Right Or Wrong: What Role Does Adultery Play In Your California Divorce?

One of major personal issues during a divorce is the concept of fault.  Many people see various types of lies, betrayal, or other misconduct as unresolvable issues that lead to the dissolution of a marriage.  Another significant debate buffered by preconceived notions and various narratives in the media and on television shows and movies is the idea that adultery can tip the scales in a divorce.  For a private discussion regarding what factors can affect a judge’s determination of equitable distribution, alimony, custody, and child support in a divorce, you should speak to a local family law attorney.

California Divorce Law

Throughout the nation, divorce can be litigated in one of two ways; with a determination of who is at the most fault for the divorce or without that determination.  When a state does not litigate who is at fault for a divorce, it is considered a no-fault state.  California is a no-fault state.  This means that adultery is not a legal reason to cite during a divorce.  The two reasons you can legally cite for a divorce are:

  1. One spouse suffers from incurable insanity; or
  2. You and your spouse have irreconcilable differences.

In terms of your divorce, the court will not hear evidence of adultery or any allegation of fault for that matter.  

Spousal Support

Spousal support (also known as alimony) refers to the monetary contribution one spouse pays to the other during and after a divorce and is meant to ensure that neither spouse is impoverished as a result of the divorce.  There are many factors that a judge may consider when determining whether to award alimony.  These factors mostly focus on each spouse’s ability to employ themselves at a certain level, maintain a certain standard of living, and the allocation of debts and assets.  Certain qualities of the marriage, such as the length of the marriage are also considered.  The only true fault named as a factor is a past of domestic violence, as that is also a criminal offense.  Adultery is not mentioned as a factor in determining alimony.  Even though the final, catch-all factor indicates that the court can consider whatever factors are just and equitable, the court does not consider adultery in its decision to award or not award spousal support.

Contact A Legal Representative

At a time when many people are at their most vulnerable, you need a strong advocate to help you through the process and to keep you focused on what matters most.  While some attorneys will drain your budget, energy, and time attempting to litigate issues that are not important to the determinations of the most important aspects of your divorce, a trustworthy and experienced attorney will attempt to focus on the issues that will have a say in your divorce.  If you live in Sonoma County and are looking for a skilled, experienced, and honest advocate, contact Charles D. Stark for help with your divorce by calling 707.527.9900. 

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