Adultery and Alimony in Georgia Divorce Cases
Finding out that your spouse cheated on you is the worst news anyone can ever receive. If both you and your spouse have decided to terminate a marriage on the basis of grounds of adultery, then you maybe are wondering how adultery can impact aspects of divorce, including alimony. The article below is written for educational purposes and will discuss the basic overview of alimony and how adultery can impact alimony award. As always, it is generally advised to consult your local family law attorney who has experience in dealing with domestic matters.
Overview of Alimony in Georgia
In the state of Georgia, alimony is defined as financial support paid from one spouse to the other spouse during and after the divorce is finalized. Generally, the person who pays alimony is a higher-earning spouse and the person to whom alimony is paid is low-earning spouse. In the state of Georgia, alimony can be classified as: Temporary, Permanent, or rehabilitative. Temporary alimony lasts for a specific period of time, and permanent alimony lasts until the supported spouse remarries or dies. On the other hand, rehabilitative alimony is given for a specific period of time for specific purpose.
In order to be eligible to receive alimony, the spouse must prove the need for financial support and show that the other spouse has the ability to pay alimony. Once need and the ability is prove, the court can consider several factors in determining whether to award alimony and the amount of alimony that must be awarded. In the state of Georgia courts consider the following factors:
- Spouse’s standard of living during the course of marriage
- Duration of marriage
- Age and physical condition of each spouse
- Financial resources of each spouse
- Each spouse’s earning capacity
- Duration it will take to support a spouse to get back to work, if not presently working
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, financial and otherwise
In the state of Georgia, there is no fixed formula for calculating alimony as the alimony is determined by court on case-by-case basis.
Proving Adultery in a Georgia Divorce
State of Georgia defines adultery as one spouse having sexual intercourse with a person other than his or her spouse during the course of marriage. In order to prove adultery, it is required to get more than just a spouse’s testimony. Lots of people end up hiring private investigators to help prove adultery. Evidence such as photos, recordings, and phone records can also be used to prove adultery. If the person who committed adultery lies about the involvement in the sexual relationship and there is not enough corroborating evidence present to prove existence of affair is not sufficient enough, then divorce will not be granted on the grounds of adultery. The person who is accused as cheating spouse can plead the fifth. If the accused practices his or her Fifth Amendment rights, the Court has the discretion to infer that adulterer’s answer is yes.
Impact Adultery has on Alimony
If the ground for divorce is adultery, the unfaithful spouse will be barred from receiving alimony. One spouse cheating on the other during the course of marriage is not sufficient. The reason for divorce has to be infidelity. When one spouse cheats and the other spouse forgives the unfaithful spouse and continues to live with unfaithful spouse, unfaithful spouse will not be barred from receiving alimony. Additionally, for the alimony to be barred, the faithful spouse is also required to file for divorce on the grounds of adultery, and the Court has to grant divorce on the grounds of adultery.
Impact of Adultery on Divorce Settlement
Adultery does have an impact on negotiation of divorce settlement. Statistically, divorce cases are likely to settle over 90 percent of times or more in most jurisdictions. However, in an adultery cases, a cheating spouse often feels guilty in aftermath of discovery or confession. The emotional stance of each party coming into negotiation can certainly affect the terms of the divorce settlement. If a spouse commits adultery, during the settlement process, the unfaithful spouse is unlikely to be awarded much in a divorce settlement. A reasonable person may presume that because the unfaithful spouse cheated, they should be awarded more during settlement, however this is not the case.
Impact of Adultery on Child Custody
Generally, adultery does not affect child custody in Georgia, unless the children are exposed to inappropriate things as a result of the affair. In state of Georgia, it is important to remember that adultery does not have any impact on child support. However, adultery does have an impact on how the couple that is about to get divorce has their assets divided. This is especially true if the unfaithful spouse ends up spending tons of money on the new partner. This can range anywhere from buying gifts and planning for trips and spending money on hotel rooms.
If you have been accused of committing adultery and your spouse has brought an action against you, it would be best advised to consult your family law attorney. On the other hand if you are the spouse who has found out that your spouse is cheating on you, then you should also consult your attorney now to discuss how adultery will affect your eligibility to be granted alimony by courts. Courts have the discretion to determine if there is sufficient evidence to show adultery is committed or not. Going through divorce is in itself can take an emotional toll on one. On top of that finding out that your spouse has cheated on you can only make things worse when you are in the process of going through divorce.
It is important to consult your attorney to discuss your rights and eligibility to be awarded alimony. Our attorneys at Coleman Legal Group have experience in assisting clients with similar situation like yours. You do not have to go through this alone. Call us today at 770-609-1247 to discuss your case with us.