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Finding out your spouse cheated may have you thinking of taking revenge during your divorce proceedings. But does your soon-to-be ex's infidelity matter when it comes to the divorce? And if so, how?
These days, most states have "no fault" divorce laws, which allow spouses to divorce for any reason, regardless of fault. However, some states still recognize adultery as a legal ground for divorce, where your spouse's affair could have an impact on your divorce.
One of the differences between fault and no-fault divorces is the time it takes to finalize the divorce. The filing process for a no-fault divorce is generally simpler, but most states have waiting periods for no-fault divorces. And the waiting period between filing your paperwork and finalizing your divorce can range from a few weeks, to several months, or more.
There is no such waiting period for fault divorces alleging adultery. However, it may take time to gather evidence of the affair and present in court for a fault divorce, which could mean spending more time in court, battling with your ex.
Proof of an affair could have an effect on financial arrangements following the divorce. While most states prohibit courts from considering marital misconduct when distributing marital property, a few states allow judges to award more money to the non-cheating spouse. It's also possible that courts could take infidelity into account when allocating alimony.
But there is a downside: because proving adultery could mean more time in court, your legal fees in the divorce could be higher. An accused adulterer is given the opportunity to refute the allegation, and the motions and evidentiary process could drag out your case and lead to snowballing legal bills.
With so many financial and emotional considerations that come with a divorce, it may help to discuss your case with an experienced divorce attorney in your area. You can decide together whether it makes financial, legal, and emotional sense to make your ex's behavior a part of your divorce proceeding.