How does adultery affect my divorce?

Oftentimes, clients will come in for their initial consultation and tell me their spouse is having an affair so they would like to dissolve the marriage in the form of a divorce. The person whose spouse cheated on them wants to know if this cause of divorce can help them walk away with a better situation in a divorce. They want to know if because there was an extramarital affair they will get more of the assets, more time with the children, if they are eligible for spousal maintenance payments, and anything else that may arise. The short answer is no.

In New York State, since October of 2010, we have a new grounds for divorce. It is known as the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage, or more commonly called no-fault divorce. No matter what horrible things your spouse did throughout the course of the marriage to lead you to file for divorce, it will not have any effect on the distribution of assets or the payment of maintenance and/or child support.

The only place where a spouse having an affair may have some relevancy, is if there is a custody matter or a true custody dispute. Perhaps the party having the affair, his or her judgment may be called into question if that party has introduced the children to his or her paramour or is putting his or her needs above the needs of the children. The only time that the affair may have some impact if the court is called upon to render a custody determination. As to monetary issues, no, we have no-fault divorce in this state. Though we understand that this is a frustrating and difficult time for you, the reality is that the court doesn’t really care to hear whether or not your spouse had an extramarital affair because today it is a very common cause of divorce.

If you require experienced legal representation for divorce and family law matters, contact the Law Offices of Mark S. Paige, P.C. today to schedule a consultation.