When an individual has been cheated on by a spouse, they may feel disrespected, betrayed, and tormented by this hurtful experience. As a result, they may seek retaliation through extensive legal recourse during the divorce process. But does adultery play a role in New York divorce cases?
The Impact on Divorce
Up until 2010, separating couples in New York had the option of pursuing fault-based divorces only, in which the couple must show that their marriage is ending because of one spouse’s fault— resulting from infidelity, abandonment, cruelty, or neglect.
That changed in 2010 when New York became the last state to allow no-fault divorces, meaning that a couple can simply state in the divorce papers that the marriage is “irrevocably broken” and both spouses have had irreconcilable differences for at least six months. However, when one spouse appears to be the obvious at-fault party for the ending of the marriage, a fault-based marriage may still be the best option.
In the case of spousal support or maintenance (once called alimony), marital fault is not automatically factored into divorce proceedings and calculations for spousal support. So that, when one spouse cheats, the other spouse is not automatically entitled to a spousal support award or a higher amount of spousal support.
However, there are situations that can influence a judge’s decision-making when it comes to spousal support and property division. One of the most common of these situations is known as “financial infidelity.” This is when a cheating spouse spends a significant amount of money on their affair partner (even if there was no physical affair). Some of the most common signs of financial infidelity include:
- Your spouse refuses to talk about credit cards, debt, or personal finances
- You notice large cash withdrawals go unaccounted for.
- Your spouse is buying new clothing that you don't see them wearing.
- You find a paper trail around holidays like Christmas or Valentine's Day.
- You find yourself unable to pay certain bills with no changes in income.
- Your spouse rushes home to get the mail first or hide packages.
Helping You Obtain What Is Fair
If you are considering divorce after infidelity within your marriage, our Long Island family law firm is here for you. With these potential financial implications, it is crucial to have an attorney on your side to help evaluate information regarding your total assets and property, and determine whether financial infidelity played a role in the course of your marriage.
At Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and your financial security during your divorce process and for your future.
Contact our firm at (516) 406-8500 or fill out our online contact form to speak with our dedicated family law team for free.