While there are many reasons for divorce, one of the must hurtful and painful is that of infidelity. A cheating spouse might not always result in separation, but for some couples, the behavior might make the marriage unsalvageable. When a divorce results from such circumstances, it is important to take into account whether the behavior could impact the divorce proceedings.
The answer to this question lies within the state law in which the couple is obtaining the divorce. In most states, including California, separation proceedings are based on a no-fault divorce concept. This means that the decisions the court makes on property division, determining child custody or support and other issues will be in no way impacted by the fact that one spouse was unfaithful.
Yet, there are exceptions. For example, if the spouse's infidelity in any way affects the well-being of the children or even places them in danger, this could impact a court's determination of child custody and, by association, a child support award.
When it comes to the healing process in a divorce involving infidelity, experts advise spouses to take certain steps in order to aid in the recovery process. First, it is recommended that a spouse take some time to heal. While it may be instinct to file for divorce as soon as the cheating behavior is discovered, it sometimes makes more sense to take some time, talk it through with the other spouse and then make a decision. It is also important to know state laws. Lastly, experts recommend that spouses consider the effects of all types of behavior on their children. While emotions surface abruptly from cheating, it is imperative to take the children into consideration when reacting.
Obtaining a divorce is certainly one of the most difficult steps a person might take in life and thus should be approached with a clear head.
Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: A Cheating Heart and Its Role in Divorce," Caroline Choi, Oct. 1, 2013