Intentionally lying under oath during a Georgia divorce matter is not a technique that should be employed in an effort to obtain a better divorce outcome. Lying under oath is a crime and lying under oath in a divorce matter is just as serious as lying under oath in any other legal action, and it comes with the same penalties. Perjury, or lying under oath in a legal action, is a crime in Georgia.
According to Georgia law concerning perjury:
“(a) A person to whom a lawful oath or affirmation has been administered commits the offense of perjury when, in a judicial proceeding, he knowingly and willfully makes a false statement material to the issue or point in question.
(b) A person convicted of the offense of perjury shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years, or both. A person convicted of the offense of perjury that was a cause of another’s being imprisoned shall be sentenced to a term not to exceed the sentence provided for the crime for which the other person was convicted. A person convicted of the offense of perjury that was a cause of another’s being punished by death shall be punished by life imprisonment.”
O.C.G.A. § 16-10-70.
Not only may those who make false statements under oath be subject to the penalties of perjury, but those who attest to a statement they know to be false in a sworn written affidavit or affirmation may also be subject to the penalties that accompany perjury as well. With regard to this conduct, known as “false swearing,” Georgia law states:
“(a) A person to whom a lawful oath or affirmation has been administered or who executes a document knowing that it purports to be an acknowledgment of a lawful oath or affirmation commits the offense of false swearing when, in any matter or thing other than a judicial proceeding, he knowingly and willfully makes a false statement.
(b) A person convicted of the offense of false swearing shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, or both.”
O.C.G.A. § 16-10-71.
As can be seen by reviewing the statutory law outlined above, lying under oath in a court of law or lying under oath when affirming the contents of a written document, like a Divorce Complaint or Interrogatory responses can cost big time and may even land the perjurer in jail for up to a decade. Thus, whether it comes to in-court testimony, or the affirmations or verifications that must be signed for certain pleadings and discovery responses, honesty is always the best policy.