Incidents like the Ashley Madison hacking scandal point out the indisputable fact that adultery occurs much more often than most people would like to believe. It was revealed that in a period of 7 years, there were about 32 million users, including religious and conservative celebrities such as Josh Duggar from “19 Kids and Counting”. Then again, it wasn't that surprising to the general public that some level of cheating occurs in many marriages, whether it be actual sex or online flirting. In fact, many spouses who have been cheated on do not rush to file for divorce, especially if they have children in common. Furthermore, adultery is unlikely to impact one's right to things like alimony, custody and distribution of marital assets. In fact, it could be argued that fling for adultery is more hassle than it's worth, considering that you're signing on for an expensive, adversarial court battle. For most spouses, it makes sense to file under “irreconcilable differences” and try to move on as quickly as possible.
So why would anyone in this day and age bother with an adultery filing? Well, that depends on what you have to lose, and what you may have already lost. Excessive spending to support a mistress, for example, could result in a major depletion of the marital funds. Major spending on credit cards could also damage the other party's credit rating for many years into the future. Another issue is where and when the cheating occurred, which was an important issue for many of the outed Ashley Madison users. Many of these users accessed the site primarily at work on their employer's computers. Whether these were government or private employers, most companies frown upon personal internet usage. This could be a very big deal depending on one's position and job duties, perhaps even resulting in job loss. In that case, it may be critical for the dependent spouse to show that the other party was responsible for his or her loss of income. This can help the dependent spouse receive a fair share of support, since the laws generally prohibit diminished support obligations if the loss of income resulted from one's voluntary conduct.
On the other hand, a support amount has to be based on what's available, so an adultery fling may not help based on what's already lost. Still, what's been lost may be compensated through other marital assets, or larger portions of shared assets. As you can see, there are numerous issues that one needs to consider before deciding to file for adultery, or any fault based ground for divorce. While the vast majority of divorcing spouses opt for no-fault filings, this is not a decision to be made lightly. Talking to an experienced divorce attorney prior to filing the divorce complaint can help you decide which filing is best for you. For more information on your divorce rights and legal options, please speak to the attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C.
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