How Does Adultery Impact Divorce?


Posted on: December 10th, 2020

Unfortunately following the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage divorce proceedings are often the outcome. This is an emotionally draining and financially uncertain time and you need experienced and sympathetic family lawyers to represent you. Our family solicitors have dealt with all kinds of divorce proceedings over the years and are well equipped to guide you through your process.

One question that crops up fairly often in this area of family law is: if my partner has been unfaithful, how does this impact the divorce? We have taken some time to put together this post that should hopefully give you all the information you need about what is known as conduct in divorce proceedings.

Starting the proceedings if your partner has committed adultery

Taking the plunge and contacting a family solicitor can be extremely daunting, however, once you are put on the right path by an experienced professional it will slowly become easier.

Adultery is one of the ‘five facts’ upon which you can rely when proving to a court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. However, for this to be an effective means of obtaining a divorce your spouse must admit in writing that adultery has been committed. If no admission is forthcoming by your spouse then proving that adultery has taken place is an extremely difficult and costly enterprise to undertake and our family lawyers would advise you against it. The more effective course of action is to present a petition of divorce on the fact of your spouse’s unreasonable behaviour the details of which can include an extra-marital affair.

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Will adultery affect the financial aspects of a divorce?

The financial aspects of a divorce are often complicated and challenging. It is understandable from an emotional point of view to feel that it is unfair to lose out financially when the reason you are filing for a divorce is that your spouse has committed adultery. However, from a legal point of view, the fact that an extra-marital affair has taken place rarely has any impact upon how matrimonial finances are resolved.

There are some occasions when a court will find evidence of conduct that is serious enough to consider when deciding the fairest way of splitting financial assets and dealing with debts accrued during the marriage, however, adultery is unlikely to be an example of conduct.

An example of something known as litigation conduct is where a spouse deliberately withholds key financial information from the court that has or could have a detrimental impact upon the other ‘innocent’ spouse. This could result in the innocent spouse receiving an adjusted or enhanced share of the matrimonial assets.

When it comes to the challenging issue of sorting out finances following a relationship breakdown it is wise to take advice from experienced family lawyers as soon as possible to avoid suffering any detriment or loss.

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What will happen if my partner commits adultery and we have children together?

Divorce is, of course, an even more difficult process when a child is involved and it is vitally important that the best outcome possible is achieved for the welfare of dependent children.

We deal with all aspects of family law in Middlesbrough, Redcar and further afield, and have supported families through many situations where a parent is found to have committed adultery. There are naturally many questions and factors to consider, which is why a full assessment is carried out to help determine the best interests of the child or children involved. Again, it may seem unfair to the innocent party, but in the majority of cases, the behaviour of an unfaithful party will not be relevant legally.

Ultimately, the way the situation is handled will depend on both parents. For example, if the unfaithful parent is involved in a new, ongoing relationship, there may be obstacles to overcome in terms of introducing a child (of any age) to a new family member. This can be very difficult emotionally for the innocent party. However, wherever possible, it is best for both parents to be completely transparent with each other and do the absolute most they can to ensure their children are fully supported and prioritised above anything else.

To summarise, there are many assessments made when children are involved. If a parent has had an affair, it does not mean their rights will be taken away in terms of their children. They will go through the proceedings honestly and clearly, and the outcome will be determined in a way that is fair for both parents.

Do you need some advice?

Whether you have been unfaithful to your spouse or you suspect your partner is having an affair, we are able to support you and give you legal advice. Please feel free to contact our divorce solicitors and we will discuss your case with you, addressing any issues you have and giving you guidance every step of the way.

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If you require any of our legal services or you're not sure where to get started, please contact us and we'll guide you every step of the way.

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