Are there legal ramifications for adultery?

Divorce Attorney Angela FoyQuestion:

I live in Georgia but had an affair with a woman in California. Is there a legal response my soon-to-be ex-wife can take to the woman I committed adultery with?



I do not practice in your jurisdiction, so I can only speak in generalities about divorce rights for men based on my experience.  However, in order to commence a legal action, the party bringing the action must show that the court has jurisdiction. Jurisdiction of two different kinds must be shown: subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction.

Subject matter jurisdiction means that the court has the authority or power to hear the kind of action brought.  Subjection matter is conferred by state statute – so in your case, Georgia may have authority to hear causes of action related to adultery, but California may not.

Personal jurisdiction means that the court has authority over a person served in the action.  To obtain personal jurisdiction over an individual, that person must either be in the state, live in that state, be engaged in substantial and not isolated activities in that state, or the act which led to the cause of action took place in the state.  In your case, it is unlikely that a Georgia court would have personal jurisdiction over the California resident, unless she visited Georgia and changed that. If she did change that, then this individual case may differ in regards to divorce rights for men.

The specific causes of action that your soon to be ex may have depend on your case and the specific rules in your jurisdiction regarding divorce rights for men.  I do not practice in Georgia, so I cannot inform you as to the state’s specific laws.  If you have further questions, you should discuss your case with a domestic litigation attorney in your jurisdiction.  Cordell & Cordell has attorneys that are licensed and located in Georgia, and they would be happy to discuss your case with you.


Angela Foy is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisc., office of Cordell & Cordell where her primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Ms. Foy is licensed to practice in the state of Wisconsin, the U.S. District Court, and the Eastern District of Wisconsin. 

 Ms. Foy received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University of Notre Dame. She then continued on to receive her Juris Doctor from Marquette University.

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