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What Happens in a Divorce if Your Spouse Had an Affair?

Posted by Michael Lambert | Mar 06, 2018 | 0 Comments

What Happens in a Divorce if Your Spouse Had an Affair?

There is perhaps no greater form of betrayal then when one spouse cheats on the other.  The realization that your husband or wife was unfaithful can evoke powerful emotions that range from sadness to intense anger.  An affair is devastating in any relationship and it will undoubtedly wreak havoc on a marriage.  Many couples are unable to sustain their marriages after an affair and the infidelity will ultimately lead to divorce.

Upon learning that your spouse was in an adulterous relationship your first thought might be to change the locks and to toss his/her clothing out the window.  When it comes to divorce you may think that the innocent party is entitled to the house, kids, and savings.  However, it is unlikely that an extra-marital relationship will have a significant impact on your divorce.  The court will not make a moral judgement, nor will it take punitive action against the cheating spouse.  It may seem unfair, but the actions of a cheating spouse only have limited relevance in a divorce case.

In Massachusetts the court will consider the actions of an unfaithful spouse under limited circumstances if a specific area of your divorce case is impacted.  Generally, the actions of the cheating spouse could have relevance to contested child custody, property division, and alimony cases.  For example, if the adulterous spouse exposed the children to the relationship it could call into question that spouse's capacity to further the best interest of the children.  In situations where a spouse dissipates marital assets to support the extra-marital relationship the court could credit the innocent spouse when dividing the marital assets.  Finally, there is dated case law that permits judges to consider the use of marital funds in an affair when awarding alimony.

While the legal ramifications of an affair may not be significant, the emotional influence will frequently impact the outcome of the divorce.  When you are clouded by anger, hostility, and thoughts of retribution it is doubtful that you will make good decisions.  It can be difficult to separate the emotions you feel from the affair and to focus on what is in the best interest of you and your family.  These feelings can impact settlement negotiations and if they provoke threats or violence you could be subject to a restraining order or face criminal charges.  In these circumstances a competent divorce attorney can serve as a valuable intermediary to mitigate the emotional influence on your divorce.

Lambert Legal has years of experience handling high conflict divorces.  We will get you through this difficult time and ensure that you get a fair and just result.  We are happy to speak with you and learn about your situation.  Call now at 617-754-6822 for a free no obligation consultation.

About the Author

Michael Lambert

About Attorney Lambert Attorney Lambert is an experienced Massachusetts courtroom litigator and competent negotiator. Having logged significant time in the courtroom Attorney Lambert is a poised and confident advocate. Outside of court he has built a successful track record of negotiating favo...


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