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Will your spouse’s affair give you the upper hand in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 29, 2021 | Divorce

Finding out that your spouse has cheated on you can do a lot of damage. Obviously, it destroys the trust that you had in your spouse. It may also do damage to your self-esteem, either because you wonder why they looked for intimacy elsewhere or you judge yourself for not noticing the warning signs sooner.

When you recover from the initial shock and pain, anger is a common response. You probably want justice and to hold your spouse accountable for their violation of your marriage vows and your trust in them. Will the Maryland courts provide the justice you seek when adultery is the basis upon which you seek a divorce?

Adultery doesn’t have the impact it once did on awards of alimony or property.

Unfortunately, Maryland courts generally won’t focus on punishing bad behavior so much as they do on separating the lives of unhappy spouses. The statutes governing divorce and the cases decided under those statutes direct judges to evaluate 11 and 12 separate factors when awarding alimony and making an equitable distribution.

Fault is but one of the factors when judges split pensions and make an equitable distribution award. Adultery, when it does not negatively impact a child, shouldn’t affect an award of custody and won’t impact an award of child support. It too is but one factor when the court considers an award of alimony.

If you file for an absolute divorce based on the grounds of adultery, in which case you have to prove the infidelity, you may not see much consequence from your spouse’s affair. However, if you can prove they wasted money on their affair, that should play a role in the ultimate outcome.

Spending on a paramour is a form of dissipation.

As a married couple, both of you have a joint interest in your marital assets. Your spouse should not waste those assets or intentionally try to diminish them to punish you or limit what you receive in the divorce.

Spending thousands of dollars on fancy dinners, vacations or gifts during an affair wastes or dissipates marital assets. Proving what money they spent on the affair could lead to a judge factoring that into the property division.

Otherwise, you might simply have to accept that just moving on and leading a happier life without your cheating Ex is the best possible outcome in a divorce after infidelity.