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My Spouse is Cheating: Should I Stay or Should I go?
How long has this been going on? Should we seek marital counseling? Should we separate? Is divorce the answer? These are just some of the many questions married people ask themselves after discovering a spouse’s infidelity. Although for some, there is no question that an instance of adultery will result in divorce, for others adultery is not seen as a fatal blow to a marriage. In fact, as Georgia divorce attorneys we have seen several instances where couples have initiated divorce proceedings after infidelity is revealed, only to reconcile before the divorce is finalized.
For some, adultery will result in divorce, for others adultery is not seen as a fatal blow to a marriage.
If you recently discovered your spouse is cheating, and are wondering whether divorce or reconciliation is the best path to take, listed below are three of the options couples generally adopt when dealing with infidelity. Although the options listed below are popular routes to take when dealing with adultery, determining which one is right for you and your marriage is a deeply personal decision that should be based on your unique circumstances.
Counseling: Adultery doesn’t have to be automatically fatal to a marriage. In fact, if both spouses wish to save their marriage, even in the face of infidelity, marital counseling is one of the best ways to help resolve relationship issues. A qualified marriage counselor or couple’s therapist can help a couple work through issues such as anger, jealousy, and distrust. However, for counseling to be effective, both spouses must be willing to participate, take ownership of the marital issues that led to the infidelity, and work together to improve the marriage. Learn more about counseling.
Reconciliation: In addition to seeking marriage counseling, sometime couples who choose to save their marriage after adultery also explore legal options to aid in the reconciliation process, such as putting a reconciliation agreement in place. Generally, a reconciliation agreement is a type of post-nuptial agreement that spells out how assets and debts would be divided in the event of a divorce. By entering into a reconciliation agreement, the spouse considering divorce can agree to remain married and dismiss any pending divorce case in exchange for the other party entering into an agreement regarding the distribution of property in the event of a subsequent divorce. A reconciliation agreement may be a useful tool to help the betrayed spouse cope with the breach of trust caused by the infidelity, because such an agreement would provide that spouse a sense of security in the event divorce is pursued later.
Divorce: Finally, in the event reconciliation and/or counseling is not successful or pursued, divorce may be the most appropriate path for a couple to take after an affair. Although adultery is one of Georgia’s thirteen grounds for divorce, many times individuals and their attorneys choose to proceed with a “no fault” divorce. Generally this option is taken because in order to be granted a divorce based in infidelity, the spouse seeking the divorce must present evidence proving the other spouse is guilty of adultery. This is often a burden that many spouses find unsurmountable because affairs are often conducted in secrecy. Thus, the “no fault” option is taken. It should be noted that even if both parties seek a no fault divorce, a court may still take into account the actions of each spouse, including adultery and abuse, when determining the division of property and the award of alimony.