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Does Cheating Matter in a Divorce?

While cheating or an affair may have resulted in the end of your marriage, does it influence the terms of your divorce settlement?

In New Jersey, martial misconduct – such as adultery – is not often considered when determining the divorce agreement. Which is why in many cases, couples often file a no-fault divorce instead of highlighting adultery as the cause.

If a spouse decides adultery as the cause of action, he or she may be asked to name the individual with whom the other spouse had the affair with. In addition, the court may want information regarding dates or places related to the act of infidelity, as well as require a court appearance from the person with whom the spouse had an affair. However, it is rare that an extramarital affair would play a role in either diving property or figure out the amount of alimony which may be offered.

On the other hand, the following are three main reasons when cheating can affect the terms of the divorce settlement:

  • Compensation for money spent on the affair. It is possible that if the infidelity had a negative impact on the couple’s finances, a court could consider adultery a factor in a divorce. For example, if a spouse purchases expensive gifts for a love interest or went on luxurious trips, a judge could determine that the value of those expenditures should play a role in the division of property and assets.
  • Abuse or poor conduct. If a cheating spouse flaunts the extramarital affair in the other spouse’s face, or if adultery resulted in the spouse to ignore family obligations, these factors could be used as leverage in divorce negotiations.
  • Terms of a prenuptial agreement. If there is a clause in the prenuptial agreement which addresses adultery, it can influence how a divorce agreement is determined. For instance, if there is a clause which states that if a spouse cheats, then he or she will become ineligible for alimony, the other spouse can use this as leverage in divorce negotiations.

If you are interested in filing for divorce or modifying a current court order in New Jersey, contact Moskowitz Law Group, LLC and request a free case evaluation with our Bergen County divorce lawyer today. We have more than 50 years of collective experience on your side!