The Affects of Adultery on a Divorce Case
Dealing with a divorce has the tendency to put a hold on every other part of your life. Even under the best of circumstances it’s often contentious, and depending on the individuals can lead to months of mental, emotional and financial stress. Divorce pits family members against one another, and winnows down savings accounts under the stress of hundreds of billable hours of attorney fees. And if adultery is one of the issues leading to a divorce, that already difficult situation can become devastating. But how does adultery actually affect divorce proceedings? In the end, it depends on the type of divorce you are filing.
The legal requirements of a divorce often vary state by state, and change in subtle ways every so often. Divorces are incredibly common, and the government has done their part to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible. So while it was not always the case, all fifty states now recognize the concept of a “no-fault” divorce. The no-fault divorce indicates that either party in the marriage can file for divorce for any reason, or no reason at all, and there is no requirement to issue the balance of “fault” on one party or the other. So if you are on relatively good terms with your spouse, and can agree on all the major factors, you can file a no-fault divorce. In that case, adultery will not come into play, for better or worse.
If a no-fault divorce doesn’t fit your situation, you are entering the territory of placing blame for the dissolution of the marriage on one of the parties. In that case, adultery will have an impact, but in ways you wouldn’t have necessarily expected.
Adultery may actually lead to a quicker divorce in some cases. As was noted, every state allows for no-fault divorces. But in states that accept both no-fault and fault cases, the ones where fault will be assigned get pushed through the court system much faster. Many states require a waiting period before a couple can file a no-fault divorce. These waiting periods can last from twenty days all the way up to eighteen months. But in a fault divorce, where the blame is being assigned due to adultery, there is no waiting period. The flipside of this benefit is that you may have to prove adultery occurred in court, and depending on how complicated the situation is, that can add significant time to the proceedings.
Following that logic, a fault divorce with adultery as the reasoning can also lead to a more expensive divorce. Adding to the extended court time is all the time the accusing party will need to prove their case. That means investigating the situation, collecting evidence, and possibly even bringing in expert witnesses. This will expand the staff you will need to employ prior to the court proceedings, and will certainly expand the legal team you will need. All of this leads to much more time, and even more money.
If adultery did occur and the accusing party can prove it in court, the ruling may lead to a bigger award for the party that is free of blame. Adultery proven in court is a very big deal, and the spouse that didn’t cheat could end up with a large settlement. That means a larger piece of the marital property, or perhaps expanded monthly spousal support. It’s a big process, and you’ll need a range of experts to help you through. Find the best divorce lawyers you can, and explore bringing on BC family lawyers as well, who will have a lot of experience in these situations.