The Cost of Infidelity: Divorce Settlements When You Look the Other Way
Of all the reasons that can end a marriage, adultery is a common one. It is hard enough to live with another individual (soul mate or not) who is completely different from you and add to it infidelity- sleeping on a bed of hot coal will seem to be less painful. There is no undoing an act of adultery. You cannot justify a mistake by blaming it on your partner’s inadequacies. The impact of infidelity can wring you dry in a few states and have little or no importance in others.
Research on infidelity statistics on divorce settlements suggests that one third marriages broke citing infidelity as the main cause in 50% marriages with an unfaithful partner. Men who earned over $70,000 a year were more likely to cheat on their wives than those who earned below $30,000.
The cost of adultery
A few decades ago an adulterous wife was punished more severely than a straying man. The same continues in a few countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran where the punishment is violent death. In the United States, adultery is considered and punished as a criminal offense in only a few states.
Now, adultery affects asset distribution only in cases when the assets were used to support the affair. For example, if the husband burrows or liquidates assets to support his mistress, this will be considered while distributing wealth. This is viewed as an ‘injury’ to personal shared finances. Adultery may not affect child custody provided that the act of cheating did not expose the children to any harm or influence them in any negative way.
On the flip side, there are states where infidelity is frowned upon. In a few documented cases a cheating husband lost all this pleas against asset distribution for his wayward activities or a wife did not benefit from alimony for none was paid. Alimony ceases when either spouse start living with another partner.
If the cheating partner picks up a sexually transmitted disease and transfers the same to their spouse, the affected spouse can claim on the basis of “interspousal tort” covered by personal injury action (on grounds of civil law action).
In conclusion, adultery affects the direction of a divorce proceeding in those states that observe ‘at-fault divorce’ and is ignored in states of ‘no-fault’ divorce like California. Most divorces that happen on the ground of an adulterous spouse always find the cheating partner unfit for child custody and an unknown settlement is made to keep the slander away from public eye.
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