Even though adultery can end a relationship in a heartbeat, it may not
have the same dramatic effect on your divorce case depending on which
state you live in. California is one of a number of states that allow
for “no fault” divorce cases – when filing for divorce,
neither side needs to list a reason for wanting to pursue a divorce other
than that the marriage is beyond fixing. In a no fault divorce, the court
doesn’t bear the responsibility of determining which party is at
fault, and allows the soon to be ex-spouses to avoid bringing up sensitive
subjects during the divorce proceedings.
Even though no fault divorce cases may lessen the impact of infidelity
or adultery on the final decision, judges can still take it into consideration
when ruling on alimony payments – known as spousal support in California,
child custody, and how property is divided.
Spousal Support: Under the California Family Code, the only way infidelity or adultery
could be taken into consideration when determining how much spousal support
to award one spouse is if that spouse began living with a new significant
other before the divorce was finalized. This portion of the California
Family Code doesn’t exclusively affect cases where infidelity or
adultery is involved. In any divorce case, if the spouse that would receive
spousal support has started a new relationship that provides financial
support, it is possible for the court to grant them less than they would
have if they received no outside support.
Child Custody: While there are no specific mentions of how infidelity or adultery affects
child custody rulings in the California Family Code, the judge will always
prioritize the best interests of the children involved when making their
ruling. If the spouse’s infidelity or adultery negatively affected
the children’s wellbeing, the court may give a more favorable ruling
to the party that was cheated on.
Property Division: If the infidelity or adultery included paying for any gifts, trips, outings,
or any type of financial assistance to the person the spouse was cheating
with, the court may determine that these expenses were a waste of marital
assets, and their decision may reflect their judgement by deducting the
amount spent on the extramarital affair from that spouse’s portion
of the split.
Despite the fact that California is a no fault divorce state, infidelity
or adultery can still have a negative effect on aspects of a marriage,
therefore having an effect on the divorce proceedings. These situations
can quickly become complicated, and in most cases are contested, so you
will want a qualified divorce attorney by your side to ensure that you
leave with a favorable decision. At James D. Madden, Attorney at Law,
our Rancho Cucamonga divorce attorneys are dedicated to fighting for your
rights during your divorce proceeding.
Fill out our online form to tell us about your case, or call us at (909) 992-0188 to speak with one of our divorce lawyers.