Finding out that your spouse has been carrying on an affair is often emotionally devastating. You likely trusted your spouse until you discovered this indiscretion, and now you feel like there is no hope for rebuilding trust and saving your marriage. That is a very common response to infidelity, and it can lead people to begin considering divorce.
Infidelity is a common reason for couples to seek divorce. When one spouse cheats, the other spouse may choose to initiate a divorce. Regardless of who filed, if your spouse cheated on you, you are probably wondering if that will have any effect on the outcome of your divorce. While every divorce case is unique, there are certain standards in place.
The courts generally do not take marital misconduct into consideration
Understanding how an affair will impact a divorce means looking at each contested area in your divorce carefully. The two most important factors in most divorces are handling the division of your assets and deciding how to allocate parental responsibilities. In most divorces involving infidelity, an affair will not have a meaningful impact on either of these important considerations.
When it comes to child custody, the only way an affair could impact the court’s ruling would be if the unfaithful spouse moves out of state or if their new partner has a history that could endanger the children. Otherwise, you can expect to share custody with your ex, regardless of the adultery.
The Alabama family courts focus on the best interests of the children, not the emotional issues between the parents. Typically, those best interests include spending as much time as possible with both parents.
Asset division is slightly more complicated. Typically, the courts are not permitted to consider marital misconduct when choosing how to split up assets equitably between spouses. However, there are some situations where an affair could impact asset division.
Some affairs can have financial consequences
Money spent on conducting an affair could end up having an impact on how the courts divide your assets. If your spouse engaged in intentional dissipation of your marital assets in the affair, the courts may adjust the asset division outcome accordingly. Spending a lot of money while engaging in an affair is often considered a form of marital dissipation.
If there is documentation that proves that your spouse spent significant marital assets to buy gifts, pay for hotel rooms or take trips, the courts may include that in their deliberations about how to split up your belongings and debts.
If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement that addressed the potential of infidelity, that could also impact the asset division process. If there is any financial penalty or asset waiver included in the prenuptial agreement in the event that one spouse cheats, it could affect the outcome of your divorce. In other divorce situations, however, an affair will have minimal impact on the outcome.