Adultery often leads to divorce. Whether you were the straying or non-straying partner, infidelity may still affect your divorce in ways you did not intend.
The No-Fault Divorce.
For years, someone who was stuck in an unhappy marriage had to state grounds for getting a divorce. Abuse, desertion, and adultery were commonly cited by a party when filing divorce papers. The divorce petitioner may have had to provide proof to back up their reasons for ending the marriage.
Now, no-fault divorce is available in California. A petitioner filing for a no-fault divorce doesn’t have to say who was at fault or what happened. You just have to say you want to end the marriage.
It’s Not Illegal, but There May Be Consequences.
Adultery is not against the law, so you won’t be arrested for having an affair. However, straying from the marriage can make things difficult for the adulterous spouse:
Alimony and Spousal Support. A court may consider a party’s adultery while determining alimony and spousal support. The amount of support ordered won’t be based on morality, but instead on how the adultery may have affected the innocent spouse’s financial wellbeing.
Custody. Adultery typically has more of an immediate effect on a person’s relationship with their spouse than their relationship with their children. Still, the strain on the marital relationship will cause discomfort for everyone involved. However, courts typically only consider the infidelity’s effect if children are being put in danger by the affair.
Property Distribution. California is a community property state and community property is typically split 50-50. However, if one spouse uses community funds to pay for his or her infidelity, the other spouse may be entitled to restitution from the offending spouse’s share of the marital estate.
Negotiations. The adulterous spouse may feel ashamed or guilty. The injured spouse may feel angry and want revenge. Emotions can add an extra level of stress to delicate negotiations.
Learn More About the Effect of Adultery on Your Divorce.
Whether you’re the cheater or the person being cheated on, infidelity will affect your divorce. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are highly experienced with all divorce issues. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We maintain offices in San Francisco, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), Roseville, and surrounding communities.
California led the way in no-fault divorce laws, where a spouse can get a divorce without showing any fault of the other spouse. Nonetheless, showing fault may help one spouse win custody of the children, greater alimony, and a greater share of the marital property. This is why you need to discuss any potential areas of fault with your attorney, whether you wish to raise the issue or defend against it.
One traditional area of fault that could affect the outcome of a divorce case is adultery. The degree of importance placed on adultery varies from state to state, judge to judge, and from case to case. Some states tend to hold a more traditional view of marriage and give greater weight to adultery, while others place less importance on fidelity within the marriage.
In California, adultery does not necessarily amount to a game-changer unless the adulterous relationship irreparably affected certain aspects of the marriage. For instance, if a wandering husband used marital assets to support his mistress, then the wife may be able to win a greater share of the marital property. Likewise, if the husband openly cavorted with his mistress in front of the children, that fact may weigh substantially on the court’s award of custody and visitation to the wife.
Perhaps the most delicate subject in a case where adultery has occurred is a claim that an unfaithful spouse brought a sexually transmitted disease into the marriage. Such a claim can give the victim spouse a substantial advantage, but proving the issue in court may be more than the victim bargained for.
If adultery is likely to be a factor in your divorce case, seek the help of an experienced divorce lawyer as early as possible. A good attorney will help you build the foundation and strategy you need to raise or defend an adultery claim at trial, and achieve the best possible outcome for you.
The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger can assist you in proving or defending an adultery claim in your divorce proceedings in California. Judy L. Burger is known for her aggressive representation of clients in high conflict cases in and around the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay areas. If you are a spouse facing divorce, call us today to learn more about how we can help you. Call (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form.