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Suing For Adultery Does Little For a Divorce Settlement

adultery divorce settlement long island

Divorce in a no-fault state like Long Island does not tip the judge’s favor towards the aggrieved partner when it comes to alimony and child custody. It may, however, give him or her the upper hand in settlement negotiations if the cheating partner feels guilt and remorse, or wants a quick way out of the marriage.

Notwithstanding, certain actions by the cheating partner—like wasteful dissipation of marital assets and exposing children to one’s extramarital acts—can affect how the assets will be divided, and to whom custody will be given.

Alimony and division of assets

Marital fault has zero or minimal bearing on the division of marital assets and granting of alimony unless there is evidence of wasteful dissipation. Financial capability is the main basis for alimony or spousal support. The spouse who’s been married for several years has become less financially independent and, as a result, is a typical recipient of spousal support.

Assets, on the other hand, are divided equitably or according to the prenuptial agreement, with no regard for who has been faithful or not.

However, when huge amounts of marital or family funds were used to pay for expensive gifts, hotel accommodation, vacation trips, and financial assistance for the spouse’s lover, the judge can consider this an outright and unfair squandering of marital property. In which case, it will affect the splitting of assets, financial or otherwise, between the couple.

Custody of children

Once again, adultery does not affect a parent’s eligibility to receive child custody, unless he or she had exposed the children to their extramarital relationship. Custody or the legal right to raise or parent one’s child is decided by the judge based on several factors, including but not limited to the parent’s:

  • financial stability
  • ability to provide a healthy home and lifestyle; and
  • ability to provide emotional and intellectual support; good judgment

In the eyes of the law, being a terrible spouse does not necessarily make you a bad parent. Neither does being a good partner automatically make you a responsible father or mother. But allowing one’s kids to witness an extramarital act can be seen as a sign of lack of clear judgment. This can make the cheating spouse lose custody, especially if the other spouse meets the rest of the criteria well.

Divorce settlement in Long Island

Although adultery may not shift child custody or alimony decisions in favor of the faithful spouse, it may strongly influence settlement negotiations. An unfaithful spouse who feels guilt and shame for betraying his or her partner’s trust may be more inclined to grant the settlement the other party desires.

If the couple can bring themselves to agree on terms for the following, choosing mediation over divorce court will save them a lot of effort and debate:

  • custody and visitation arrangements
  • child support
  • alimony (spousal support)
  • dividing marital property and debt

divorce settlement is already stressful as it is. Taking matters to court only creates animosity; it’s also longer and more expensive. As such, eight to nine out of 10 divorce cases are likely to settle.

The anger and resentment caused by marital infidelity can make one think that taking it to court is the best way to seek justice and restitution. Moreover, it may seem like it will help the betrayed partner win child custody and higher alimony. It doesn’t. Marital infidelity is not a factor for deciding alimony or custody.

However, if both parties can reach an agreement through divorce mediation, this will save both spouses and their children the added trauma of going through divorce court.