Infidelity Takes a Back Seat in Divorce…Sort of

If you are the type of person who simply won’t stand for your spouse cheating on you, then when you found out about it, you probably decided that your marriage needed to end. Despite your anger, and perhaps a desire to punish your spouse, you cannot allege adultery or infidelity as grounds for divorce.

California’s courts do not assign blame when it comes to the breakdown of a marriage. However, the infidelity could play a role in your divorce, after all.

No-fault divorce

The courts used to require the person wanting the divorce to provide a good reason for it. He or she would need to provide evidence to the court, indicating that the other party somehow violated the marriage vows or the law in such a way that a divorce was the only choice. If you were the one filing for divorce during this time, you would have needed to spend more money and time gathering the necessary proof.

By 1970, the California courts and the legislature realized that making people go through this process did no one any good. That is when the “no-fault” divorce came into being. This was the first state to implement a way to dissolve a marriage that did not involve proving wrongdoing such as mental cruelty, adultery, or fraud. In fact, the courts don’t often consider how the marriage broke down, just that it did.

Infidelity may matter in some circumstances

Even so, in the case of adultery, the affair may play a pivotal role in a divorce. For instance, the court may require your spouse to repay any monies belonging to the marital community that the straying spouse spent on the third party. It will be necessary to provide the court with proof of the amount spent. If you find receipts for jewelry or other gifts, payments for fancy hotel rooms and meals, or proof your spouse began supporting the other party by paying his or her rent or purchasing a home, it may provide the necessary evidence.

The only other way in which the affair becomes relevant in a divorce is if it somehow harms the children. Then it may play a role in child custody matters. It may take some investigation and research to determine whether the fact that your spouse had an affair will affect your divorce proceedings.

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