Under Georgia law, adultery is a misdemeanor offense, and the state is quite specific with its definition of what constitutes adultery. Georgia defines adultery as when a married person “voluntarily has sexual intercourse with a person other than his [or her] spouse.”
More specifically, however, adultery can be a bar to alimony in Georgia, though not automatically. Georgia law states “a party shall not be entitled to alimony if it is established by a preponderance of the evidence that the separation between the parties was caused by that party’s adultery or desertion.”
Essentially, in order for adultery to be a bar to alimony, it has to be the main reason for a couple’s split. Unsurprisingly, it can be quite tricky to prove adultery in court, which is one reason why many individuals decide to file for divorce under other grounds. But if proving adultery is key to barring or limiting alimony payments, it’s important to understand what, exactly, is required by the court.
While the court does not require proof of sexual intimacy, it does require proof that there was the opportunity and inclination to commit adultery. This could include:
Essentially, the spouse filing for divorce on the grounds of adultery is trying to prove that his or her ex-partner was alone with another individual and was likely to be sexually intimate.
Partners who suspect infidelity sometimes also hire private investigators (PIs) to obtain photos or recordings of the couple. A PI’s evidence and testimony may be used to prove adultery; however, it’s critical to hire a licensed and reputable PI. Georgia requires that PIs be licensed by the state.
Before you file for divorce, you’ll want to contact a Marietta divorce attorney to go over your options. It’s not always the best idea to file for divorce on the grounds of adultery—especially if it’s unlikely you can prove that adultery took place. A Georgia alimony attorney can discuss your situation and help determine if adultery may prove to be a bar to alimony.