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Does Adultery Affect the Outcome of a Divorce in New Jersey?

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Marriages end for a number of different reasons. In some cases, relationships simply grow apart over time. In other cases, there is a specific cause for the end of a marriage. A common reason couples decide to get divorced is because of adultery. This is a sensitive subject, and many couples wonder how it will impact the outcome of their divorce. Read on to learn more about how adultery may affect a New Jersey divorce.

Citing Grounds For a New Jersey Divorce 

When a spouse files for divorce from their partner, they must cite “fault” or “no-fault” grounds. No-fault grounds may be cited in the event of a physical separation for 18 or more consecutive months or irreconcilable differences for at least one year. Fault grounds can be cited in the event of one spouse’s misconduct. This includes situations of adultery. 

Do I Have to Cite Fault Grounds if My Spouse Committed Adultery?

When a divorce is taking place due to an adulterous spouse, it is important to know that fault grounds do not necessarily have to be filed. There are many situations in which spouses recognize that their marriage is ending and choose to avoid a legal battle. When this happens, they can cite no-fault grounds. In many cases, spouses choose to participate in alternative divorce methods, such as mediation, arbitration, or a collaborative divorce. This is often done to allow the couple privacy, as citing fault grounds can become a public record and may provide proof of misconduct. But, in cases of adultery, emotions tend to run high and mediation is not always an option. 

Can Adultery Impact Divorce Proceedings?

Divorce proceedings often vary depending on the nature, duration, and details of the marriage. The following are some ways that adultery can impact the outcome of a divorce settlement:

  • Division of Assets: There is no impact of fault vs. no-fault when dealing with the equitable distribution of marital property in a divorce.
  • Alimony and spousal support: A spouse who committed adultery may be awarded less alimony or required to pay a greater amount in alimony. 
  • Child custody: Marital misconduct may not impact this matter unless the misconduct was potentially harmful to the child. 
  • Child support: The most common way for adultery to be a factor is through a trickle-down effect after receiving less parenting time in the child custody agreement.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding adultery and how it may impact your New Jersey divorce, contact our firm today to speak with an experienced and dedicated attorney.

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