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If My Spouse Had an Affair, Will it Affect My Divorce?

California, like many other states, is a no-fault divorce state. Therefore, spouses can obtain a divorce for one of two reasons – irreconcilable differences or incurable insanity. If you list irreconcilable differences as your reason for divorce, you will not have to explain why the marriage failed. If your spouse had an affair, for example, these details would likely be irrelevant in court.

Spousal Support and Property Division

Generally, adultery does not affect the outcome of a divorce. However, in some cases, it can indirectly affect property division. If your spouse spent vast sums of marital assets on gifts, trips, or other items for a lover, this would be considered wasteful dissipation. Since none of these purchases benefited you or your family as a whole, a judge would likely award you a larger share of marital assets to make up for the assets your spouse wasted.

If your spouse only took a lover out to the movies or for lunch, on the other hand, the amount would not be substantial enough to impact your divorce, so it would be best not to waste your time or resources on pursuing this.

In California, spousal support is designed to ensure the spouse with a lower earning capacity is able to maintain the same standard of living enjoyed throughout the marriage.

Spousal support is based on several factors, including:

  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The paying spouse’s ability to make spousal support payments
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The marketable skills of the supported spouse
  • If the supported spouse contributed to the paying spouse’s training, education, or career
  • Documented evidence of domestic violence
  • Criminal convictions of an abusive spouse
  • Any other factors the court finds relevant and fair

As you can see, adultery is not a factor on this list nor is it considered by most judges. As a general rule, judges try not to factor marital misconduct into their decisions regarding spousal support. The purpose of spousal support is not to penalize a cheating spouse, but rather to keep one spouse from becoming destitute when the marriage ends.

However, if your spouse behaved violently and was convicted for this abusive behavior, a judge might reduce or eliminate the spousal support you might have been ordered to pay.

Discuss the Details of Your Case with a Divorce Attorney Today!

If your spouse’s affair ultimately led to your decision to file for a divorce, we understand that this must be a difficult time for you and your family. At Aharonov & Revy Family Law, LLP, our divorce team will provide the compassionate and knowledgeable advice you need to navigate this situation, so you can get through this as smoothly as possible. Our team is committed to providing tailored solutions to address the unique needs of each client we serve, regardless of the complexities of their case.

Contact our law office today at (818) 960-1330 to schedule a free 15-minute phone evaluation with an experienced member of our team.