Think twice before seeking a fault-based divorce in Georgia

| Nov 8, 2019 | Divorce |

Although some people like to claim that their spouse divorced them for no reason whatsoever, in reality, no one goes through the drama and heartbreak of a divorce without a strong incentive. Whether you and your spouse have grown apart for the last few years or there has been a sudden and catastrophic failure of the trust and mutual respect that is the foundation of a healthy relationship, there’s probably a very good reason why you want to end your marriage.

Sometimes, the spouse who decides to leave may feel like they want the world to know why it is they ended the marriage, especially if the situation involves abuse, infidelity or addiction. Filing a fault-based divorce is theoretically a way in which you can hold your former spouse accountable for their actions and how it impacted your marriage. However, fault-based divorces are increasingly uncommon for a number of reasons.

No-fault divorces are faster and cheaper

When you file a fault-based divorce, your ex has the right to defend themselves against the reasons you allege for wanting to leave the marriage. That could mean that there are days or even weeks of testimony and evidence presentation that you will have to pay for in order to convince the courts to grant a fault-based divorce. That drastically increases the attorney fees and court costs you have to pay.

A no-fault divorce filed on the grounds that your marriage has become irretrievably broken, on the other hand, requires no evidence to substantiate that allegation. Neither spouse bears individual responsibility for the end of the marriage. Even if only one spouse feels that the relationship has broken down or degraded, the courts will still allow the filing to move forward.

There isn’t much gratification to be had in a fault-based divorce

Securing a fault-based divorce judgment does very little other than make the reason for the end of your marriage public record. For some people, the motivation in pursuing a fault-based divorce stems from a desire to sway the courts toward more favorable terms as a means of punishing their ex for their behavior during the marriage.

However, regardless of whether you file a fault-based or no-fault divorce, the Georgia courts cannot legally consider any marital misconduct when splitting in your assets or deciding how to allocate the custody of your minor children. Instead, they will focus on what is reasonable and fair, as well as what will be in the best interests of the children.

Only if you have a prenuptial agreement that addresses infidelity or other kinds of bad behavior by your spouse will any kind of marital misconduct have an impact on the terms of your divorce. Even then, you probably don’t need to file a fault-based divorce just to meet the terms of the prenuptial agreement.

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