Divorce is hard enough when you’re parting on good terms, but when it involves infidelity, things can get much more heated and emotional. Although adultery isn’t illegal under PA law, it’s a factor that the court may consider in a divorce proceeding. Our divorce attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad are well-versed in the nuances of adultery and PA law. Understanding how infidelity may affect your divorce is critical to ensuring your rights and interests are protected.
Grounds for Divorce In PA
Although you can file for no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania, adultery is still a ground for a fault divorce. In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse is required to prove that the other spouse did something wrong. In Pennsylvania, one or both parties must simply show that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Grounds for fault divorce include adultery, cruelty, desertion, and conviction of a crime or incarceration. Although fault grounds aren’t required to divorce in Pennsylvania, citing adultery as a ground for divorce can affect the terms of your final divorce decree.
Division of Property and Adultery Law In PA
Typically, the court doesn’t consider marital misconduct when determining the distribution of marital property, including adultery. However, if a spouse’s misdeeds caused financial harm to the marriage or their partner, it may be taken into consideration. Factors, such as the duration of the marriage, the age, health, and income of both spouses, prior marriages, and other factors, hold much more weight when it comes to equitable distribution in a divorce. A good divorce attorney fights for your rights and acts as your staunch advocate to reach a fair property settlement agreement.
Adultery and Child Custody
Although adultery doesn’t affect child support payments or bar a parent from gaining custody of their children, it can affect child custody arrangements. When determining custody, the court considers the best interests of the child a top priority. This means that a judge reviews each parent’s character, living arrangements, parenting abilities and participation, and provision for the child’s emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual well-being.
If adultery has already impacted or might affect the safety, health, or well-being of a minor child, the court may consider infidelity when granting custody. If you’re entrenched in a custody battle with your spouse, having an experienced divorce attorney by your side can give you the best chance of reaching a fair custody agreement while keeping your children’s best interests in mind.
Adultery, Spousal Support, And Alimony
It’s a common misconception that a spouse who has been unfaithful isn’t entitled to any spousal support or alimony. Although a judge may take adultery into consideration when determining spousal support and alimony payments, other factors often play a bigger role in the court’s decisions, including each spouse’s income and earning capacity, age and health, the length of the marriage, child custody arrangements, and other conditions that influence each spouse’s financial situation.
Other Ways Adultery May Affect Your Divorce
For adultery to be considered a fault ground for a divorce, infidelity must be proven. Evidence may include texts, emails, photos, phone records, and receipts for items, such as gifts and travel. In some cases, adultery may be proven by testimony from witnesses or the person with whom the adultery was committed. It’s also important to keep in mind that if both partners were unfaithful, or if the partner who didn’t commit adultery forgave the infidelity and reconciled with the adulterous spouse in the past, adultery won’t be considered a basis for divorce.
The multifaceted aspects of adultery and how it can affect divorce law in PA can be confusing. Regardless of whether you’re seeking a no-fault or fault divorce, it’s always a good idea to consult an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your rights and provide solid legal counsel at a difficult time.
Contact A Pennsylvania Divorce Lawyer
If you need assistance with matters surrounding divorce, child custody, or support, our team at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices can help. To learn more about how adultery law in PA may affect the outcome of your divorce, contact us online today.