Georgia law defines adultery as the act of one party being unfaithful to the other, and the most important part of the definition is that it leads to the ultimate breakdown of the marriage. In other words, if a spouse commits adultery, is forgiven by the other party, and then tries to make the marriage work, the other party can’t turn around and say that adultery caused the breakup of the marriage. So, not only does there need to be an active infidelity, but it has to have directly led to the breakdown of the marriage for adultery to be cited as legal grounds for divorce in Alpharetta.
An adultery divorce petition is a petition that cites infidelity as the ground for dissolving the marriage. In Georgia, there are 13 grounds for divorce, including no fault or irreconcilable differences. Adultery is one of the grounds you may cite when your spouse has been unfaithful to the point where your marriage has broken down as a result.
When adultery is cited as the cause of divorce, Alpharetta courts are going to treat that differently depending on whether the case involves children. Generally, the court is not going to say, “Well, you committed adultery, so you’re a bad person.” If the parties share children, the only time adultery is going to matter is if the new person is bad for the kids.
For example, if adultery is committed with an unsavory person who the children don’t get along with, who abuses them, or who exposes them to substance abuse, the local tribunal is going to take that very seriously. Otherwise, adultery isn’t really going to affect the divorce, and there’s no at-fault tax in Georgia law.
As far as divorces without children, adultery bars an unfaithful spouse from receiving alimony. This means that if they would have received alimony under normal circumstances and they commit adultery, they would not be able to get any spousal support whatsoever.
There are lots of ways to prove adultery in a local divorce case. You can hire a private investigator, get video evidence, and retrieve audio, texts, and emails. A lot of people prove infidelity with an application called WhatsApp. Adultery can be proven by testimony, allegations, or by admitting it. There must be enough evidence to show that it was more likely than not that adultery occurred and that it was the reason for the breakdown of the marriage.
If the person committing adultery spends a lot of marital funds on adulterous relationships, that may be restored to the estate. For example, if the unfaithful spouse bought the person a new car, it may become part of the marital estate, and the paramour would have to give the car back. Otherwise, adulterous behavior does not impact the distribution of a couple’s assets.
There may be some circumstances where the adulterer can defend himself or herself. For example, sex addiction could lead someone to commit adultery and subsequently argue that it wasn’t their fault and therefore didn’t cause the divorce.
A spouse who commits adultery could also argue abandonment by the other party and cite that as the actual grounds for divorce. For instance, if one spouse abandoned the other, who then committed adultery, then they may have been justified in doing so.
Although, this defense may depend on who filed. Specifically, if the person who committed adultery filed for divorce, then they would have a strong argument that abandonment caused the breakdown of the marriage, as opposed to the person who was cheated on filing – that would be harder for the adulterer to argue against.