While there are many divorces that happen due to a breakdown of the marriage, there are others that come as a result of one spouse’s wrongdoing. In many cases, this is adultery. It is estimated that at least one in five Americans admit to cheating on their significant others. Infidelity can impact a person’s life in serious ways. A common question that is asked when going into a divorce as a result of this is: Can adultery impact my divorce proceedings? Continue reading below to learn more and contact an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney for help handling these matters.  

What are Grounds for Divorce?

Spouses filing for divorce in New Jersey must either cite “fault” or “no-fault” grounds for their divorce. No-fault grounds are filed due to physical separation of 18 or more consecutive months or irreconcilable differences for at least one year. On the other hand, fault grounds are filed due to a spouse’s misconduct during a marriage. This includes adultery. 

Do I Have to Cite Fault Grounds if My Spouse Committed Adultery?

When entering a divorce due to adultery, it is important to know spouses are not obligated to file for fault divorce. There are many situations in which spouses recognize their marriage is dissolving and do not want to go through the hassle of a legal battle to prove fault. This can lead them to file no-fault grounds.

In addition to this, grounds for a divorce can be public record. It is because of this that citing fault grounds due to adultery could become knowledge to others. However, spouses can participate in alternative divorce methods that allow for privacy during this time rather than proving adultery to the court. This can include mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce.

Can Adultery Impact Divorce Proceedings?

It is important to remember that no divorce is exactly the same as another. The outcome of each proceeding can be entirely different than one before it. That being said, the nature, duration, and details of marital misconduct that caused he divorce can have an impact on a divorce settlement agreement. Here are ways adultery may impact different parts of a divorce:

  • Division of assets: There is no marital impact on fault vs. no-fault divorce when dealing with the equitable distribution of marital property
  • Alimony and spousal support: This is where adultery will most likely have the largest impact. A spouse who committed adultery may be awarded less alimony or required to pay a greater amount in alimony. 
  • Child custody: Marital misconduct may not have a serious impact on this matter. However, if the misconduct was potentially harmful to the child, then it may be considered. 
  • Child support: Adultery does not directly impact this matter. The most common way for it to be a factor is a trickle down effect after receiving less parenting time as per the child custody agreement.

Contact our Firm

 If you require strong legal representation for matters of divorce and family law in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Paone, Zaleski & Murphy to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.