If My Spouse Had an Affair, Will it Impact the Divorce Settlement?

Gavel and law books

Cheating is, unfortunately, somewhat common in many marriages. According to the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 14% of women had an affair at least once throughout their marriage, and 22% of men had an affair during their marriage. Although cheating can undoubtedly create problems and ultimately lead to the end of a marriage, it will not result in one spouse getting a better divorce settlement. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. We will review a few rare circumstances in which an affair can potentially affect the outcome of a divorce.

Can Infidelity Affect My Divorce?

The answer is yes and no, and here's why:

  • An affair in itself is not reason enough for a judge to award you a more significant share of the pie when it comes to marital assets.
    • However, if your spouse wastefully dissipated assets, a judge would likely give you a more significant share to compensate for the loss. For example, if your spouse spent thousands of dollars on expensive hotel rooms or pricey gifts, this would be considered a wasteful dissipation of marital assets.
    • On the other hand, if your spouse only spent an insubstantial amount of money on lunch or trips to the movie theater with his or her lover, a judge would not perceive this as wasteful dissipation. In such cases, it would be best not to waste your time and money fighting your spouse in court over these minor expenses.

  • Additionally, cheating is generally not factored into a child custody arrangement. Most judges do not consider infidelity a sign of bad parenting.
    • That said, if your spouse brought his or her lover around the children or introduced them to one another, this would likely impact the child custody arrangement. Again, the affair itself would not affect your case, but rather how the affair affected your children after being exposed to it.

Even if your spouse did not expose your children to the affair during the marriage, it could still potentially impact the case if he or she attempted to involve the lover in the children’s lives. Since custody decisions are based on the best interests of the children, a judge would likely question if the cheating spouse’s decision to bring a new partner into the lives of the children served their best interests.

Please speak to One of Our Knowledgeable Divorce Specialists Today!

If you are considering a divorce, first seek the advice of an experienced professional to learn more about what you can expect and to prepare for the road ahead. At K. Dean Kantaras, P.A., our divorce team has the knowledge and experience to walk you through every step so you can end your marriage as smoothly as possible while protecting your interests.

Contact our law office today at (727) 939-6113 to schedule an initial consultation with one of our Clearwater divorce attorneys to explore your rights and legal options further.

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