Will Adultery Impact Your Divorce Settlement?


If you're filing for a Pasadena divorce because your spouse had an affair, you might be wondering if adultery carries any penalties during the divorce process. The answer to this question depends upon your exact circumstances.

In California, you can obtain a divorce for "irreconcilable differences" or the incurable insanity of a spouse. Irreconcilable differences is a no-fault divorce, so the fact that your partner had an affair doesn't make a difference in this area.

If your partner uses your joint household funds to buy lavish gifts for his or her lover or to otherwise finance the affair, you may be able to receive financial reimbursement for the misappropriation of marital funds. You will need to have receipts or some proof of how the money was spent, but you can receive an award of up to half of the misappropriated funds plus any accumulated interest charges.

If you contracted an STD because of your partner's affair, you can sue for damages and for reimbursement of your medical expenses. This can be consolidated with the divorce settlement.

If you are suffering from depression or emotional distress relating to the breakup of your marriage, it might be possible to have your spouse pay for therapy or counseling as part of your alimony award. Eligibility for alimony depends upon a number of other circumstances, however. It is not awarded in every divorce settlement.

Adultery will not affect child custody and visitation. Being a poor spouse does not make someone an unfit parent. The only reason adultery would come into play is if the parent is engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior when the child is present. A homosexual relationship is not considered automatically inappropriate, regardless of your personal beliefs regarding homosexuality.

New Mexico and Mississippi will let you sue your ex-spouse's lover for damages if he or she is the reason for your divorce. California does not have this provision, however. It is not against the law to have a sexual relationship with someone who is married to another person, so you're not going to be able to sue your spouse's lover.

An experienced Pasadena divorce attorney can answer any specific questions you might have about the factors that will affect your divorce settlement.