“My spouse is cheating and I know it. I want to take them to the cleaners because of it.” It’s a sentiment that may seem to have practical grounding, but quite often California judges want to hear nothing of it. California is very clearly a “no-fault” state and the utilization of spousal adultery as a means to gain advantage in a divorce is typically fruitless.
There are a several instances where it is applicable if it can be proven, but without legitimate proof it is little can be achieved. These instances include situations where there has been usage of marital assets in order to support an extramarital affair. A claim for reimbursement of funds can be made and there is the potential to file a claim for a breach of fiduciary duty, but this breach can be difficult to define and quantify.
In regards to custody, a private extramarital affair will likely have no impact. However, if the offending spouse has place children in situations deemed inappropriate or exposed them to people related to the affair during marriage, their fitness as a parent may be put into question as a result of infidelity.
Accusation of adultery in itself is not a legitimate means of divorce or dissolution as the only two grounds are irreconcilable differences or incurable insanity. An alleged adulterous relationship will not result in punishment in the form of unequal distribution of property, child custody, child support or spousal support.
Although the impact of adultery upon divorce in the state of California is limited, an experienced divorce attorney is crucial in determining the unique circumstances of one’s situation. California residents should seek the help of a family law attorney in order to best protect their interests.