Does Infidelity Affect Child Support?

By Beverly Bird

Infidelity – or any other marital misconduct – doesn't affect child support directly. All states have specific formulas for calculating support, and adultery and marital fault don't come into play. However, there's an outside chance that it might affect the custody terms of your divorce, which may impact your support obligation.

Effect on Custody

Although it can vary somewhat by state, issues of infidelity are typically not supposed to have any influence on a court's custody decision unless they have a definite, negative effect on your relationship with your children. If your kids aren't even aware that you had an affair, it probably would not influence the judge. If your spouse wants to make it known that you committed adultery, however, and can prove that it affected your child, there's a chance it might affect your court-ordered custody arrangement.

Support Calculations

Most states use the income shares model for calculating child support, and the number of overnights your children spend with you post-divorce can affect these calculations. Depending on the respective incomes of you and your spouse, it's sometimes possible that if you share physical custody of your children on a nearly 50-50 basis, no child support would be payable. If the judge rules against joint custody and gives physical custody to your spouse based on your infidelity, it could result in your children spending less nights with you, and this in turn could mean a higher child support obligation.

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Georgia Law on Custody If Adultery Is Committed
 

References

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Adultery Divorce Laws

In 2010, New York became the last state in the country to adopt no-fault divorce. No matter where you live, you no longer have to prove fault, such as adultery, to get a divorce. In 17 states, you don’t even have a choice: You can file only on no-fault grounds. In these jurisdictions, your spouse may be guilty of infidelity, but the courts don’t care. Most other states, however, consider adultery a ground for divorce.

What Happens in Cases of Divorce Where Adultery Is Proven?

If your spouse cheated on you, you might assume that his adultery will have a significant effect on your divorce proceedings. However, depending on your state’s laws, the adultery may impact your case at varying levels. In fact, your judge may not be able to consider your spouse's adulterous actions at all.

Adultery & Divorce in Maine

When your spouse strays, your first instinct might be to seek revenge. You might be able to accuse her of adultery in your divorce complaint and let the world know she ended your marriage. Maybe the judge will agree that she's a despicable character and award you additional marital property or give you custody of your children. If you live in Maine, you'd be half right. You can file for divorce on grounds of adultery in this state, but it probably won't affect issues of property division or custody.

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