Infidelity is damaging to any marriage and often leads to divorce. In some cases, the affair is the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back in an already faltering marriage, while in others the innocent spouse is caught entirely off guard and is simply too heartbroken or angry for reconciliation to occur. Whether you fall into one of those camps or somewhere between, it’s a good idea to be aware of how infidelity will impact the various aspects of your divorce proceedings. Though people assume it will have a big impact on standing in the court’s eyes, in most cases it has very little effect.

Though it is true that Pennsylvania law permits wronged parties to pursue a “fault” divorce based on spousal misconduct, most divorcing couples opt for a no-fault divorce. There are several reasons for this, but it really comes down to two things: to win a fault divorce you need to have proof of the adultery that you can present in court, and a no-fault divorce usually takes a great deal less time to execute and can often be accomplished outside of court.

This can be a hard lesson for an innocent spouse. Their pain can lead to wanting to punish the adulterer, and in divorce, the two most obvious ways of doing so are either financially or by taking away access to any children there may be in the marriage. Let’s look at those two aspects of a Pennsylvania divorce and how infidelity affects each:

  • When it comes to child support and child custody, infidelity is unlikely to have any impact on the court’s allocation of access to children unless the parent or their relationship has a potential negative impact on the children. If the cheating spouse or their new partner represents potential harm to the children, that should be raised in court.
  • When it comes to finances, equitable distribution is likely to remain relatively unchanged in a no-fault divorce, even where there has been cheating. However, alimony is a different story. Though it may be awarded for a period of time, alimony can be used to deny spousal support for the cheating spouse or to increase it for the spouse who was cheated on.

If you need information about ending your marriage and cheating has been involved, you need an attorney with experience in navigating these difficult emotional elements. Contact us today to set up a time for us to meet and discuss how we can help.

 

 

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