How Will Adultery Impact A Divorce Case?

Posted on: 5 April 2016

Divorce is complicated as it is, but when you add adultery to the mix, you complicate matters further. Infidelity can dramatically impact the grounds for divorce while also affecting the dividing of assets.

Grounds for Divorce

When filing for a divorce, you have to essentially choose the grounds on which you are divorcing your partner. You have the option to choose several different grounds, but one of those is adultery.

If you file on the grounds of adultery, you do not have to provide concrete evidence that your partner was adulterous. In most states, you must simply prove that they had the opportunity to behave adulterously. Infidelity itself is not a game changer unless a custody battle accompanies the divorce case, and even then its impact can be questionable.

What Can Go Wrong

There are several detail-oriented factors involved in a divorce case involving adultery. The only way the infidelity matters legally is if the spouse involved in adulterous activity adversely affected the well-being, whether physical or financial, of the other spouse.

If an adulterous spouse uses assets that were legally bound to both spouses during their marriage, matters grow complicated. In a court of law, it can be argued that the cheating spouse is or was stealing from the innocent spouse. The adulterous spouse can be fined and possibly lose assets if the other is able to prove that their finances or assets were used to support the infidelity without their knowledge.

If the adulterous spouse's actions impact the innocent spouse's health in any way, adultery can become a major player in the outcome of a divorce case. If the adulterer did not take care of themselves and became infected with a sexually transmitted disease because of relations with their non-marital partner, there is much more on the line for the innocent spouse and grounds for a lawsuit. The division of assets can, and most likely will, be dramatically impacted.

Adultery has Circumstantial Effects

How adultery impacts a divorce case is circumstantial. Unless it has resulted in a sizeable, documented, and provable negative impact, it's not likely to change the outcome of the divorce proceedings.

If you are the victim of marital infidelity, it is important to stop your emotions from seizing control. Adultery can make the case messy, so it is important to keep an open and sensible mind when dealing with the settlement and dividing the assets.

For more information, talk to an office like Pagel Family Law.