Perhaps there is no greater feeling of betrayal than when you learned that your spouse has been unfaithful. While some couples can overcome this crisis, especially if it was a one-time occurrence, it may signify the rapid end of the marriage for others.
The question many divorcing couples ask is how will the adultery affect the outcome of the divorce. With more states adopting no-fault divorce options, you may think infidelity will not be a factor. However, in Rhode Island, it is possible for infidelity to affect the outcome of alimony, asset division, and in extreme cases, child custody.
Alimony, custody and property division
In Rhode Island, you may file for a no-fault divorce, which means you and your spouse do not need to state any particular reasons for breaking up. However, if infidelity is the cause of your split, you have another option. Filing for divorce on grounds of adultery can affect the final judgment of your case. With the right legal representation, you may pursue the following during your divorce litigation:
- Demonstrating that you suffered a financial loss because of your spouse’s affair may result in receiving a more favorable amount of spousal support.
- If you would otherwise pay alimony, your spouse’s infidelity may affect that amount in some cases.
- If your spouse conducted the affair in front of the children or exposed them to inappropriate situations during liaisons with the other partner, the court may consider this when determining child custody matters.
Perhaps the most common consequence of having an affair involves the division of marital assets. Rhode Island is an equitable distribution state, which means the court will generally attempt to divide joint assets fairly, not necessarily evenly. However, you may receive a larger portion of marital assets during property division if your spouse used joint assets to finance the affair, such as paying for gifts, trips, hotels or other expenses. This may not be easy to prove, but your attorney can help you gather evidence to support your claim.
Fight for your fair share
Filing for divorce on grounds of adultery is about more than just exposing your spouse’s misdeeds. It is about obtaining what you deserve so you can establish a stable post-divorce life.
The laws for divorce, fault and other family matters may be drastically different from state to state. Therefore, you will want legal advice from an advocate who is well experienced in the family courts of the state in which you file for divorce. You also want a legal representative who will advocate for your best interests through every phase of the process.