Marital Fault in Divorce: Understanding the Impact in Georgia

Divorce is never easy, and in the state of Georgia, various factors can influence the outcome of a divorce case. One such factor is marital fault. If you find yourself going through a divorce in Georgia, it’s important to understand how marital fault can affect the proceedings. The Edwards Law Group can provide you with the legal advice and support you need on this matter. Here we’ve outlined some general information regarding marital fault and how it impacts divorce in Georgia, but each case is unique. To get sound legal advice regarding your specific case it is best to consult with our family attorney.

Understanding Marital Fault in Georgia

Marital fault refers to actions or behaviors that contributed to the breakdown of the marriage. In Georgia, fault-based divorces require specific evidence to prove the allegations. Unlike some states that only allow for no-fault divorces, Georgia recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce.

Common Reasons for Divorce in Georgia

While there are several common reasons for divorce, including the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, there are specific instances where marital fault comes into play. These common reasons for divorce include:

  • Adultery: Infidelity and extramarital affairs can deeply affect the trust and commitment within a marriage, often leading to divorce.
  • Desertion: When one spouse intentionally abandons the other without any reasonable cause or consent, desertion can be grounds for divorce.
  • Cruel Treatment: Physical, emotional, or verbal abuse within the marriage can be cited as cruel treatment and may be grounds for divorce.
  • Addiction and Substance Abuse: Substance abuse issues, such as alcoholism or drug addiction, can place significant strain on a marriage, leading to divorce.

When Is a Fault Divorce an Option?

While Georgia allows for no-fault divorces, there are instances where a fault divorce may be pursued. Some reasons why a fault divorce may be an option include:

  • Seeking a Faster Divorce: In some cases, filing for a fault divorce can expedite the divorce process compared to waiting for a mandatory separation period in a no-fault divorce.
  • Impact on Alimony and Property Division: Marital fault can influence the court’s decision on issues such as alimony and property division. The court may consider the fault when determining the division of assets and awarding spousal support.
  • Emotional Closure and Accountability: Claiming fault in a divorce can provide a sense of closure for the aggrieved spouse and hold the other party accountable for their actions.

How Does Marital Fault Affect the Outcome of a Divorce?

When fault is proven in a divorce case, it can impact various aspects of the divorce proceedings, including:

  • Alimony: The court may consider fault when determining the amount and duration of alimony. For example, a spouse who is found to have committed adultery, that spouse often forfeits their right to ANY alimony.
  • Property Division: Marital fault can influence the division of marital assets. However, it’s important to note that Georgia follows an equitable distribution model, meaning that the court aims for a fair and just division of property, regardless of fault.
  • Child Custody: Marital fault, especially if it impacts the well-being of the children, can be a factor in determining child custody arrangements. The court prioritizes the best interests of the child when making custody decisions.

Should You Claim Adultery?

Claiming adultery as grounds for divorce is a personal decision that requires careful consideration. While adultery can be a valid reason for seeking a fault divorce, it’s important to weigh the potential benefits against the emotional and financial costs of proving the allegation. Consulting with an experienced divorce attorney can help you understand the potential implications and guide you through the decision-making process.

What Can This Cause in the Divorce Proceedings?

Claiming marital fault, such as adultery, in a divorce can introduce additional complexities and emotions into the proceedings. Some potential effects include:

  • Increased Tension: Accusing a spouse of marital fault can heighten tensions between both parties, making the divorce process more adversarial and contentious.
  • Burden of Proof: To successfully claim marital fault, you will need to provide sufficient evidence to substantiate your allegations. This can involve gathering documentation, witness testimonies, or other forms of proof, which can be a demanding and time-consuming process.
  • Impact on Children: Divorce proceedings involving claims of marital fault, especially adultery, can have a significant impact on children. Exposure to such allegations can create emotional distress and strain the parent-child relationships.
  • Emotional Toll: Pursuing a fault divorce and reliving the details of a broken marriage can take an emotional toll on both parties. You need to consider your emotional well-being and seek support from friends, family, or a therapist during this challenging time.
  • Publicity and Privacy Concerns: Divorce cases involving claims of marital fault may attract media attention or become public record. This can potentially compromise your privacy and expose personal details of your marriage.

Navigating the complexities of a fault divorce requires the guidance of a skilled divorce attorney who can provide legal advice tailored to your unique circumstances. The Edwards Law Group specializes in divorce and family law in Georgia and has the expertise to guide you through the process with compassion and professionalism.

At The Edwards Law Group, we understand the emotional and legal challenges you face when considering a fault divorce. Our dedicated team is here to listen to your concerns, explain your options, and advocate for your rights throughout the proceedings.

If you are considering a divorce in Georgia and believe that claiming marital fault may be relevant to your case, we encourage you to reach out to us for a consultation. We will provide you with the information and support you need to make informed decisions about your future.