For those who are married, discovering evidence of adultery can be devastating enough to end the marriage. In some states, presenting proof of cheating during marriage in court is a way to establish who was at fault for the divorce and may affect how the judge rules on issues such as alimony. There are also states that still consider adultery illegal. The state of California is a no-fault divorce state and does not have a law that defines adultery as a criminal act.
Under the no-fault divorce law it does not matter who caused the marriage to fail. When you file for divorce in California, you’re instructed to choose between one of two reasons: your spouse is incurably insane or there are irreconcilable differences in the relationship. The court will not consider proof of cheating during marriage in order to establish fault.
What does matter?
Are there factors when getting a divorce in California like alimony that are influenced by adultery and other behavioral misconduct? In short, no!
The exception to the rule is when there is evidence that one spouse behaved violently during the marriage and has been convicted of abusive behavior. In this case, judges have the ability to reduce or even eliminate any alimony that the abusive spouse might normally be entitled to receive. The key is that the abusive spouse must have a finding or conviction of Domestic Violence!
Typically, when deciding on awarding alimony, judges will take into account things such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s ability to support themselves, the age and health of the spouses and the needs of the children, particularly if one spouse has left the workforce to concentrate on taking care of them.
No-fault divorce laws are clear on the issues driving spousal support, though judges do have some leeway in how they award alimony with regard to the amount and duration. The purpose of alimony is not to punish a cheating spouse, but rather to arrive at a fair and reasonable decision. The end goal is for the supported spouse to have the opportunity to better their situation. Spousal Support for a specified time, allows the non-earning or lower earning spouse time to establish a new life and financial stability.
Common reasons for divorce
The state of California may only technically offer two reasons for divorce, but there are many things that may cause a marriage to end. Cheating is certainly a big one, but others like addiction, mental and physical health problems, and domestic abuse rank up there with adultery. Another serious rift in a marriage can occur when one of the spouses has a problem with sports gambling. You can read more about that on our blog page by clicking the link.
If you’re looking to consult with divorce attorneys in Irvine, CA, contact the Buncher Family Law firm, where we offer a compassionate and cooperative approach. We can help guide you through the major life transition created by divorce.