So you cheated on your spouse and you’re getting a divorce? You might be surprised to learn that this does not affect how you work with your family law attorney. Continue reading below to understand how Pennsylvania law protects both parties in a divorce.
It’s a familiar scenario. A potential client sheepishly discloses that they were unfaithful to their spouse. Or, alternatively, they have just discovered that their spouse has been having an affair. These circumstances are certainly emotional, however in the realm of divorce and custody, they are not often relevant, and here are five reasons why:
- PA is a no-fault state. There are two types of no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania. A mutual consent divorce is available when both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken and consent to the divorce. A divorce based on irretrievable breakdown is available when you and your spouse have lived apart for a period of at least one year, and you file a complaint stating that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
- Adultery is not a factor when determining how to divide your marital property, otherwise known as equitable distribution. Pennsylvania courts consider several factors when determining how to divide the marital estate, however the law specifically states that the division must be “without regard to marital misconduct.”
- Marital misconduct is only one of seventeen factors when determining alimony and is thus not normally dispositive of whether alimony is warranted. Further, the law states that marital misconduct of either of the parties after the date of final separation should not be considered when determining if alimony is necessary.
- Parties rarely want to go to trial over the issue of infidelity. Should marital misconduct become an issue that requires litigation, most parties rarely want to air their dirty laundry before a judge, so the issue often becomes moot.
- Cheating does not mean you are a bad parent. The court considers sixteen factors when determining custody, the overarching theme of which is the best interests of the children. Unless a parent can prove that your misdeeds negatively affected your children, it is likely irrelevant.
If you have questions about divorce, you should speak with an experience West Chester attorney. At Potts, Shoemaker & Grossman, LLC, our attorneys are prepared to assist you in finding the best approach for your unique situation. To schedule a confidential consultation, contact us at (610) 840-2626.