Can Cheating Impact Property Division?

Each state handles adultery differently when it comes to divorce. Some states highly frown upon it, while others are not concerned about it. What is California’s position on cheating and its impact on a divorce?

California is a no-fault divorce state, which means spouses can file for divorce without having to point the finger at the other spouse. All that matters is that one spouse wants out. Spouses are not required to cite fault-based grounds for the divorce, such as adultery or cruel and inhumane treatment.

So, what about cheating? Is there any way that adultery can impact property division in a California divorce? In the majority of instances, adultery does not impact property division, but there is one exception and it has to do with the “wasteful dissipation of marital assets.”

Wasteful Dissipation of Marital Assets

When a cheating spouse wastes marital assets on a boyfriend or girlfriend, then it may impact the divorce settlement. For example, if a cheating husband supported his girlfriend on the side for a year by putting her up in an apartment and paying for her car, some, if not all of the money he spent on the affair could be deducted from his share of the divorce settlement depending on the facts of the case.

It is not uncommon for a cheating spouse to engage in wasteful dissipation of marital assets by squandering the couple’s money on an affair. But it doesn’t have to be an affair. The cheating spouse can also blow the couple’s money on escorts and that too would count as wasteful dissipation of marital assets.

If it can be proven that a cheating spouse wasted marital assets on extramarital relations, it can certainly decrease the cheating spouse’s share of the divorce settlement. On the other hand, if no money was spent on the one night stand or affair, it is highly unlikely that the infidelity will impact the couple’s divorce settlement.

If you have questions about how adultery may impact your divorce, contact Burch, Coulston & Shepard by calling (949) 565-4158 today.

Next: Dating During a California Divorce