Does Cheating Affect Divorce Settlements in California?

People often worry cheating might influence the outcome of a divorce. In California, there are no direct legal consequences of committing adultery. Likewise, it’s not a valid legal ground for divorce. However, there are a few ways adultery might affect the outcome.

For example, if the adultery affected the finances of both spouses, such as reducing the total value of the marital estate, a judge will consider holding the cheater financially responsible for reimbursing the estate. For example, if the adulterous spouse spends community funds on his or her lover, he or she will have to pay that sum back during the divorce. However, the harmed spouse will have to produce evidence of this claim.

Likewise, cheating might affect spousal support. If the cheating spouse expects to get spousal support during the divorce, but he or she is living with a lover during the proceedings, the judge is unlikely to award much, if any, spousal support. Alimony is based on the financial needs of one spouse and the other spouse to pay; if the adulterous spouse is able to support himself or herself on his or her own, they don’t need the additional financial upkeep.

Last, the adultery is unlikely to affect the outcome of any custody decisions at all, unless the cheating affected the child significantly in some way. The infidelity would have to have a tremendous negative impact on the kid in question for the judge to consider the adulterer unfit to be a parent. For example, if the adulterous parent forgets to pick up his or her child because he or she is too busy with his or her lover, that behavior might be considered neglectful. In this case, the court might subject the parent to supervised visitation.

If you’re concerned about the outcome of your divorce, don’t hesitate to talk to one of our skilled Newport Beach divorce attorneys about your case. Burch, Coulston & Shepard, LLP has helped many Orange County families through divorces and custody cases. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping clients advance their interests through excellent customer service and extensive knowledge of California family law. Let us use our legal expertise on your behalf.

Contact us at (949) 565-4158 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.

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