Does an Extramarital Affair Affect a Divorce in Iowa?

By Cindy Chung

An extramarital affair can profoundly affect a marriage, causing a husband or wife to consider divorce after learning of a spouse’s infidelity. Before filing for divorce, Iowa residents may wish to become familiar with the laws in that state pertaining to divorce, property division, alimony and children. Either spouse may benefit from consulting with an attorney who handles divorce cases in Iowa.

Grounds for Divorce

Iowa, like every other state, establishes its own laws on divorce. Some states recognize “fault” and “no-fault” divorce. Fault divorce allows a spouse to file on certain grounds that vary from state-to-state and often include adultery. Iowa is not a state where fault divorce is an option. A spouse only needs to declare the marriage has suffered an irreparable breakdown. Although an extramarital affair may demonstrate proof of a breakdown in the marriage, the spouse petitioning for divorce can do so without explicitly mentioning the affair.

Divorce and Property

Iowa law cites a number of factors that may affect property division at the end of a marriage. The court will consider each party's financial contributions, age and post-divorce earning potential. Involvement in an extramarital affair is not on this list of factors considered in property division. Even though marital misconduct is not explicitly mentioned, Iowa law does allow a judge to consider other facts relevant to a fair division of property.

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Iowa divorce laws do not require a judge to consider either spouse's infidelity when deciding whether to award alimony to a spouse. State law lists a number of factors a court should review to resolve a dispute over spousal support. The court is not required to consider an extramarital affair when awarding alimony, but the law does give a judge the power to consider all factors relevant to the divorce.

Child Custody and Support

Iowa law requires the courts to make custody decisions based entirely on the child's best interests. An illicit affair may reflect unfavorably on one of the parents, but the court will look at a number of factors before making a custody award. One factor is whether the parents can cooperate sufficiently to share custody; hurt or angry partners divorcing over infidelity could affect the court's decision. Child support, on the other hand, is determined by a formula set by state law and depends on parental income and the child's needs. Generally, the court cannot require a higher amount of child support simply because a parent engaged in an extramarital affair.

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Alimony Laws in Tennessee

Alimony is a monetary award paid to the financially weaker spouse after a divorce. Tennessee courts can award one of several types of alimony available, based on a number of factors that generally include duration of marriage, age and mental health of the receiving spouse, and education and potential need for training for the receiving spouse. The type of alimony awarded is based on the spouses' circumstances, and the court may award more than one type of alimony, where appropriate. The law also dictates when alimony can be modified, as well as when the obligation to pay terminates.

Florida Divorce Adultery Laws

Florida divorce laws are similar to most states' divorce laws in permitting a married couple to divorce based on the principle of "no fault." Under this principle, the fact that one spouse engaged in adulterous behavior during the marriage is irrelevant to whether the parties are entitled to a divorce. However, in some limited situations, Florida divorce laws do consider adultery a factor in determining how marital assets are divided, the amount of alimony payments, and child custody arrangements.

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.

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