When it comes to divorce, adultery can be seen as the ultimate betrayal. Finding out that your spouse has participated in an extra marital affair can destroy the marriage, sour your relationship with that spouse, and impact the lives of all family members.
While the legal divorce process exists to ensure the separation runs smoothly and assets are divided fairly, adultery can throw a wrench in these proceedings. The legal divorce process can become a highly charged emotional situation whenever a cheating spouse is involved.
You may ask: Where in the legal divorce process does adultery play its biggest part? The answer is Alimony.
Alimony in Georgia
In Georgia, the purpose of alimony is to provide support to the requesting spouse in order to avoid placing that individual in a financial hardship following the divorce. There are two considerations made by the court—the financial need of the requesting spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay the requested amount. Alimony can be awarded during the pendency of a case and/or during the final hearing. The amount paid depends on factors like the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of each spouse, their contribution to the marriage, and the standard of living they enjoyed. Alimony can be temporary, paid for a set period of time, or permanent paid until the spouse receiving the alimony remarries, or dies.
The Impact of Adultery on Alimony
Adultery can have a significant impact on Alimony. When it is the cheating spouse who seeks alimony, and they are the least earning party, adultery can jeopardize their chances of living the comfortable life they were once accustomed to. Put bluntly, a spouse found to be a cheater might be barred from receiving alimony if it is proven that their affair is the cause of the divorce.
Merely accusing your spouse of adultery is not enough to bar their claim to alimony. Adultery must be proven. If the cheating spouse denies their affair and there is not enough evidence to support the claim, then a divorce cannot be granted on these grounds. Thus the faithful spouse must present proper evidence of the affair in order to hold the cheating spouse accountable for their actions.
Adultery may not completely bar the adulterous spouse from receiving alimony.
Important considerations could include: whether or not the parties were separated at the time of the act, whether the other spouse was also having an affair, or if the parties reconciled. In these cases, the Court may take these factors into account and only issue a reduction in alimony, as opposed to a complete refusal.
The Impact of Adultery on other areas of the Divorce
Adultery does not bar the cheating spouse from receiving property but the amount they receive may be significantly reduced. As the equitable division of property is up to the Court, a judge could likely award a much greater share to the faithful spouse—especially if the cheating spouse has spent marital funds on their lover.
Also, adultery has no effect on child support payments. However, if it is proven that the cheating spouse conducted the affair around the children and the children were exposed to it, then this can affect that spouse’s custodial rights.
Support during your divorce
Pursuing an alimony claim or defending against one is far more complex than what meets the eye, especially when adultery is alleged.
To help you better understand the alimony process, and how cheating may affect your divorce, contact B Bullard Law today. You can reach our firm by phone at 678-432-1100 or by email at email@example.com. We will help guide you through this process so you can settle your divorce once and for all, and put memories of a cheating spouse behind you. Make the decision to start anew and choose B Bullard Law today. Experience Lead. Quality Rated. Solution Driven.