If your spouse has cheated on you then you are understandably angry. You feel betrayed, and you feel wronged. It may be natural to want to see your spouse punished in some way.
As divorcee in Philadelphia you might already be aware that you can choose to pursue either a no-fault divorce or an at-fault divorce. If you wish to make an issue out of infidelity, you’ll need to pursue an at-fault divorce.
As ever when it comes to the law, there are both advantages and disadvantages to taking this route.
Advantages of an Infidelity Fault-Based Divorce
The divorcee who will get the most benefit out of pursuing an infidelity fault-based divorce would be a spouse who has reason to believe the court will ask him or her to pay spousal support. If you can present the judge with evidence that proves the infidelity then your spouse’s claim to support will evaporate, and you’ll wind up saving a great deal of money in the long run.
Note infidelity has no impact on the division of marital property, nor does it factor overmuch into issues of custody and visitation, so you won’t gain any advantages there. If you are likely to be the recipient of spousal support rather than the payer, or if you and your attorney have no reason to believe either party will be asked to provide said support, then there is literally no advantage to pursuing that avenue.
Note you may also need to use the infidelity to pursue a fault-based divorce if you can’t get your spouse to agree to a no-fault divorce.
Disadvantages of an Infidelity Fault-Based Divorce
The first disadvantage is this: you’re going to have to prove the infidelity. If you don’t have much evidence of the affair you might spend a lot of extra time and money for nothing. Fault-based divorces take longer and are more contentious. There are certainly many places where evidence can be found and used, from e-mails to the contents of various social media accounts. But the proof will have to be solid and convincing.
The second disadvantage is this: you’ll draw out the entire process and make it far more contentious. A no-fault divorce proceeds quite a bit more quickly and smoothly. While there certainly may be issues which drive either spouse to anger these issues are often resolved either between the attorneys or by the judge. Bringing infidelity into the mix tends to exacerbate those negative emotions. Accusations are flying, people are getting defensive, and options for developing a marital settlement agreement tend to melt away.
Consult with an Attorney Before You Decide
You shouldn’t make this decision without guidance from your attorney. Every case is different. Your attorney will need to evaluate the strength of your evidence, as well as what you may have to gain or lose by making infidelity an issue in the case.
If you live in Philadelphia, Sadek and Cooper is happy to offer a free consultation on your divorce case. Call 215-814-0395 today.