Does An Affair in a Divorce Really Matter?

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Infidelity.  Cheating.  Extramarital affair.

I hear these words frequently from people I consult with.  I am repeatedly asked whether their spouse’s affair makes a difference to the legal divorce process.  And, through tears, I am told that the turmoil caused by their spouse’s affair isn’t fair.

An affair or infidelity in a marriage can cause so much upset for a person or family.  But, in the legal divorce process, does an affair really matter?

Most states in United States are “no fault” divorce states.  This means that, in a no-fault divorce state, the court can grant a divorce without requiring a party to prove that the other party did something wrong to break up the marriage.  So, from the lens of a family court in a no-fault divorce state, a spouse’s affair is irrelevant to the legal divorce process.

If you are considering or experiencing divorce and infidelity has occurred in your marriage, I suggest that you first confirm whether you live in a no-fault divorce state.  Then, I encourage you to get support for the emotional side-effects that are often present when an affair occurs.  You want to make sure that you can make rational and educated decisions during the divorce process.

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