How Can Adultery Impact Alimony?
The two most painful and important questions in connection with any divorce are the decisions of which parent will the child be entrusted to once the divorce is finalized and how will financial assets be distributed. The law obliges parents, the center for social work, as well as all others who in any way take care of the child or take part in his education and upbringing (family, school, doctors) to help the court to decide these issues. This decision must be how to plan Family Law, “in the best interests of the child.” The court also decides who will be in greatest need of financial assistance after the divorce and allocates alimony accordingly.
Adultery is still considered a crime in most states, though it is rarely enforced. As culture has shifted and technology has evolved, it has become increasingly easier to suspect adultery in a divorce case.
Proving an affair can be a difficult task. On the rare occasion that the cheating spouse admits to having an affair, little to no proof is needed. But, in most cases, proving adultery can be a difficult task. Many guilty adulterers will lie about any involvement with another person and will take great steps to cover up the affair long before their spouse suspects any activity. Therefore, it is difficult to prove a spouse is having an extra-marital affair. The accusing spouse must present solid evidence to the court in order for the case to be held on the grounds of adultery. Even when adultery is proven, the accusing spouse must also prove that the adultery is the grounds for the divorce itself and that the adultery is not only a symptom of an underlying problem in the marriage (such as a lack of or miscommunication).
Typically, even proven adultery will usually have very little impact on the proceedings of the divorce case. The exception is in the event that when there are children involved, child custody could be impacted by adultery. If the spouse accused of adultery had extra-marital activities around the children or the children were exposed to the extra-marital relationship, then that is considered irresponsible parenting without the children’s best interests in mind. In that situation, the cheating parent could lose custody privileges with the children.
However, even if child support privileges are revoked, child support cases are typically considered a separate case and will be treated as such. In most situations, child support is not impacted by extra-marital relationships.
Adultery and alimony
Factors in alimony consideration are:
- Income of spouses including everything they own
- Earning ability
- Age, physical and emotional conditions
- Retirement benefits
Generally, adultery rarely has a viable impact on alimony or custody outcomes. The exception is occasions when the cheating spouse used marital assets to support the extra-marital relationship. Also, on the rare occasion that adultery impacts custody, it is because the relationship was apparent in front of the children.
Some states still consider fault a factor in divorce cases, and in these states, adulterous relationships can drastically impact alimony requirements, without the consideration of financial need. If alimony was already in place, the requirement is terminated when either spouse (ex-spouse) lives with another person.
The largest impact adultery has on most divorce cases is that most divorce proceedings involving divorce are much more likely to settle out of court. 90% of cases (or more) are likely to settle when adultery is involved. The reason for this is because the cheating spouse is more likely to feel guilty about the situation, and the cheated-on spouse is more likely to bring anger and resentment to the table. Both parties are already primed to settle the case, and things move more quickly in these instances.
So, as you can see, most times, alimony decided in court is not typically impacted by adultery, but many other factors carry much more weight in court divorce cases. However, in out-of-court divorce cases, alimony can be heavily impacted as the divorcing couple moves through the settlement process.
Speak to a Georgia divorce attorney
If you suspect your spouse is having or has had an extra-marital affair, you should seek legal advice from an experienced divorce law attorney in Georgia to review your case. You will want to discuss any evidence you may have gathered and the steps you need to know to file for your divorce.