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Will adultery affect divorce in California?

California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning the family court judge is not allowed to consider fault when making major determinations regarding property, custody and other divorce issues. However, just because California is not a fault divorce state does not mean that adultery will not affect your California divorce. A People's Choice outlines when adultery may or may not change the outcome of your separation.

Unfortunately, adultery alone will not result in direct legal consequences for the adulterous party in California. However, how a party acted while committing adultery may. For instance, if a spouse spends marital funds on his or her lover, he or she may be accountable for reimbursing the marital estate. To ensure this happens, the courts may award fewer assets or funds to the cheating spouse. Before a judge will do this, however, the harmed spouse will have to produce evidence supporting his or her claims that the adulterer wasted marital funds on his or her lover.

Adultery should not affect spousal support, but again, how the cheating spouse acted during the marriage and while courting a lover may. If a cheating spouse moves in with his or her lover before the divorce is final or directly afterward, the court may determine that he or she does not need financial support in the form of alimony.

Finally, adultery does not impact child custody – in most cases. However, if a spouse's cheating caused significant emotional harm to the child, the courts may award more custody to the other parent. If a spouse's relationship with a new partner causes him or her to neglect the child, the courts will take that into consideration.

The information in this post is for learning purposes only. It should not be used as legal advice.   

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