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Contested divorce can descend into battle of personal attacks

Modern no-fault divorce statutes have replaced the practice of having to show the other party's wrongdoing. Today, there is little advantage in a divorce in Georgia or other jurisdictions of using the tactic of dragging the other spouse through the marriage's murky waters. It is true that fault still factors into an alimony or spousal support award  -- but it is just one of about a dozen factors that are considered. It can be relevant in a custody battle, but must be offered in an objective and measured format that is not clearly personal, unsupported, or emotionally charged.

There is generally little advantage in trying to turn a divorce or custody proceeding into a battlefield scorched by bombastic charges against the other party's character. However, that strategy appears to be favored by the parties in a divorce and custody battle now occurring in another state. The wife is accusing her millionaire investment banker husband of shocking behavior.

This includes being on booze and drugs most of the time, engaging in wife-swapping, and using their marital bed literally as a bathroom. They are the parents of two young children. The husband, who reportedly makes $7 million per year on Wall Street, has denied the accusations, and has made some of his own.

He claims, for example, that his wife is an alcoholic with a drug problem who drunkenly crashed her car with their two children inside it. Even in custody litigation, there is a line that attorneys usually draw in making attacks on the other party, mainly because such tactics can be counter-productive and can backfire. The presiding judge said as much to the parties -- he recently warned them to stop putting their dirty wash in public.

In Georgia and other jurisdictions, both a divorce and a custody proceeding should be focused on the presentation of objective evidence tending to show what is in the best interest of the children. That is a more effective way for the parties to get their positions aired and considered.  The use of personal invectives is a poor way to boost one's credibility in the eyes of the court.

Source: New York Daily News, "Investment banker's estranged wife accuses him of cocaine abuse, orgy in divorce suit", Barbara Ross and Larry McShane, Oct. 23, 2014

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