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How Does Adultery Affect Divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2016 | Divorce

When going through the divorce process, it is important to know what you are entitled to before you begin settlement negotiations. If you have been cheated on by your spouse, you probably feel that you are entitled to as much as you would like. From a legal standpoint, however, the impact that adultery has on a divorce varies from state to state. In some states where there is still fault-based divorce, it can have a substantial outcome. In other states, there is very little impact at all. When looking at the impact that adultery has on divorce, it is important to consider how it may affect division of assets, child custody, and alimony.

Division of Assets

While it may seem unfair, adultery will not have much of an influence on how shared assets are distributed. Any shared assets used to support the extra-marital relationship, however, is something likely to be considered when dividing the shared assets.

Child Custody

Adultery does not have any impact on a parent’s right to have custody or visitation of their children resulting from the marriage. As long as the adulterer does not introduce anyone to the children that could cause them any harm, infidelity does not have any effect on the person’s ability to be a good parent and therefor has no influence on child custody.


Infidelity may also not have as great of an impact on alimony calculations as you might think is fair. In some states where fault-based divorce still exists, however, adultery could result in minimizing or even eliminating any spousal support that the unfaithful spouse could have been eligible for.

Ultimately, the greatest impact that adultery can have on a divorce is in settlement negotiations. The attitude that both parties have during negotiations is what will influence the terms of settlement the most. The betrayed spouse could use the guilt that the cheating spouse might feel as leverage to negotiate a better settlement. When going through the divorce process, however, it is important to not let anger and vengeance get in the way of making the best decisions for yourself and your children.

If you are going through a divorce and your spouse has cheated on you, contact the Orange County divorce attorneys at Gill Law Group, PC. Our firm will provide you reasonable and un-biased advice from attorneys that can guide you through every part of this painful situation and help you make the best choices during your divorce negotiations.