Many people getting a divorce want to get through it quickly with as little drama as possible. Although that is admirable and understandable, a fault-based divorce sometimes makes more sense.
A fault-based divorce usually takes longer, legal fees might be higher, and proving fault can create bitterness between you and your spouse that might linger long after the divorce is final. However, it is sometimes the best course of action, especially if one spouse makes more than the other or has a history of domestic abuse.
Speak with a knowledgeable divorce attorney before making any firm decisions. A Marietta fault-based divorce lawyer can review the pros and cons and help you decide whether to cite fault when ending your marriage.
If you decide to pursue a fault-based divorce, you must prove that your spouse’s misconduct caused the marriage to fail. The misconduct must fit into one of the twelve categories the law gives as grounds for divorce. The Official Code of Georgia §19-5-3 lists 11 grounds for a fault-based divorce.
If your spouse had an affair while married to you, and you can prove it, you could cite adultery as the grounds for your divorce. Similarly, it is grounds for a fault-based divorce if a woman was pregnant by another man and the spouse did not know it when they married. Other grounds include:
A Marietta attorney will talk with you about why you want to end your marriage and explain whether a fault-based ground might apply to your case.
Compiling proof of fault and presenting it in divorce court is expensive, stressful, and could be embarrassing since court records are usually public. You should have a sound reason for citing fault. In some cases, there can be significant financial benefits to a fault-based divorce.
Judges must consider fairness when dividing marital property, and if one spouse’s misconduct caused the divorce, the family judge might award the other spouse a larger share. This result is most likely when a Marietta attorney can prove your spouse spent marital assets on an affair or to support an addiction. Proving your spouse’s conduct caused the marriage to fail also could help if you are seeking ongoing spousal support.
When the grounds for divorce involve addiction or physical or emotional abuse, the judge is likely to consider these factors when making decisions about parenting time. The judge might require supervised visitation for a parent who cannot provide a safe environment for their children. However, judges rarely prevent parents from seeing their children unless there is clear evidence the parent is unfit.
Filing for divorce citing fault-based grounds does not necessarily mean you have to prove your spouse’s misconduct in Georgia courts. You could file citing a fault-based ground and then resolve the outstanding issues before the case goes to trial. The possibility of bringing proof of their misconduct to family court could spur a reluctant spouse to negotiate fairly.
Georgia family courts encourage all spouses to settle their property division, alimony, and parenting time issues outside of court whenever possible. The judges believe that spouses are more likely to arrive at fair and workable arrangements than an outsider. Cobb County requires all divorcing couples to undergo mediation before the court schedules a trial date.
Sometimes, emotions run hot, and spouses cannot negotiate with each other, or it might even be dangerous for both of them to be in the same room. If you and your spouse cannot communicate productively or safely, a Marietta attorney can work with your spouse’s legal representative to negotiate an acceptable fault-based divorce settlement.
Citing fault in a divorce is often a strategic decision. You should consult an experienced legal professional before deciding to take this route.
A Marietta fault-based divorce lawyer from the Atlanta Divorce Law Group can ensure you are in the strongest possible position to meet your goals and start your new life. Reach out today to get started.