I have committed adultery. Will my spouse get the lion's share?

Infidelity won't affect the outcome of your divorce, or how much you'll end up receiving. You should be aware, however, of how money spent during your affair could affect property division.

By Stacy D. Phillips
May 26, 2006
 
CA FAQ/Infidelity Issues

"I have committed adultery. Will my spouse get the lion's share of everything, including property and higher-than-usual child support or spousal support?"

In a nutshell, adultery is a non-issue in California divorce law and, as an act, is totally irrelevant to the division of property, child support and spousal support, and custody issues -- except in very, very narrow circumstances. The only time adultery comes into play is if the act is committed in front of a couple's child or children. Presuming that has not occurred, the mere act of adultery does not figure when it comes to the conditions of ending a marriage in California.

Rather than the act of adultery, it is the act of expending community-property funds on an extra-marital partner that gets people in trouble. For example, if a wedded partner spends money from a joint checking account on his or her lover's condo or apartment, or buys them jewelry or some other gift, not only could there be a claim for reimbursement, but also a claim for breach of fiduciary duty. Legally, that partner has misappropriated community money, and that is the crux of the issue. In other words, it is a violation of the fiduciary duty of the wedded spouse. There are very specific laws in California as to breach of fiduciary duty and its ramifications, and their financial and emotional effect can make dissolution very costly.

Divorce law may be very different in your hometown; please consult an attorney who specializes in family law in your area.


Stacy D. Phillips is a co-founder of Phillips Lerner, A Law Corporation, which specializes in high-profile family law matters. She is co-chair of the Women's Political Committee and a member of Divorce Magazine's North American Advisory Board. She can be reached at (310) 277-7117. View her firm's Divorce Magazine profile here.

Back To Top

May 26, 2006
Categories:  FAQs

Add A Comment

Comment

Allowed HTML: <b>, <i>, <u>, <a>

Comments

Reason for your Divorce

Why did your relationship end? If there's more than one reason, choose the strongest factor.

Money Problems/Arguments
Physical/Emotional Infidelity
Physical/Mental Illness
Physical/Emotional Abuse
Alcoholism/Addiction Issues
Basic Incompatibility


Copyright © 2017 Divorce Magazine, Divorce Marketing Group & Segue Esprit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior written permission is prohibited.