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Infidelity & Divorce in California

Why Is It Important To Maintain Civility With Your EX?

Is marriage forever? For the lucky few, yes. Unfortunately, however, the reality is a significant amount of marriages end in divorce. Many relationships end because one or both spouses have been unfaithful. When infidelity occurs, it can make an already tough situation worse, especially when there are children involved. This is because, rather than completely parting ways, parents still have to spend many years, if not a lifetime, co-parenting, interacting with one another, attending events, family gatherings, and the like.

How The California Court Weighs Infidelity During The Divorce Proceedings

In dissolution and child custody proceedings, it may be tempting to assume that such unfavorable behavior would give the “cheated on” spouse an unfair advantage, financially, with respect to parenting time, and otherwise. It may come as a surprise then to find out that, generally speaking, infidelity will not have much of an impact on your divorce and child custody matter. This is because California is a no-fault state.

In California, divorce and legal separation are generally based on “irreconcilable differences, which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.” This ground is pleaded generally which means that you do not have to “prove” fault to obtain a divorce. In very rare instances, divorce and legal separation can be based on “permanent legal incapacity to make decisions.” Thus, informing the court that your spouse cheated on you will not get you very far. The court will not award you additional support or time with your children because your spouse was unfaithful.

The Specifics Matter – Make Sure You Consult With An Attorney

On the other hand, disclosing this information to the court may hurt you, at least with respect to child custody and visitation. This can occur if you start bashing your ex to the court. A court may, in some cases, feel that you are not co-parenting. This is because although health, safety, and welfare concerns regarding your children are relevant to custody proceedings; your spouse’s ability to stay faithful is not. Please note, you should always contact an attorney regarding the specifics of your case. Even though California is a no-fault state, your divorce attorney may hear other facts in your case that you may be able to use to your advantage.

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