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dads divorce lawyer infidelityThere are many reasons couples get divorced, and infidelity is high on the list. When one spouse has an extramarital affair, the other spouse may feel betrayed, and this could lead them to attempt to get revenge either before ending the marriage or during divorce proceedings. The strong emotions that these situations can evoke will often lead to increased levels of conflict between spouses, making it difficult to reach agreements during the divorce process. If infidelity is a factor in your divorce, you’ll want to be sure to understand your rights and determine how it may affect the decisions made in your case.

Filing for Divorce

Whether you plan to begin the process of ending your marriage by filing a petition for divorce or need to respond to your spouse’s divorce petition, you’ll want to determine whether infidelity should be addressed at this stage. While some states may allow spouses to cite fault-based grounds for divorce, such as adultery, most states allow for no-fault divorce. In these cases, a divorce petition will simply state that the marriage has broken down due to irreconcilable differences. While listing infidelity as a grounds for divorce may be possible in your state, it may be best to avoid laying the blame for your divorce in the initial filing or response, since this may help you avoid conflict later in the divorce process.

Addressing Infidelity During Divorce Proceedings

In many cases, an extramarital affair won’t play a direct role in the decisions made during a divorce. Typically, issues such as the division of marital property will be based on what is fair and equitable for both parties, and “marital misconduct” will not be a factor that is considered. However, some states do allow adultery or other forms of misconduct to be considered when making decisions about whether to award spousal support. An affair may affect the property division process if a spouse is accused of dissipating assets, or using marital funds or property for non-marital purposes.

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Adultery and divorce issues child custody alimonyFew things are more hurtful than realizing that your marriage is coming to an end because your spouse has cheated on you. In these cases, you’re likely to feel a great deal of sadness and betrayal, as well as anger about how your impending divorce will affect your children and anxiety about the changes you’ll be experiencing in your life. All of these feelings can seem overwhelming, and you might want to lash out at your spouse for bringing this turmoil into your family’s lives. However, as you proceed with the divorce process, you’ll want to take a step back, consider things from a legal perspective, and understand how infidelity will affect the decisions made.

Addressing Adultery When Filing for Divorce

Depending on the laws in your state, you may or may not need to address infidelity when filing a petition for divorce. Some states recognize fault-based grounds for divorce, allowing a person to state that their marriage has ended because of adultery or other actions taken by their partner. However, most states allow for “no-fault divorce” in which a person simply needs to state that the marriage has failed due to “irreconcilable differences,” and in some states, this is the only option available. While you may feel that you should make it understood that your spouse’s infidelity is the reason your marriage has ended, blaming her for your divorce could make the process more contentious, leading to disputes that take a great deal of time and money to resolve.

Infidelity and Financial Issues

If you believe that your spouse is to blame for the end of your marriage, you may feel that she should be penalized or that matters related to finances should be decided in your favor. However, most state laws do not take adultery or other forms of marital misconduct into account when addressing matters such as the division of marital property. In most cases, assets and debts that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage will be divided in a way that is fair and equitable. However, if your spouse dissipated or wasted marital assets when committing adultery, such as by spending money to buy gifts for her lover, this could affect the decisions made about how property will be divided.

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