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Can divorce give you justice when your spouse cheats on you?

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2020 | Divorce

Adultery remains one of the more common causes of modern divorces. Finding out that your spouse has another relationship or conducted a one-night stand outside of your marriage can be a violation of trust and respect that you can’t imagine moving on from afterward. Although some people do repair their relationships after adultery, many others decide to call it quits.

When you divorce because of adultery, you will probably have some anger and resentment toward your ex for their behavior and the violation of their vows to you. Will the California family courts grant you financial justice during a divorce because you are the victim of an unfaithful spouse?

California is a no-fault divorce state

In some states, people need grounds to file for divorce. Often these grounds are fault-based. They may need to demonstrate to the courts that their spouse cheated, that they abandoned the family or that they otherwise breached the basic expectations of a marital commitment.

California does not require fault in order for the family courts to grant a divorce. In fact, California only allows for no-fault divorce filings under current statutes. That means that marital misconduct usually will not influence the judge’s decisions in a divorce. With a handful of exceptions, adultery will likely have very little, if any, impact on the outcome of your divorce.

When might adultery affect divorce rulings?

There are a few circumstances that might lead to a judge altering the terms of a divorce because of infidelity. If you have a marital agreement on record that outlines specific financial penalties for unfaithfulness, the courts may uphold that when ruling on how to divide your property.

If your spouse wasted community property, even if they just spent their own money, in the process of conducting an affair, the judge may consider that behavior dissipation and adjust the terms of the property settlement to reflect the amount that the spouse wasted on their affair. Finally, in circumstances where the affair relationship continues during the divorce, if that individual has a history of abuse, the judge might limit that person’s access to your children.

While it can be frustrating to realize that there aren’t really any legal penalties for your spouse cheating on you, sometimes the best form of revenge is living well. Focusing on your future instead of the wrongdoings of the past can let you move on and find a happier future without someone who didn’t respect you enough to remain faithful.