Definition of Adultery
Adultery is committing a sexual act with another person other than one's spouse. Historically, individuals had to have grounds to file for divorce, and one of the most common grounds was adultery. Now all states have also passed no-fault divorce statutes, and a spouse may file for divorce by alleging reasons such as "irreconcilable differences." The courts are generally less interested in whether a spouse has committed adultery and may not even allow the evidence to be submitted to the court.
In some states, however, if your spouse has committed adultery, under some conditions, it could have a significant impact on the divorce. For instance, if your spouse used marital assets to support their adulterous affair, the court may consider this when they distribute the assets. For example, if your husband took his mistress on an expensive vacation and bought her a $20,000 diamond necklace, the courts may decide to give you more of the marital property when you divorce. The courts may also consider the adultery when they are deciding who will have custody of the children and whether your child's best interest will be served living with your spouse and their boyfriend or girlfriend. Because adultery and divorce can be such a contentious issue, it is best to talk to a lawyer if you have questions about how it could affect your divorce.
« Back to Glossary