Forgiveness may be good for the soul, but it could possibly be very damaging to your divorce case. According to Georgia divorce law, “No divorce shall be granted under the following circumstances: … The party complaining of the adultery, desertion, cruel treatment, or intoxication of the other party was consenting thereto; … or There has been a voluntary condonation and cohabitation subsequent to the acts complained of, with notice thereof.” O.C.G.A. § 19-5-4 (a). In the event the court presiding over a divorce matter finds that one spouse has consented to or condoned the other spouses adultery, or other faulty activities, the court may deny a divorce to the spouse seeking the divorce on these grounds. O.C.G.A. §19-5-4 (b).
Although many are familiar with the concept of consent, which in the case of adultery would mean allowing your spouse to commit adultery, many may not be familiar with the concept of condonation. In essence, condonation involves two elements: 1) the innocent spouse forgiving the guilty spouse once he or she learns of the adultery and 2) the innocent spouse resuming cohabitation or intimate relations with the guilty spouse after learning of the affair. Id. Many couples seek to reconcile after the occurrence of an affair, and although this is the best course of action for some, it may not be the best course of action for all. This is especially the case if the innocent spouse is considering filing for divorce based on the guilty spouse’s conduct. Once condonation has occurred, it will be very difficult for the spouse seeking a divorce to obtain one based on adultery. With this being said, if you are considering divorce due to your spouse’s infidelity, think twice before you take any actions that may be viewed by the court as condoning his or her actions. Seeking marriage counseling is definitely an option if you wish to reconcile, but if you have moved out or otherwise separated from your spouse due to his or her infidelity, keep your distance. If you have ceased sharing the same bed, it may be best to continue to do so until you have weighed your options and come to a resolution on which course of action to take.