How to Divorce Someone Who Cheats

By Wayne Thomas

Finding out that your spouse is cheating on you can be a devastating discovery. Beyond the emotional wounds, you spouse's affair may have impacted your marital finances or the well-being of your children. Knowing how the presence of an affair can affect specific aspects of a divorce will help you best prepare for the process of dissolving the marriage between you and your adulterous spouse.

Finding out that your spouse is cheating on you can be a devastating discovery. Beyond the emotional wounds, you spouse's affair may have impacted your marital finances or the well-being of your children. Knowing how the presence of an affair can affect specific aspects of a divorce will help you best prepare for the process of dissolving the marriage between you and your adulterous spouse.

Available Grounds

The first step in divorcing a cheating spouse is to determine whether your state allows you to divorce on the basis of adultery. If your state only allows no-fault divorce, you will need to make sure you meet the basic legal requirements. These requirements are typically separation for a period, or an affirmation by you or your spouse that the marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Filing the Divorce

The next step is to obtain the appropriate divorce paperwork -- typically, this is called a petition or a complaint -- from the court clerk. In the paperwork, you are required to specify the grounds for divorce, and include your requests regarding property, spousal support and child-related matters. These forms are then filed with the court, and states usually require that you then hand-deliver a copy to your spouse with the assistance of a sheriff. Your case will move forward once this step is complete.

Proof

If you filed your divorce on adultery grounds, or you would like the affair to be considered by the judge during property division or child custody determinations, you will need to prove that it occurred. This step requires more than just bare allegations, and the process can be highly invasive and emotional for all involved. Typically, proving your case involves collecting the relevant evidence, such as phone records, or video recordings, and presenting your argument to the court. You must also follow all procedural rules for introducing evidence and examining witnesses, which can be difficult without the assistance of an attorney.

Property Division

The degree to which the affair will affect property division in your divorce depends on your state. Some states allow a judge to use marital fault as factor in favor of reducing your spouse's share, while others take the position that property division is not meant to punish a spouse for his behavior. However, many states will allow you to ask for a larger share of the marital assets if you can prove that your spouse dissipated assets to support the affair. For instance, if you have bank receipts showing that your husband purchased jewelry with marital funds as gifts for his paramour, this can be used to reduce the amount of property your spouse receives in the divorce.

Child Custody

If you have minor children, evidence of your spouse's affair may be introduced during the custody phase of your divorce. Here, the focus is on whether the behavior of your spouse and his adulterous relationship is detrimental to the best interests of your child. Although an affair does not automatically affect custody, some courts have held that introducing a child to a paramour while the parties are still married, coupled with the exposure to other inappropriate people or situations, could negatively impact the child's welfare and be grounds to award sole custody to the other parent.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Divorce a Cheater

References

Related articles

Does an Affair Matter in a Divorce in Tennessee?

An affair can be devastating to a marriage. Tennessee allows you obtain a divorce from your spouse based solely on adultery. Understanding how an affair can affect the stages of the divorce process, as well as what defenses may be raised will help you better prepare for a divorce of this type in Tennessee.

Divorce Based on Adultery in Illinois

If your spouse has strayed, you might have good reasons for wanting to file for divorce on grounds of adultery -- but doing so might not result in more than some personal satisfaction. Illinois recognizes adultery as divorce grounds, but you could probably end your marriage much more quickly and economically if you filed on the state's no-fault grounds of irreconcilable differences instead.

Does Adultery Justify Divorce?

Not only does infidelity lead to discord in a marriage, it often causes spouses to call it quits. If your spouse cheated on you and you're filing for divorce, you may want to list adultery as the reason your marriage came to an end. However, not all states give you this option. While all states permit spouses to file for divorce on no-fault grounds, meaning a spouse does not have to prove misconduct on the part of the other to get a divorce, only some states recognize adultery as grounds for divorce.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

What Happens in a Divorce if Your Spouse Had an Affair?

The impact of adultery on divorce proceedings varies from state to state and each jurisdiction places a different ...

Divorce Law on Infidelity in Pennsylvania

Spousal infidelity, referred to as adultery, continues to be recognized as a basis for divorce in Pennsylvania. If your ...

What Happens in a Divorce if the Husband Has Cheated in Illinois?

Experiencing infidelity in a marriage is never an easy thing. If you're divorcing your husband because of his cheating ...

Does a Spouse Having an Affair Affect the Distribution of Monies in a Divorce?

State laws vary as to whether marital misconduct -- such as adultery -- can influence issues of property division or ...

Browse by category