What if you are the person who is at fault in your divorce case? Adultery? Physical Abuse? Alcohol or drugs?

What if you are the person who is at fault in your divorce case?

By M. J. Goodwin



All of us are human and as a result of innate human failings, I have no perfect clients.  We all have things in our past we wish we had handled differently.  Divorcing clients are no exception.  But what if your mistake is a big one?  What if the mistake amounts to a ground for divorce?  What if your mistake causes your spouse to say “I want a divorce.”?


In that case, you need a lawyer.  Maybe even more than the spouse who is determined not to be “at fault.”


Let’s use adultery as an example.  One incident of infidelity is sufficient to prove adultery.  In most cases I see, the adultery occurred more than once.  Sometimes a new relationship has even begun as a result of the adultery.  The proof is there and there is no denying it.  The spouse that is at fault here really needs a lawyer to help with damage control.  Adultery certainly ends the marriage as a legal ground and also bars the offending spouse from alimony.  But it doesn’t mean that the at fault spouse loses everything, including all property and his or her relationship with any children of the marriage.  Those are the areas where experienced, competent counsel can make all the difference:  property division, custody and visitation.


The subject of domestic violence is another area that can be full of potential pitfalls.  Domestic violence is a very serious thing in South Carolina, where we have the dubious distinction of leading the nation in deaths resulting from this insidious problem.  If you are the aggressor, if you have made this mistake, there is help for you and hope for you.  But you have to deal with the underlying issues.  Domestic violence is typically about control.  It may also have underlying issues involving drugs and alcohol, which are also grounds for divorce.  But again, being the at fault partner does not mean losing everything, including relationships with children.  This situation, as well as those involving drugs and alcohol, can have positive outcomes for clients and can serve as avenues for growth.  Competent representation and counsel is strongly advised.  Mental and emotional health will likely need to be dealt with, as will any substance abuse issues.  Domestic violence also has criminal implications and those issues must be taken seriously, but that is not the topic of this blog.


So if you have made a big mistake and reconciliation with your spouse is no longer an option, contact me.  I will help you assess your situation and see what we can do in the way of damage control.


Contact M. J. Goodwin:  mj@mjgoodwin.com





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