Featured News 2018 Does a Cheating Spouse Affect a Divorce?

Does a Cheating Spouse Affect a Divorce?

Your marriage is coming to an end, and a divorce is imminent. As you think through all the complications that come with a divorce, you wonder if your spouse's adultery will affect the divorce. The short answer to that question is yes, cases of adultery and infidelity will affect how a divorce proceeds. However, the exact details of how adultery will affect divorce proceedings is dependent on various situations.

Some things that affect adulterous divorce are:

  • How a state sees adultery as a grounds for divorce.

Various states see adultery differently in regards to divorce proceedings. Some states dictate adultery as a grounds for divorce. In these states, proving that a spouse was adulterous during the marriage is a key component to securing alimony payments and child custody agreements that favor the committed spouse. However, other states have no provisions for divorce as a grounds for separation, and the state will demand that the divorce ends in "no-fault."

  • How a state views adultery in regards to alimony.

Some states do not have provisions for adultery as grounds for divorce. However, some of these states do allow adultery to affect alimony payments. If a spouse can prove the other spouse was unfaithful during the marriage, a judge can use that information to alter a decision for the amount of alimony the unfaithful spouse pays or receives. In some cases, proven adultery can entirely forfeit a spouse's right to alimony.

  • How the unfaithful spouse used marital assets in affair.

Typically, affairs do not affect the division of property within a marriage. However, in circumstances where a spouse used funds to purchase items or experiences for his or her lover, the committed spouse may be entitled to extra divisional rights to compensate for the funds that were used for the infidelity. For example, if a spouse were to fly a lover to a vacation spot in the Bahamas, the committed spouse could use bank statements to prove that the cheating spouse used their funds to purchase a luxury vacation for their mistress. Once this is proven, a judge may add property value distribution to the committed partner in an amount that equals the cost of the mistress' vacation.

Proving Infidelity Is Difficult

Regardless of where a spouse lives, proving infidelity is the first step to any of these provisions. However, proving that a spouse was cheating may not be as easy as it seems. Gathering these items before a divorce paper is served is the best way to guarantee that the sensitive materials are easily attained. For this reason, many spouses ask a professional family law attorney to help them identify pieces of evidence that can prove infidelity. Family law attorneys know what evidence can stand in court, and they can help clients file subpoenas to recover legal documents that show signs of adultery. Talking to a divorce attorney first can help a client secure the data they need.

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