When a California spouse discovers that his or her partner has been having an affair, it can seem as if the world is coming to an end. In some regard, this is true: the post-affair world will be far different for each spouse than it was before the indiscretion, for different reasons. When a scorned spouse decides to seek a divorce on grounds of infidelity, he or she often believes that the wrongs done by their partner will translate into a better divorce settlement.
However, in many cases cheating does not have a significant impact on the ultimate outcome of the divorce. In fact, in some cases the souse that cheated could end up on the receiving end of alimony payments. This is because many states treat divorce as a simple mathematical formula. The choices and behaviors of the individuals seeking the divorce do not come into play, even in cases where the marriage vows are seriously violated.
If we look at marriage in terms of a contract, the old adage applies. The verbal vows made during the wedding ceremony are about as valuable as the paper they are written on. On the other hand, a prenuptial agreement that clearly outlines the financial ramifications for cheating is an enforceable contract, and is one of the best ways of protecting against an affair.
One way that cheating could pay off in a divorce is if the cheating spouse used family assets to fund the affair. When significant amounts of money can be tracked to infidelity, the other spouse is often entitled to a form of repayment. This approach requires proof of the affair and of the expenses associated with it, but can pay off nicely in the end.
Discovering that a spouse has been unfaithful can feel like an emotional sucker punch. However, no matter how upsetting and stressful this time may feel, the decisions made in the aftermath of an affair can have lasting effects for the spouse who was wronged. It is essential to fully understand one's rights under California law before moving forward with the divorce process.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce And Affairs: Does Cheating Cost You In A Divorce?" Geoff Williams, Dec. 18, 2012