What Happens in Cases of Divorce Where Adultery Is Proven?

Written by kimberly turtenwald
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What Happens in Cases of Divorce Where Adultery Is Proven?
When one spouse cheats, the divorce fallout can be more severe. (Polka Dot/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

While many states have moved on to become no-fault divorce states where the reason for divorce is not taken into account, some states still allow for fault-based divorces, such as in the case of adultery. The wronged spouse in these cases tend to come out with a better settlement than those who file under no-fault.


Some divorce cases allow for one spouse to pay alimony to the other even if it is a no-fault divorce. In these cases, you usually have to have been married for at least 10 years. However, when adultery is the cause listed for the divorce, the alimony rules are different. In some cases, the alimony will be granted to you indefinitely until you find a new spouse or are able to support yourself and the kids. In other cases, the alimony is ordered in one lump sum.

Financial Settlements

In addition to the alimony you may qualify for, if the court finds that your spouse used a portion of your marital funds to fund the affair, the judge can order your spouse to pay retribution for the money that was lost as a result. This is because you did not ask for the affair, and it was unfair to you to lose the money that should have been used by both of you. Thus, the monetary sum becomes part of the damages owed.


Some people who have gone through adultery in their marriage feel that the other parent should not have access to the children. However, in the case of an affair, the courts will still look for the best interest of the children. As long as the person who had the affair is not a physical danger to your children, adultery has no bearing on the legal or physical custody of your children. However, if you can prove that your spouse or the person with whom he had an affair is a threat to your chldren, you may be able to get supervised visitation instead.

Other Settlements

While a court may not always interfere with all aspects of a divorce, you may be able to get a larger settlement when you file for divorced based on adultery. Your spouse may feel guilty about the adultery and feel like she owes you something extra because of the emotional trauma you have been through. When this is the case, your spouse may be more willing to give you more of what you want in the divorce, such as a larger portion of the possessions, the right to remain in the marital home and even some additional support above and beyond what the court orders.

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