It is a common question in divorce: People want to know how infidelity will impact their divorce agreement. Adultery is defined as occurring when one married person voluntarily has sexual intercourse with another person who is not their spouse. In Georgia, not only can it impact a divorce, it is also considered a misdemeanor criminal offense and, if proven, can certainly have an affect on the divorce outcome. However, proving that adultery has occurred can be difficult.
Grounds for Divorce
In Georgia, there are 13 grounds for divorce; one of them is no-fault and the other claims are at-fault. Adultery is an at-fault grounds for divorce. Unless a spouse has been open about committing adultery, it can be hard to prove he or she has had an affair. This also means that if you pursue this type of at-fault divorce and do not have enough evidence, the judge may deem that the evidence is insufficient to grant the divorce. Even if the spouse that committed adultery confesses to the behavior, evidence will still be required. Confession alone is not enough evidence.
Additional grounds for a Georgia divorce other than adultery include violence or cruelty, willful and continued desertion for no less than one year, drug and/or alcohol addiction, impotency, insanity or mental incapacity, the wife becoming pregnant during the marriage by a man other than her husband, conviction of a crime that resulted in a sentence of two or more years, force or fraud when obtaining marriage, intermarriage within prohibited degrees of affinity or consanguinity, or irreconcilable differences.
How Adultery can Impact Divorce
If the court determines that there is enough evidence to prove adultery occurred, then the spouse who committed adultery may not be entitled to receive alimony. However, for alimony to be denied, it must also be proven that adultery was the actual cause for the breakdown of the marriage. For example, even if the spouse committed adultery, if a different behavior was the reason for the divorce, then the spouse who committed adultery may still be entitled to receive alimony.
When Adultery is Not Grounds for Divorce
Based on Georgia laws, a judge will not grant a couple a divorce based on adultery under the following circumstances:
- One spouse committed adultery in collusion with the other spouse to cause the divorce.
- The spouse who filed for an at-fault divorce based on adultery consented to the other spouse committing adultery.
- Both spouses committed adultery during their marriage.
- The spouse that filed for an at-fault divorce based on adultery as the grounds for the divorce previously forgave or condoned the adulterous behavior of the other spouse.
Contact an Experienced Georgia Family Law Attorney Today
If you are facing a divorce, whether adultery was involved or not, the attorneys at Lankford & Moore Law can help. Our attorneys have years of experience helping clients navigate the tough road of divorce and we can help you, too. We know that divorce is never easy, but we will be with you through the entire process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.