How Does Adultery Affect Divorce?

Cheating is one of the most common reasons why marriages fail. Though some spouses are able to forgive and move forward, many others are simply unable to remain with a partner who has committed adultery, and even if they are willing, the adultery is often a sign of far deeper problems within the marriage.

If your spouse has committed adultery and you are ending your marriage as a result, it’s important to understand exactly how their infidelity will and will not affect your legal proceedings.

In Pennsylvania, divorce proceedings address several issues. There is the distribution of property, the question of whether the spouse who has lower income will be eligible for alimony (and how much), child custody, and child support.  No matter how outraged you may be over your spouse’s cheating, it will not impact the way that your assets are divided.  It can, however, play a role in the amount of alimony that they receive or have to pay, as adultery is considered misconduct in the eyes of the court. Infidelity will only have an impact on custody if the court deems that the adultery has had a negative impact on the children. It will not play a role in the support that either spouses is required to provide or is entitled to receive on behalf of their children’s care.

Though the amount of alimony that a spouse has to pay or will receive can be impacted by adultery, alimony is not paid in perpetuity, and it is not always provided. If the lower income spouse does get awarded alimony, it is often expected that they will work to improve their financial situation, though that does not always happen.

Many spouses that have been cheated on are so angry and hurt by the betrayal that they have suffered that they want to use it as a weapon in the course of the divorce. Whether this is effective or not will often depend upon the judge in the case and your financial situation. If you do want to argue against your spouse receiving any alimony – or having to pay more alimony – as a result of cheating, you will need to provide some type of proof that it happened, though this does not need to specifically show intercourse. Hotel receipts, photos, phone records and text messages are often enough.

Our experienced, compassionate attorneys are here to provide legal assistance and guidance as you face this challenging time in your life. For more information, contact us to set up a time to talk.