Ohio Adultery Laws on Child Support & Alimony

By Heather Frances J.D.

Marriages end for many reasons, including adultery, and Ohio allows spouses to use adultery as the reason for their divorce. Ohio courts may consider the adulterous spouse’s affair when deciding whether to grant a divorce and award alimony, but adultery generally does not affect a court’s child custody and child support decisions.

Grounds

Ohio recognizes both no-fault and fault grounds upon which a court can base a divorce. Adultery is one of the fault grounds, so a spouse can file for divorce based on the other spouse’s adultery. However, the spouse who files for divorce on adultery grounds, or any other fault grounds, will be expected to prove her spouse’s misconduct. Proof can come through testimony of witnesses to the adulterous affair, documents, photographs or other evidence.

Custody

Ohio courts award custody of children based on the best interests of each child according to factors listed in Ohio law. These factors don't include a parent’s faithfulness to his spouse. Instead, they include items like the wishes of the child’s parents, wishes of the child, child’s adjustment to his home and community, mental and physical health of parents and child, and whether either parent has been convicted of a crime. Though these factors do not directly include adultery, a parent’s adulterous behavior may have an impact on one or more of these factors and thereby influence the court's custody decision. For example, a parent’s adultery could cause his child to tell the court she doesn’t want to live with that parent. Or, a parent may have involved his child in the affair by bringing his mistress around the child or asking the child to lie for him, causing the court to question the parent's judgment and ability to provide a healthy home environment for the child.

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Child Support

Ohio courts determine child support based on a formula that allocates a child’s expenses between both parents according to each parent's share of the parents' total combined income. For example, if the noncustodial parent earns 60 percent of the combined parental income, he is expected to pay 60 percent of the established child support amount. This formula does not consider a parent’s conduct, so a parent’s adultery is unlikely to affect child support payments. While a court can deviate from Ohio's child support formula, deviations are typically made for financial reasons and not because of parental conduct.

Alimony

Ohio courts award alimony, called spousal support, by evaluating several factors set forth in its statutes instead of a rigid formula. Courts are not required to consider a spouse’s misconduct, such as adultery, since misconduct is not one of the factors. However, Ohio law permits courts to consider any factor they find relevant, so a court may consider adultery when making a spousal support award if it finds the misconduct relevant based on the circumstances.

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Georgia Law on Custody If Adultery Is Committed

References

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Pennsylvania Laws on Third Parties & Child Custody

In Pennsylvania, parents have a right to spend time with their child after a divorce. This may be at odds, however, with members of either parent's family who believe that they are in a better position to care for the child than the child's own parents. Knowing how courts in Pennsylvania treat requests by non-parent "third parties" will reduce some of the uncertainty in your custody dispute.

Factors Used in Determining Child Custody

If you can't reach a custody agreement with your spouse, divorce means putting your family in the hands of a trial court judge. The court has no intimate knowledge of your family to guide a custody decision, so it must fall back on a statutory standard provided by law. This is called the "best interests of the child," and the different states have different lists of factors that a judge must consider in deciding just what the best interests of your child are.

Florida Divorce Laws on Infidelity

No-fault divorce states, such as Florida, grant divorces on the premise that sometimes marriages just don’t work out. The spouse who wants to end the marriage doesn’t have to prove that her partner committed any wrongdoing. She only has to tell the court that the marriage can't be saved. However, if her spouse was unfaithful, and if she can prove his infidelity, Florida law allows judges to take it into consideration when deciding certain issues.

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