Text messages and emails are similar to social media posts, even though you may think they are “private.” Anything you put in writing can—and will—be used against you.

Call Our Experienced Atlanta Divorce Attorneys

At Hobson & Hobson, P.C., our Georgia divorce attorneys know that divorce is a contentious and highly emotional time for everyone. There are many ways your spouse can harm you during the divorce process and things that can get used against you. We work to help you move through the divorce process smoothly and efficiently whenever possible.

Call us today at (770) 284-6153 or fill out our confidential contact form. We can set up a consultation so that you can review all your legal options.

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