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If My Spouse Had an Affair, Will it Affect Custody or Alimony?

Finding out your spouse cheated on you can feel like a punch to the gut. Understandably, you are probably wondering if this bad behavior will result in any consequences as you move forward with the divorce process. However, as satisfying as it would be to see your spouse suffer some serious penalties due to infidelity, punitive damages are not imposed on unfaithful spouses. That said, there are some circumstances in which an affair might have an indirect impact on custody or alimony.

The Indirect Impact of Infidelity

As mentioned above, your spouse’s affair will not result in a better divorce settlement or custody arrangement. However, if your spouse’s affair had a notable impact on the marriage in terms of assets or the children, a judge will likely take it into consideration when rendering a decision.

If your spouse wasted marital assets on an affair, it might have an impact on property division, though it will not affect whether or not you receive alimony. Moreover, the amount your spouse wasted must be substantial for a judge to consider it. If your spouse only took a lover out to the theater or dinner a handful of times, the amount would be negligible and not worth your effort to pursue. On the other hand, if your spouse purchased lavish gifts for a lover or spent vast sums of money on fancy hotel rooms, you can bet a judge will take this into consideration when divvying up assets. To compensate you for the wasted marital assets your spouse spent on the affair, a judge would likely award you with a greater share of assets.

When it comes to child custody, it is also possible for an affair to have an impact on the arrangement you receive. Keep in mind, a judge’s decision is based purely on the best interests of the child, so if your spouse’s affair did not have an adverse effect on the kids, you cannot expect it influence your custody order.

Examples of circumstances in which an affair can impact child custody include:

  1. Your spouse’s lover was abusive toward the children
  2. Your spouse carried out the affair in front of the children
  3. Your spouse’s lover poses a threat to the children due to a criminal history, drug abuse, or violent behavior

You will not get a better custody arrangement just because your spouse had an affair, however. In California, the court does not consider adultery a relevant factor when assessing the fitness of a parent.

Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If your spouse had an affair and you are now getting a divorce, we understand how difficult this situation must be. At Myers Family Law, our divorce team is committed to helping clients navigate the most challenging and complex cases, so they can pursue the happier life they deserve. Backed by more than 25 years of experience, you can feel confident in our ability to help you achieve your goals.

Contact us today at (916) 634-0067 to arrange a low-cost 30-minute consultation with one of our divorce attorneys.

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