Family Law Blog

Will Adultery Affect Spousal Support in California?

Friday, May 18, 2018

There are many preconceived notions about divorce that we often learn from TV and other media. One of those notions is that if you cheat on your spouse, you are going to pay for it in the divorce. However, while this may be true in some states, it is not necessarily true in California.

California, like many states, is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. This means that nobody is to blame for the divorce no matter what their actions were. What they did will not affect the granting of the divorce or how much you get for it.

However, while a judge cannot take adultery or other bad behavior into consideration when it comes to whether or not to award spousal support, they will look at your financial situation. As an example, let us say that a husband and wife are divorcing because of adultery. The husband actually earns much less than his wife, which makes him eligible for earning spousal support. However, the husband was adulterous and before divorce litigation is over, he moves in with his new mistress. This act will cost him heavily, not because of his sleazy behavior, but because his financial circumstances have changed.

Spousal support is meant to very literally "support" your "spouse" after a divorce. If the husband in the above example earned less but was now supported by his mistress, he may now not be able to collect spousal support because he doesn't actually need any support.

This means if you are considering a divorce in California, the judge might not really care if your spouse cheated on you. However, they will care about the state of everyone's finances. In adultery cases, judges will also highly scrutinize a couple's finances to see if they discover one party is already in another relationship. Often, they suspect that finances may have been moved, hidden, or given as expensive gifts to a new paramour. If you are going through a divorce and need help, contact us today.