My spouse has had several affairs; it's one of the reasons we split up. Can I use this against him in the divorce proceedings?

By Stacy D. Phillips
August 01, 2013
CA FAQ/Infidelity Issues

This depends on where you're filing for divorce. In some states, proof of adultery can impact the division of property and even support. California, where I practice, is considered a "no fault" state. In other words, in California divorce law, you do not need grounds for a divorce, and adultery is meaningless in terms of using such transgressions to an advantage in the divorce process.

That said, if you have a prenuptial agreement that specifies your spouse will have to give you money each time he/she strays -- what is commonly referred to as a "bad-boy/bad-girl" clause -- and you have valid proof of such affairs, you might be able to receive financial remuneration in light of that contract. If these affairs were openly conducted in front of minor children (let's say your spouse had his lover sleep over while you were on a business trip), that could impact the custody arrangement. You are better off to take your mind off the affairs and focus that energy and attention on building a new and better life for yourself. Make note of what made you suspicious and led you to your findings in the first place. You may want to pay close attention to warning signs in any new relationship, so you do not get your heart broken again or suffer the deep emotional pain that only adultery can inflict.

Stacy D. Phillips is a co-founder of Blank Rome LLP, which specializes in high-profile family law matters. She is a Certified Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

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August 01, 2013

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