Featured News 2014 Does Adultery Make a Difference in Divorce?

Does Adultery Make a Difference in Divorce?

There was a time in the history of divorce procedure where adultery mattered quite a bit. Decades ago, courts would only grant at-fault divorces. These are divorces where the petitioner could prove that the other spouse had committed an offense that warranted the divorce. One of the most common reasons to file for at-fault divorces was adultery. Oftentimes, individuals who file for a divorce based on adultery will get into lengthy battles in the court. In some cases, the court may favor the victimized spouse in an adultery divorce.

In reality, regardless of whether or not a spouse has committed adultery, most divorces end with a no-fault filing where the spouses cite irreconcilable differences as the reason for their split. Irreconcilable differences is a fancy way of saying that the couple can't get along anymore.

A no-fault divorce tends to be cheaper, less contentious, and less emotionally draining for parties and their children, which is why this method is now more common. Normally, even if one spouse is primarily at-fault for the divorce, the couple will agree to file for a no-fault divorce in order to protect their children and facilitate a quicker process.

Today, all states allow for no-fault divorces based on separation. In some states, at-fault divorces aren't even used anymore. However, there are some states where at-fault divorce is still an option. Courts typically don't like working with at-fault divorces, so they heavily encourage spouses to file a no-fault divorce regardless of the situation that led to the end of the marriage.

Some no-fault states, like California, prohibit spouses from testifying or inquiring about adultery unless a judge finds that this is relevant to an issue in the case. While most states are not keen on at-fault divorces, in some courts adultery may actually have an effect on the judge's decisions concerning alimony and property division. This is especially true if the cheating spouse used marital assets to find an affair. A judge can typically order the cheating spouse to pay more spousal support or reimburse the innocent one for wasted funds.

In the past, some states have allowed a victimized spouse in an adulterous situation to sue the ex-spouse or the ex-spouses partner for damages based on emotional pain and suffering. Lawsuits of this nature are rarely honored, but there have been times in the past that an individual has been able to win a case of this nature.

These lawsuits are normally called alienation of affection lawsuits. Those who are proved guilty of alienation of affection can be forced to pay these funds in addition to alimony or spousal support. In some cases, a parent who is proven guilty of an affair may lose his or her right to child custody as a result.

USA Today reports that 54% of Americans say that they know someone who has an unfaithful spouse. 37% of all Americans say that they would not get divorced if their spouse had an affair. If your spouse is having an affair and you don't want to remain with that partner, you may want to talk with a local attorney about the potential of a divorce.

Also, you will want to discuss the laws in your state and determine whether it is wiser for you to file a no-fault divorce or if you should file an at-fault divorce and seek additional spousal support or alimony due to your spouse's affair. If you choose this option, then you will want to talk with a attorney about collecting evidence of the affair and showing that your claims have merit. Call today to learn more!

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