The aftermath of the Ashley Madison hack has many people talking about infidelity and how it affects divorce. You may be wondering if your spouse is being unfaithful, and if they are, what’s the best course of action.
For couples who are experiencing a strained relationship, have decided to separate or who have started the divorce process, infidelity can complicate an already difficult situation.
No matter what the circumstances, infidelity can affect divorce in a number of ways. Understanding how infidelity affects divorce is important for anyone facing the end of their marriage. It is especially important for high net individuals who are concerned about protecting their assets and preparing for life after divorce.
DEALING WITH MARITAL INFIDELITY
The data breach at AshleyMadison.com, an online website that facilitates extramarital relationships, affected millions of people. It exposed the affairs of both men and women. Some Ashley Madison clients were in stable unions while others were in the midst of deteriorating marriages.
Many of those individuals who believed they were in a faithful marriage and were surprised to find that their spouse had an active account will likely make the difficult decision to explore their options for divorce. They should know that infidelity in a marriage does make a difference when it comes to completing the divorce in several areas from the division of assets and debts, to the moral character of the parties in determining custody and other child related issues.
For some people, finding out that their spouse had an Ashley Madison account confirmed their suspicions about infidelity. If you suspect your spouse is committing adultery, avoid jumping to conclusions. Simply having an account linked to an online relationship or dating website isn’t proof of infidelity. And, if you intend to allege infidelity as the grounds for the break-up of the marriage, you will need proof. Talking to an experienced divorce attorney can tell you what to look for and inform you as to what the Court may deem important or credible “proof.”
You may want to discuss the situation with a counselor or therapist before making any decisions. This will help you work through the emotional stress associated with infidelity. A mental health professional can also provide you with guidance on how to approach communicating with your spouse about the suspected adultery.
For many, just the possibility of infidelity is enough to erode the trust that is vital to a healthy marriage. If you’ve arrived at the conclusion that it is best to end your marriage, then it’s time to
prepare for the divorce process. Adultery is one of thirteen grounds for divorce in Georgia and adultery can be pled along with the standard ground that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
In addition to the emotional issues, there are several legal and economic ramifications to consider when adultery is an issue in your divorce. First, in order to benefit in the divorce from other party’s infidelity, you must show that the adultery was the cause of the break-up of the marriage.
Sometimes attending counseling and attempting to mend the relationship can be seen as “reconciliation” thereby implying that the adulterous affair was forgiven and was not the sole excuse for the end of the marriage. Therefore, if you find out that your spouse has had an affair, it is smart to seek legal advice even if you are not 100% sure you’re ready to file for divorce.
Knowing the law can help you decide how is best to proceed.Talking with an experienced divorce lawyer will also help you understand what to expect from the process and the steps you need to take to ensure a favorable outcome.
WILL INFIDELITY AFFECT MY EXISTING DIVORCE CASE?
Infidelity can also be a factor if you have already begun the divorce process. For example, an acknowledgment of infidelity could make communication between spouses more difficult or contentious.
If you have filed for a no fault divorce, introducing adultery as a ground for divorce may not have a significant effect on the proceedings. However, your attorney can advise you as to how it might affect the outcome and whether it would be beneficial to amend your Complaint to allege the additional grounds for divorce.
Keep in mind that the role of the court is to equitably distribute marital assets and ensure that the best interests of the children are considered. Infidelity doesn’t necessarily mean the judge will distribute marital assets in a punitive manner or award the aggrieved spouse a more favorable settlement.
Discussing your situation with a qualified divorce lawyer is an ideal way to evaluate the best strategy for safeguarding your assets and navigating a complex divorce.
Oxendine & Sauls, LP has a team of experts ready to represent your interests before the court.