Atlanta, GA Fault-Based Divorce Lawyer

When you want a divorce, one of the things you must decide is whether you want a fault-based or no-fault divorce. In many cases, it is easier on everyone to seek a no-fault divorce. This means both spouses agree the marriage should end but do not place blame on either party.

However, sometimes seeking a divorce on fault-based grounds is the better option. An Atlanta, GA fault-based divorce lawyer can advise whether there could be an advantage for claiming fault in your case and ensure you are prepared for the process. Reach out to the Atlanta Divorce Law Group today to work with an experienced attorney who will strive to protect your best interests during a difficult time.

Grounds for Fault-Based Divorce

Anyone seeking to end their marriage must cite a legal reason for doing so. This reason is known as the “ground for divorce.” When you want a court to recognize that your spouse is responsible for the failure of your marriage, you must cite a fault-based ground.

The Official Code of Georgia § 19-5-3 sets forth the legal grounds a spouse could cite when seeking a fault-based divorce. They include the following:

  • Addiction to alcohol or drugs without taking practical steps to manage the condition;
  • Adultery;
  • Criminal conviction that requires at least two years of incarceration;
  • Cruelty, which means mental or physical abuse;
  • Deception, duress, or force to undertake the marriage;
  • Impotence at the time of marriage, and the other spouse was unaware of the condition;
  • Incest, meaning the spouses have a close blood relationship;
  • Incurable insanity, which requires testimony from two psychiatrists proving the other spouse is institutionalized and unlikely to recover;
  • Pregnancy by another man at the time of marriage, and the husband was unaware;
  • Willful desertion, which means leaving the marriage for at least one year.

In addition, you could file for a fault-based divorce if one of you could not consent to the marriage because of mental incapacity on your wedding day. The mental incapacity could be a mental health condition or due to using drugs or alcohol on the day of the marriage.

When you seek a fault-based divorce, you must present credible evidence that the other person is guilty of the misconduct you raise. You will need more than your word. An Atlanta attorney can help you compile and present the necessary evidence for a fault-based divorce.

Potential Financial Benefits of Citing Fault in a Divorce

Georgia is an equitable distribution state. A family judge will divide a couple’s property according to what is fair under the circumstances. If you can prove your spouse’s wrongful conduct caused the divorce, fairness could mean you would get a larger share of the marital property.

Poor marital conduct could also affect a decision about alimony or spousal support. Alimony is optional in Georgia, and judges do not order it automatically. However, if your spouse’s conduct during your marriage contributed to you having less earning power, a judge might order them to continue supporting you for a set amount of time.

If domestic violence was a factor in your marriage, having a continuing financial relationship with your spouse may not be safe for you or your family. Explain your concern to an Atlanta fault-based divorce attorney who can make financial arrangements that do not require you to have continuing contact with your spouse.

Maintaining Your Family’s Safety

Domestic violence against you or your children is a critical reason to seek a fault-based divorce. If Georgia family courts know you are not safe when the spouse is nearby, they could take steps such as issuing a protective order. The court could also hide your address from the other spouse to prevent them from contacting you. Additionally, you could be in separate rooms during pretrial conferences and mediation and seek to have visits with the children take place in a supervised setting.

Other conditions besides domestic violence could make it unsafe for you or your children to be around your spouse. For example, if your spouse is involved with criminal activity or uses illegal drugs, they may associate with unsavory people you do not want your children to be around. An Atlanta attorney will raise these issues as part of a fault-based divorce complaint to signal the judge to be cautious in awarding visitation.

Consult an Atlanta, GA Attorney About the Benefits of Fault-Based Divorce

Most people seek a no-fault divorce, but in some circumstances, it makes good sense to cite fault. This is especially true when your spouse is a danger to you or your children. A fault-based divorce could ensure the judge takes the threat seriously.

Contact an Atlanta, GA fault-based divorce lawyer before deciding how to proceed. There are pros and cons to fault-based divorce, and you need to understand them to make an informed decision. Contact our team today to begin reviewing your options.

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