Does Adultery Have An Effect on California Divorce Cases?

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediator; California Divorce MediatorsThe institution of marriage is one based on trust and loyalty. When these emotions are diluted with adultery, you find the marriage ending in divorce. It is a painful experience for the parties involved and can get quite messy if not dealt with properly. You can avoid the name-calling and finger-pointing if you are aware of legal procedures involving divorce because of adultery.

In the U.S., you have a divorce procedure called ‘no-fault divorce’. The proceedings do not require the spouse filing the divorce to testify why the other spouse is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Adultery is illegal in many states but it isn’t so in California. Thus, the legal definition of adultery is still up for interpretation. However, there is a general agreement that adultery occurs when one partner engages in a sexual relationship outside marriage.

When you are filing for divorce, you need not mention why the marriage failed or who was responsible. You only have to state that the marriage is broken beyond repair and separation is your best solution. If the reason for divorce is adultery, it is better to consult a family law attorney who can help you settle other matters involved in the divorce.

Alimony or spousal support is an important consideration in a divorce, especially if you are the dependent. An alimony order can be issued while the divorce is still being processed. The spouse receiving it can also request for temporary alimony which will be in place till the matter settles. The final order will nullify the temporary order.

You have to understand the granting of alimony is at the discretion of the judge. The judge will be the one to decide if alimony is necessary or there is enough evidence to support awarding the alimony. The total duration of the marriage is also a factor in determining the amount you receive. The shorter your marriage, lower the alimony. In addition, the judge has to weigh in on the needs of the receiving spouse and the capability of the paying spouse for alimony to be granted. The ruling should be fair so there isn’t a huge difference in each spouse’s standard of living.

Alimony isn’t punishment or compensation. It is meant to provide monetary stability for the dependent spouse even after a divorce.

It is best to resolve your marital differences amicably, especially if there are children or other dependents involved. This will ensure your relationship does not affect them negatively and you are able to move on without any bitterness towards one another.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation