How Infidelity Affects Your Divorce Case

How Infidelity Affects Your Divorce Case

A very common reason for a couple to get a divorce is that one partner has been unfaithful. If you or your partner have cheated and decided to get a divorce, you may be wondering, “How does an affair impact your divorce proceedings in California?”

No-Fault Divorce

One major difference between how infidelity divorces are handled now compared to the past is that most divorces now (and all divorces in the state of California) are no-fault divorces, meaning either party can ask for a divorce for any reason. 

In the old, fault-based divorce system, you may have had to prove that your spouse committed adultery in order to sue for a divorce. In some states, proving an adulterous affair may change how property or support is handled in a subsequent divorce. However, in California, infidelity does not change how the court treats your case. Because California is a no fault state, you can seek a divorce simply because you have irreconcilable differences which have led to your desire to separate from your spouse. This is much more straightforward and usually makes divorces less litigious because you no longer have to prove infidelity to get a divorce. 

Child Custody Considerations

When a judge determines a child custody arrangement, they have a responsibility to do what is in the child’s best interest. While the Court does consider the living arrangements of both parties after separation, the fact that one party had an adulterous affair is not relevant unless the new partner somehow poses a danger to the welfare of the children. This danger is often seen if the new partner has a DUI, has been arrested for a violent crime, or uses drugs in front of the children. 

Often, one spouse wants to limit the other spouse’s ability to introduce a new partner to the kids in some way. While this is a completely natural, protective request, the Court will not often agree to such a limitation unless the new partner poses a danger to the kids.  

Division of Assets

When dividing assets, the judge’s responsibility is not to dole out blame for a marital breakdown but merely to split the couple’s assets equitably. Usually, cheating has minimal effect on this process. However, if the cheating spouse spent community funds on their extramarital partner,the non-cheating spouse can get reimbursed for those costs. 

In order to recover these costs, the Court will want to see bank statements showing funds being removed from the community bank accounts. This is called a tracing. Tracings can be complicated and make take more time to put together than the claim may ultimately be worth, so talk with your divorce attorneys to see what your situation calls for. 

In general, it is a mistake to attempt to use the divorce proceedings to get revenge on your partner, even if you feel they genuinely wronged you. Doing so drives up the cost of your divorce and can cause increased stress for your children. The courts only have a responsibility for equitability, not for judgments that are emotionally satisfying. 

Hart Ginney Can Help With Your Divorce

If you or your spouse have been unfaithful in your marriage and you’re looking to get a divorce, you’ll want a lawyer who knows the legal system’s ins and outs and is strong enough to advocate for your interests. 

At Hart Ginney, our team combines our years of family law experience to provide the most effective and transparent legal advice possible. Contact us today to learn more about how Hart Ginney can help with your divorce. 

1939 Harrison Street, Suite 210
Oakland, CA 94612

To speak with an attorney, please call or email us:

Alternatively you can fill in the following contact form: