How Much Does Misconduct Matter in a Georgia Divorce?


Clients going through a divorce usually come into their attorney’s office very focused on fault – the other spouse was a habitual cheater and left them for someone else, treated them poorly, could never keep a job, spent money excessively, etc.  There are many character flaws and behaviors that can cause deep unhappiness and dysfunction in a marriage and often lead to divorce.  However, it is a misconception that a court will delve into all of the reasons behind the divorce and consider how a party was wronged in determining division of assets and debt.  The reality is there are very few circumstances where a court will consider fault in a divorce case.  Stories where one party claims to have taken the other “to the cleaners”, because they had affairs or behaved in a nefarious way are typically embellished.

One of these limited situations where fault is considered is in regard to alimony.  In Georgia, adultery is a bar to receiving alimony, but only if the adultery is what caused separation.  Clements v. Clements, 255 Ga. 714 (1986).  Another situation where fault or misconduct is considered is in custody determinations.  That said, the only facts the judge considers are ones that clearly affect the children.  For example, if a husband had 20 affairs while on business trips but the children were never exposed to them, then this is not a relevant fact to a custody determination.  However, if the husband had affairs with 20 different women at the marital residence while the wife was out of town on business trips, and the children were exposed to these various women coming in and out of the home, this could affect the outcome of the case in regard to custody and visitation.

It can be a tough pill to swallow to realize that the reasons behind significant marital struggle won’t be considered during the divorce.  That said, if courts were to dig in to all of the reasons behind each individual divorce, our already severely overloaded court systems would be even more taxed, and a typical divorce would then take years to resolve.  This would just drag out the misery of the unhappy marriage by focusing on these negative aspects of the past.  Instead, I encourage divorcing individuals to focus on letting go of hurt and anger from the marriage and focus on getting the results needed in the divorce to reach the quickest resolution possible so they can move on to create a happier life.

Click Here for a Consultation
Recent Blog Posts
Divorcing a Covert Narcissist? Consider these Communication Tips
While there are plenty of narcissists out there, not all of them overly display the signs and symptoms of...
Role of Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation in a Religious Divorce
Religious divorces fall outside the realm of litigation. Frequently, religious divorces occur after civil litigation wraps up. The validation...
Staying Co-Owners of a Business after Divorce
People who are getting divorced but wish to stay in business together could probably obtain court approval as long...
View All Posts

Atlanta Divorce Law Group

Alpharetta Office

Atlanta Divorce Law Group
3560 Old Milton Parkway,
Alpharetta GA 30005

Buckhead Office

Atlanta Divorce Law Group
3355 Lenox Road,
Suite 750

Atlanta GA 30326

By Appointment Only
Marietta Office

Atlanta Divorce Law Group
533 Johnson Ferry Rd
Suite D-450

Marietta GA 30068

By Appointment Only
Suwanee Office

Atlanta Divorce Law Group
593 Main St,
Suite B,

Suwanee GA 30024

By Appointment Only