The reasons a couple divorces are entirely personal and do not always come to light during a divorce proceeding. But, when infidelity occurs, spouses often wonder if their spouse’s infidelity can be used during the divorce to receive a better settlement or even increased alimony payments. Generally, infidelity does not play a big role in a divorce and most judges overseeing a divorce will allow infidelity little to no influence in their decisions.
Cause of Action
One of the first decisions you will need to make during the divorce process is selecting your “cause of action”, that is, the reason you have decided to file for divorce. If your spouse was unfaithful, you can list their infidelity as your cause of action. But, be aware that you will then be required to name the individual with whom your spouse had an affair, or multiple individuals if there were more than one. That person can be listed as a co-respondent in the divorce and they will be served and given an opportunity to testify in court.
The majority of spouses that file divorce in New Jersey opt for the newer option which is the no-fault divorce. That means couples can claim irreconcilable differences for their divorce and not have to specify their reasons. With a “fault” divorce, on the other hand, you will be required to list things like adultery, extreme cruelty, violence or some other fault allowed by New Jersey courts. Each one of these “faults” must be proven to the court and the burden of proof is on you and your divorce attorney. This is extremely difficult and most couples find it is better to file for a no fault divorce due to the difficulty.
Adultery and Alimony
In some cases, a spouse’s infidelity can play a role in alimony. However, this is only in extreme situations. For example, if your spouse used your savings in order to fund their infidelity or had multiple affairs while contributing little to the marriage, this may provide you with grounds for increased spousal support.
Adultery and Property Division
A judge does not consider infidelity when considering asset division. Instead, they adhere to the statutes and try to divide assets fairly as long as they are marital assets. If a spouse’s adulterous behaviors dissipated marital assets, a judge may sway from the standard and award the victim spouse more.
Adultery and Child Custody
Adultery does not affect a parent’s custodial rights unless the cheating spouse has been engaged in extremely risky behavior or affiliates with individuals that pose a risk to the child’s welfare. For example, if a parent allows their adultery partner to spend time in their home and that partner is a heavy drug user, that may affect the parent’s visitation.
Speak with a New Jersey Attorney Regarding Your Infidelity Concerns
If your spouse is guilty of infidelity, how it influences your divorce will depend on the circumstances. It is best to speak with a divorce attorney to explore your options. Meet with the attorneys at Romanowski Law Offices today regarding your case. Contact us online or call 732-603-8585 to schedule an expert consultation.