Adultery is one of the most common explanations for why couples divorce in the United States. According to recent surveys, men are more likely than women to cheat during a marriage.
Many people assume adultery will affect the divorce proceedings to some capacity. In the past in New Jersey, couples needed to cite a clear reason why they wanted to divorce. Now, no such reason is necessary. For the most part, adultery will not impact divorce, but there are exceptions.
New Jersey is a no-fault divorce state
Many states in the country have a no-fault law for divorces. This is why most couples file for divorce due to “irreconcilable differences.” This simply means the couple no longer gets along, and they would like to separate. One spouse can bring up in court that the other cheated, but a judge will not seriously consider the infidelity unless it impacted the couple’s economic situation.
Adultery very rarely affects alimony
Adultery on its own is generally not enough to give one spouse more alimony. However, if the unfaithful spouse gave a substantial amount of money to his or her lover, then that could be grounds to award more alimony. In this circumstance, the fact one spouse drained the couple’s joint savings account on a paramour may be enough to make the judge give the other party more money.
There are other circumstances where a judge may consider adultery in alimony. For example, if one spouse cheated on his or her partner with numerous people, causing the other spouse an inordinate amount of emotional distress, then a judge may see it fit to award more alimony. However, this ultimately comes down to the judge’s own personal taste for what constitutes “extremely wrongful” behavior. Generally, the most common action to lead to this occurs when one spouse attempts to murder or otherwise harm the other spouse, but adultery can also come into play.