Kansas City, MO- Even though infidelity is considered a taboo, 22 percent of men and 14 percent of women admit to having an affair at least once during the course of their marriage. While a couple understands the emotional impact infidelity has, they may not realize the impact it can have on their final divorce settlement.
A majority of states have no-fault divorce laws which allow both spouses to file for divorce without pointing the finger at who is to blame for a break-down in the marriage. The filer simply has to list one of the reasons the marriage failed recognized by the state such as “irreconcilable differences,” “incompatibility,” or a “breakdown in the marital relationship.” No-fault is the easiest and quickest ways to obtain a divorce but some states require the couple go through a trial separation period which can range from 3 months to a year depending in the laws in their state of residency. The Livestrong website has good breakdown of no-fault states and their waiting periods.
When a couple files for a no-fault divorce, infidelity will rarely affect how assets are divided or how alimony is calculation. Divorce courts do not typically determine a final divorce settlement based on events that transpired during the marriage.
However infidelity can have an impact outside the court in settlement negotiations where the majority of divorce cases are settled. If one spouse can prove the cheating spouse is guilty of poor conduct, abuse or neglect as a result of the affair, they may have the leverage to get a better settlement. Prenuptial agreements also have a bearing on the final outcome of a divorce if specific provisions concerning infidelity are included.
Cheating most likely won’t affect a child custody agreement unless the straying spouse carried on the affair in front of their children or exposed them to inappropriate situations or people.
A spouse can get a larger settlement if they discover their cheating spouse spent a large amount of money on their lover. For example, if a husband spent money renting a love nest or buying gifts for their lover, his estranged wife is able to get additional money on top of their alimony for those expenditures.
Poor conduct, out of the bounds of common decency, or abuse on the part of the cheating spouse will affect a final divorce terms. For instance, if a man or woman flaunts their affair in their spouses’ face, they may end up paying a settlement on the higher end of the scale. Also, if the cheating spouse is found to be ignoring their children or shirking their family responsibility to their family, alimony and child support can be based on the extent of their neglect.
Prenuptials are increasingly common and couples often add provisions which call for a smaller settlement or no settlement if a one or both spouses are caught cheating. Some cheating spouses agree to pay more alimony..
When a marriage has broken down because of infidelity, the parties have to be reasonable and not let their emotions get in the way. If they are angry about the infidelity, they can get reasonable, non-biased advice from a divorce attorney who will guide through the divorce process an keep them from jeopardizing their final settlement.