In Georgia, adultery can impact many aspects of a divorce case, including alimony, equitable division and child custody. If one spouse’s adultery is the cause of the divorce, that spouse is barred from receiving alimony. OCGA §19-6-1(b). This bar remains in effect despite the parties’ financial circumstances. For example, if a wife with no income or assets cheats on her husband who earns a six-figure income, and that affair is found to be the cause of the divorce, the wife will not be entitled to receive alimony.
While alimony is the most black and white issue as it relates to adultery, cheating on a spouse may also impact equitable division and child custody. In Georgia, marital assets are divided equitably, not necessarily equally. This means that the Judge may consider all circumstances surrounding the parties’ marriage and divorce, including actions of the parties, in dividing assets.If one spouse’s adultery is found to have caused the divorce, the court may find it equitable to give the other spouse a larger portion of the marital estate. The relationship between adultery and child custody is similar. In deciding custody, a Judge may consider any relevant factor in determining the best interests of the children involved. OCGA §19-9-3(a)(3). Thus, adultery may be considered in determining this issue as well. For example, if a spouse committed adultery in the presence of the children, this would likely weigh heavily against that parent in a custody battle.
It should be noted that some Georgia judges look more harshly upon a spouse who has committed adultery. If you are a party to a divorce where adultery is at issue, it would be prudent to schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney who may be able to help you best present your case to your particular Judge.