Many people get married to commit to another person for the rest of their life. However, many people are unable to stay faithful to their spouse and choose to seek companionship outside of their marriages without their spouse’s knowledge or consent.
While some couples can work through this infidelity, others are unable to do so and decide to end their marriage. If you are divorcing a spouse who cheated on you, you may be wondering if their infidelity will impact your divorce. In no-fault divorce states like California, the court will grant your divorce since the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” without considering whose fault it is that the marriage is ending.
Areas of divorce that can be affected
Generally, adultery will not affect the outcome of a high-asset divorce. However, it can impact several issues that arise under certain circumstances.
- Property division: If your spouse used marital property to fund the affairs (e.g., paid for gifts for affair partners with money from a joint account), you may be entitled to compensation.
- Child custody: If your spouse exposed your child to inappropriate behavior or if the affair negatively impacted their parenting abilities (e.g., spending time with affair partner instead of picking their children up from school), the affair may impact custody determinations.
- Spousal support: If your spouse’s affairs caused you financial hardship (e.g., accumulation of credit card debt), their actions may impact the spousal support payments you receive.
- Emotional distress: While this is difficult to prove, the court may award damages for emotional distress caused by the adultery if you can show that you were unable to work because of the trauma caused by the adultery.
Adultery can destroy a marriage but may not impact divorce proceedings as much as you may think. To find out if your divorce may be impacted by adultery, you should consider speaking to a family law attorney early in the process.