Does Infidelity Cost You in a Divorce?

It seems that every other week there is a new story of scandal and infidelity coming from the major new sources whether it is the highly publicized General Petraeus scandal or any other celebrity it seems that cheating spouses often lead to divorce proceedings, but how does infidelity affect the fiscal outcome of these divorces?

The truth is many divorce courts could care less if adultery occurred during the marriage.  The high price tag associated with an extra-marital affair usually comes from negotiated settlements. This is because several states have no-fault divorce laws which allow people to file for divorce without having to state a specific reason for the disintegration of a marriage.

However, 95% of divorces are settled outside of the court system and this is where infidelity can cost the perpetrator. There are three different ways in which an adulterer can end up paying out of pocket for their indiscretions. The first is if the two parties signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. In both cases a contract is signed by both spouses in which conditions are outlined of what the financial award will be to the other spouse in the case that they do commit adultery. It is usually a monthly payment.

Another scenario is if the cheater has spent a lot of money on their affair. For example, if a husband rents out an apartment to conduct his affair for $5,000 a month for two years. His spouse can request to be compensated for all the money that was spent on another woman. The key to this approach is financial proof that the money was spent on the subject of the affair.

Finally, if there is any evidence of extremely poor conduct or abuse on the part of the offender the spouse can be awarded compensation. For example if husband flaunts his extramarital affair in the face of his spouse or if he neglects his responsibilities as a father to pursue a mistress.

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