How Will My Adulterous Spouse Impact Child Custody?
If you discover your spouse has been cheating on you and you want to know how it will impact your child’s custody, keep reading. You’ve come to the right place.
These days, an extra-marital affair is a fairly common occurrence, and many couples choose to “work it out” when the affair is revealed to the other spouse. If that is not the case for your situation and there are children involved, the situation can escalate quickly.
Going through a divorce can be a trying time, and adding the emotions of a cheating spouse can compound the extremes of the experience. Today, we’ll break down how your spouse’s cheating will impact your divorce case as it relates to your children and child support.
Proving adultery is the cause of a divorce
The first thing to know is that proving a spouse is committing or has committed acts of infidelity can be difficult. Unfaithful spouses are notorious for covering their tracks and destroying evidence of their extra-marital relationship, even before their spouses suspect there was an extra-marital relationship at all.
Finding concrete evidence of a cheating spouse can be a difficult chore all in itself, but proving that the extra-marital relationship was the cause of the divorce can be an even more difficult task. Oftentimes, courts view adultery as a symptom of an underlying issue in the marriage instead of the cause of the issue. Adultery could be the result of poor or miscommunication between spouses.
If you do happen to have the ability to prove that adultery was the cause of your divorce, the impact of that evidence on the divorce case could be minimal at best.
Adultery and Child Custody
Adultery is technically a crime in many states, but it is considered an ancient law and is rarely enforced.
Generally, adultery has a minimal impact on the outcome of a divorce case. As a general rule, courts consider parenting and marriage as separate situations. A spouse could be an amazing parent while being a lousy spouse, and so, just because your spouse cheated on you doesn’t necessarily mean that the court will automatically decide in your favor when it comes to your child(ren)’s custody or financial support.
There are a few different causes for adultery to have a direct impact on the outcome of a divorce case.
One way is that the cheating spouse used family finances and resources to support the extra-marital relationship. The reason is that those resources are considered the family’s and should be used with the family’s best interest at heart. In this instance, you would most likely be due more of the financial distribution.
Another way adultery can impact your child custody case is if your cheating spouse allowed your child(ren) to witness the extra-marital relationship. Doing so would mean that your spouse did not use clear judgement to keep your child(ren)’s best interest(s) at heart, and he or she could lose custody privileges or even lose complete custody.
One of the most significant ways adultery impacts child custody is through settlements. When your spouse cheated on you, he or she most likely stirred up a lot of anger and resentment in you, and you will most likely be eager to get retribution. And the extra-marital affair also probably brought shame and guilt upon your spouse.
The emotions associated with a relationship involving adultery coupled with the cheating spouse’s desire to leave the marital relationship can have a direct impact on divorce negotiations outside of court. Oftentimes, these emotional factors are the driving force behind the 85% (or more) of divorce cases involving adultery that are settled outside of court.
Settling your divorce involving adultery outside of court will give you the upper hand in divorce negotiations, and will speed the process. Not only that, but a settlement is often significantly less costly than an in-court divorce that could drag out for months and sometimes years.
In summary, your cheating spouse will likely not have to pay more money in alimony or child support because of his or her affair. And his or her affair will probably have little bearing on child custody. But, your spouse will most likely be eager to settle the divorce outside of court quickly.
If your spouse has had an extra-marital affair, we recommend you seek experienced legal counsel with a specialty in divorce law. We can review the evidence you have against your spouse and give you an idea of what steps you need to take to file for your divorce. You will want to consult with an experienced divorce law attorney before establishing your divorce case.