Cheating and Alimony in Georgia
Marriage can often feel like a balancing act, and one wrong move can send it spiraling. It should be no surprise that an unfaithful partner can tip the marriage over the edge and lead the couple to a divorce. If you are involved in a separation that is ending as a direct cause of a partner’s infidelity, you may be wondering how that aspect is going to affect the divorce. It is certainly possible that a person’s unfaithfulness will make the favorability of the divorce swing in one way or the other.
What is alimony, and how does cheating affect it?
In Georgia, alimony is a court given responsibility to financially a spouse. Often, the partner with the higher income is tasked with supporting the spouse with the lower income. Alimony is common both during and after the divorce proceeding. Sometimes alimony is only temporary and lasts until the other spouse has a chance to recover from the divorce. Other times, alimony can be a permanent fixture until the supported spouse remarries or passes away.
For a husband or wife to receive alimony, they must prove that they require the support financially and that the other spouse can pay for the support. Once the court assesses the need and ability and decides that both be true, it will also consider several other factors before it decides to award alimony and how much. A few factors they consider are:
- How long the marriage lasted
- The standard of living the two spouses had over the course of the marriage
- The physical condition and age of both spouses
- The husband and wife’s separate financial resources.
- Both spouse’s potential earning capability
- The contributions each spouse has made to the marriage. The contributions may be financial or otherwise
- How long it could take for the supported spouse to return to the workforce if they are currently not physically able
- The finances available to both spouses during the divorce
There is no set in a stone formula for deciding alimony in the state of Georgia, so the court determines if an how much on a case to case basis.
Adultery and how it affects divorce in Georgia
The state of Georgia defines adultery as a spouse having sexual intercourse with someone other than his or her significant other. Proving adultery can be difficult. Only telling the court that your spouse cheated is often not enough evidence. To show that a spouse was unfaithful, you may need pictures, video or audio recordings, phone records, witnesses, credit card or bank statements. You may even need to hire a private investigator to prove that the other spouse is cheating. However, you do not have to prove that your partner had sexual intercourse with someone. It is often enough to show that they had the opportunity, the ability, and the inclination to have sex with someone else.
Proving your partner’s infidelity can be very difficult in court. Because you need to know the rules of evidence and how trials proceed, it is not something an average person would have a difficult time doing on their own. It may be wise to seek legal help if you have evidence that your spouse is committing adultery.
How does alimony change when a spouse was unfaithful?
In the state of Georgia, if a divorce happens because a spouse was unfaithful and committed adultery, that spouse is unable to receive alimony. It is important to note that the separation must be directly caused from the unfaithfulness for the spouse to be barred from alimony. That means that the unfaithfulness cannot be just another reason for the divorce. If a partner was unfaithful and the other elected to forgive them, and they attempted to continue living together, the spouse that committed adultery would still be able to receive alimony.
For the unfaithful spouse to lose his or her opportunity for alimony, the faithful partner must also be the one that filed the divorce, as well as on the grounds of adultery and not just “irreconcilable differences.” The divorce must also be granted on the grounds of the adultery.
How else can adultery impact other aspects of court?
It is uncommon for adultery to affect child custody in the state of Georgia. The most common exception for that is if the child was exposed to inappropriate things as a direct result of the affair. Adultery can never affect child support in Georgia.
It is possible for adultery to affect the division of assets for the couple, especially if the partner who committed adultery also spent large amounts of money on the affair.