A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that adultery is the leading reason for divorce in 21.6% of all divorce cases. If you suspect your spouse is cheating or want to know how adultery and divorce can impact the dissolution of your marriage, consider contacting a knowledgeable Georgia family lawyer at The Millard Law Firm. We can discuss the details of your situation during a confidential consultation you can arrange by calling (678) 319-9500.
What Are the Consequences Of Adultery In Marriage?
For many people, adultery is not acceptable. According to the Pew Research Center, 84% of survey respondents in the United States said that adultery is “morally unacceptable.” For many marriages, adultery causes an end to the marriage and the resulting divorce. For those marriages that do not immediately crumble, the eroded trust and deceit that has insidiously grown eventually causes the death of the marriage.
What Are the Consequences Of Adultery In Law?
Adultery does not typically impact a person’s ability to file for divorce. In some states, adultery or any degree of fault is not considered in divorce cases. In Georgia, adultery can impact whether the divorce is considered fault or no-fault because the state recognizes both types of divorces. Here, adultery can also affect decisions made during the divorce process..
What Are the Consequences Of Adultery In Divorce In Georgia?
Adultery may impact your case in a variety of ways in Georgia, including:
Georgia specifically prohibits a spouse who committed adultery that led to the end of the divorce from collecting alimony if the other spouse can prove this to be the case. Likewise, a cheating spouse can be barred from receiving alimony, regardless of the financial circumstances if the spouse deserted the other.
Even if the spouse filing the divorce petition did not cite adultery as the reason for divorce, the court must receive evidence of the factual cause of the separation.
Adultery can also impact an award of property division. While alimony can be completely barred due to adultery, adultery will not totally bar a cheating spouse from receiving an award of marital property. However, the cheating spouse’s share may be decreased because of their misconduct.
Georgia is an equitable distribution state. Therefore, they may not be entitled to a perfect 50/50 split of the marital assets but instead to an “equitable” distribution, which is fairness based on the particular circumstances and other factors. In some divorce cases, the marital assets are equally divided. However, in cases where adultery is involved, this may provide a basis for the court to deviate from an equal split and an award to the innocent spouse of more than half of the marital property. Additionally, the court can consider whether the cheating spouse has used marital funds to advance their cheating and award the innocent spouse accordingly.
Adultery and divorce can also impact child custody decisions. Georgia allows courts to consider all relevant factors that affect the best interests of the child when determining child custody disputes. The court can consider factors such as:
- The spouse spent time away from the child to be with a paramour.
- The spouse subjected the children to the paramour.
- The child’s preference, at a certain age, for a custodial parent
- The criminal history of the spouses and others the spouse may bring the child around.
- The moral fitness of a parent to be the custodial parent.
Defenses to Adultery
Even if your spouse cheated, there may be defenses a cheating spouse can raise to prevent the consequences described above from happening. For example, your spouse might say that you condoned the affair. For example, you might not have immediately sought a separation or divorce after learning of the affair. You may have engaged in intimate relationships with your spouse after learning about the affair.
Alternatively, your spouse may try to deny the infidelity ever occurred. Because you are the one seeking relief from the court, you have the duty to establish adultery occurred by the preponderance of the evidence, meaning it is more likely than not that your spouse cheated.
How To Prove Adultery
Adultery in the state of Georgia is defined as voluntarily having sexual intercourse with someone who is not their spouse. Therefore, an emotional affair alone would not be sufficient to meet this definition.
There are generally two types of evidence that can help establish adultery:
Direct evidence is clear proof that your spouse was cheating. It is evidence of the actual act of cheating. Examples of direct evidence of adultery include:
- Admissions from your spouse regarding the cheating, such as included in an apology letter, text, or voicemail.
- Texts and other written communication with the affair partner that allude to the affair.
- Explicit videos or photographs that demonstrate the sexual activity.
- Witness testimony of observing the sexual activity.
It is often difficult to obtain this type of evidence alone because cheating spouses often act deceitfully and discreetly, trying to cover their tracks. If you are concerned about your ability to obtain strong proof of your spouse’s affairs, you can contact The Millard Law Firm for individualized legal advice and guidance.
Another form of evidence that you can present to help prove adultery is circumstantial evidence. You must show that your spouse had the opportunity and desire to commit adultery. For example, circumstantial evidence that may help show that an affair could have occurred between two people might include:
- A pattern of late-night phone calls and text messages.
- Photos of the parties kissing, holding hands, or representing themselves as a couple in public.
- Witness testimony from someone who saw them acting romantically toward each other.
Proving adultery does not require irrefutable proof. Instead, you just need to show it is more likely that your spouse cheated than that your spouse did not cheat. The court can use common sense to put the pieces together and determine adultery likely occurred.
Contact The Millard Law Firm for Help With Your Adultery And Divorce Case
You have already gone through the ordeal of an affair. You do not need to go through the process of divorce alone. If you would like assistance with your adultery and divorce case, consider contacting The Millard Law Firm by calling (678) 319-9500.