Shocking Things About Divorce Part 2

In May, we published, “Shocking Things About Divorce Part 1.” This month, we’re publishing the second part in this series to help inform readers about California divorce. Here, we discuss five more “shocking” things about divorce that most of our first-time divorce clients are not aware of.

If you have further questions about the divorce process, we invite you to contact our firm to request a free case evaluation. In the meantime, we hope you’ll find the following information useful.

1. Cheating does not normally impact spousal support.
California is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means spouses file for divorce on no-fault grounds. Generally, judges are not concerned with who cheated, or who did what to whom. All that matters to the judge is that one spouse wants a divorce, they are not usually concerned with “why” the marriage fell apart. If a spouse wants to submit evidence of an affair, it may very well fall on deaf ears.

2. Marital waste can affect the settlement.
While cheating is usually a non-issue in California divorce proceedings, marital waste or “wasteful dissipation of marital assets” is another story. If one spouse wasted marital funds, for example, on a paramour, the judge will want to hear about it.

If it can be proven that a spouse squandered marital assets in some way, it can impact the divorce settlement. For example, if “John” spent $15,000 on his girlfriend’s plastic surgery, the judge could increase the innocent wife’s share of the divorce settlement by $15K to make up the difference.

3. An online affair does not count as “cheating.”
Even though California is a no-fault divorce state, we do want to make it clear that for legal purposes, “cheating” or adultery means having sexual intercourse with someone other than your spouse. An online Facebook affair does not count infidelity if it was never consummated.

4. Your social media posts can haunt you.
If you are going to fight for spousal support or child custody, your social media posts can be used against you. For example, if a husband was arguing that he couldn’t afford spousal support but he is posting pictures of his new sports car, or of him taking a European vacation with his 25-year-old girlfriend, it won’t sit well with the judge.

Likewise, if a mother was trying to get sole physical custody of her kids, but all of her posts were of her partying and drinking, her social posts can be used against her in court, painting her out to be an unfit mother.

5. Domestic violence can impact spousal support.
While infidelity generally will not impact spousal support, domestic violence is another story. If an abusive parent is seeking spousal support and there is evidence of domestic violence, the abusive parent can be denied spousal support that he or she would otherwise be entitled to.

We hope you found this information useful. If you are filing for divorce in Newport Beach or anywhere else in Orange County, contact Burch, Coulston & Shepard, LLP today.

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