Unfortunately, the rate of infidelity in California as it relates to divorce is quite high. For many spouses, the betrayal and loss of trust due to a cheating partner is a marriage ender. We are often asked: “(They) cheated on me. How does infidelity affect a North County or Carlsbad Divorce and/or child custody arrangements?”
Let’s address the issue of divorce first. In California, we are a “no fault” divorce state meaning every divorce is considered to be due to “irreconcilable differences.” You do not need to have “grounds” for a North County or Carlsbad divorce.
How will infidelity affect child custody and parenting time orders? Child custody is rooted in what California family law describes as the “best interests of the child.” Our Courts have determined that this means an equal amount of quality time with each parent, if not a 50/50 split of physical and legal custody and parenting time. There are factors (outside of cheating) that can affect custody and parenting time including domestic violence, addictions and criminal behavior.
The only potential implication of a cheating spouse on child custody might occur if the child actually witnessed sexual activity and evidence of this can be presented in your case.
Then, in what way does infidelity affect a North County or Carlsbad divorce? Infidelity definitely imposes emotional duress, and our experienced attorneys could ask the Court to include the cost of ongoing counseling as part of the award for spousal support. Next we can consider the division of community property. Again, infidelity in and of itself does not have any initial penalty or bearing on the division of community property. However, if there is documented evidence the cheating spouse used marital funds to pay for dinners, activities, hotels, or expensive gifts then the unfaithful spouse could be ordered to reimburse the community property for half of those expenses. This could represent your half of the money which should still be in your joint account(s) if it had not been “misappropriated” for illicit purposes.
Does infidelity affect a North County or Carlsbad divorce in other ways? Perhaps the most significant implication of infidelity is a Sexually Transmitted Disease or STD. One of the most common ways a spouse learns of infidelity is the transmission of an STD the ex picked up from their affair. In California, the knowing transmission of an STD without advance warning is a civil offense, and you have a right to file a civil (financial) lawsuit against your former spouse.
Any damages awarded in that lawsuit may be deducted from the cheating spouse’s half of community property as part of the divorce settlement.
While infidelity itself will not impact the “grounds” for a North County or Carlsbad divorce, the experienced and seasoned attorneys at Burke & Domercq are often able to use associated circumstances to improve your outcome in the settlement agreement.
We invite you contact us to call 760-434-3330 to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.