When a couple gets married, part of the promise they make is to love each other and be faithful to one another for the rest of their lives.
However, sometimes, a partner cheats.
Whether a one-time mistake or a bad habit, infidelity is one of the most common causes of divorce in the United States. In one survey, 55% of men and 50% of women said that they cheated on their partners at least once.
Couples do not always separate after one person has been caught or admitted to cheating. About 50-60% of marriages survive infidelity.
That means many marriages end when a spouse cheats.
What to Do When a Spouse Cheats?
When a married man or woman catches their spouse cheating, what happens next depends solely on whether they can continue living with their partner despite their infidelity.
Adultery is still a crime in many states, but cheating spouses are rarely persecuted for it. Typically, when a spouse cheats, the other person decides to either forgive or get a divorce.
If you find out that your spouse cheated on you, you should immediately call a divorce lawyer if you think that the marriage is unsalvageable. Your lawyer will help you acquire the necessary papers needed to legally separate from your husband or wife.
Your lawyer would also represent you in all meetings and negotiations with your spouse, especially if you intend to take the case to court.
Will Infidelity Affect Divorce Outcome?
Infidelity may or may not change the course of a divorce.
In some states, fault is still a factor in a divorce proceeding which means that, if your partner cheated on you, then you may not have to pay alimony or it would help you demand spousal support.
However, in no-fault states, infidelity will unlikely to be a factor that will be considered when it comes to spousal support, division of property, and child custody.
An affair can only affect the judge’s decision if the cheating spouse wasted marital assets on the extra-marital relationship. If, for example, the husband purchased a car for his mistress, it will likely be taken into account when it is time to distribute wealth and property.
Infidelity will also not be a factor when determining custody. A parent may use the affair in front of the judge if the children were exposed to inappropriate situations or people. If, for example, the mistress was introduced by the husband to the children, it may help the other party to get a favorable verdict.
Adultery and Asking for Settlement
Divorce, more often than not, end in settlement. ; About 90% of cases settle.
This is when infidelity becomes a factor.
Usually, the cheating spouse feels the guilt of their actions. The spouse who was cheated on, on the other hand, feels anger.
These emotions become a factor during settlement negotiations. It clouds their judgment, making them unable to reconcile and arrive at a decision that leaves both parties satisfied.
Evidence Needed to Prove Infidelity
If you want to use your spouse’s infidelity in your divorce trial, you would need to prove that your spouse cheated on you. Things like credit card statements, an email containing explicit information, photos showing your spouse with a third party entering a motel can be evidence that there was an extra-marital relationship.
The evidence should prove that the spouse cheated emotionally and/or sexually. A series of text messages between two people who seem like they are just really close friends may not be enough to show the judge that the partner was unfaithful.
Hiring a private detective to gather evidence of infidelity may be permitted, but only do so after you have consulted with your lawyer. Phone calls and emails may also be subpoenaed in court, but seek legal advice before you start snooping on your soon-to-be ex’s personal accounts and properties. You need to make sure that all your actions are within the bounds of the law.
Can You Sue Your Spouse’s Paramour?
In some states, you can file claims against a third party. One example is the alienation of affection in which you can claim that your spouse deserted you because of a third party.
It is only, however, open to people living in North Carolina, South Dakota, Mississippi, Utah, and a handful of other states. Proving it may be difficult because you would have to convince the judge that there was genuine affection between you and your spouse but a third party caused the alienation of affection.
Speaking to a lawyer will give you an idea of what evidence you would need and what actions you can take against your spouse or your spouse’s paramour.
A divorce is a difficult situation, but separating because of cheating can make it more stressful and painful for all parties involved. The best thing to do is to hire a lawyer who will be by your side and aid you throughout the process.