How Does Adultery Affect a Divorce in Pennsylvania?
Most marriages don’t survive after adultery, with more than 66% of unions resulting in divorce. If adultery has taken place in your marriage, there are several important things to know about how it’s going to impact your divorce.
Divorce With Adultery Affects Alimony
The spouse who has committed adultery usually isn’t eligible for alimony in Pennsylvania. Many people think of alimony as given to the woman, but it’s actually given to the earner with the lower income.
However, in Pennsylvania, alimony isn’t automatically given to the person of lower income. The court considers a wide range of factors before deciding whether or not a person must pay alimony to their former spouse. These factors include:
- Misconduct during the marriage
- Length of the marriage
- Financial needs
- Assets and liabilities
- All sources of income
- Earning potential
- Potential inheritance
The court examines these factors of both spouses, not just one side.
Alimony in Pennsylvania doesn’t last forever. When the person receiving alimony improves his or her financial situation, the court may end payments. Sometimes, the court will rule that alimony must be paid for a certain period of time. In Pennsylvania, alimony isn’t necessarily paid monthly. Instead, the court may put you on an annual payment basis.
Pennsylvania courts have the right to modify or end alimony based on the changing financial circumstances of both parties.
If you’ve committed adultery and your spouse hasn’t, you’ll be more likely to have to pay alimony because adultery falls under misconduct.
How Adultery Affects Child Custody and Visitation
If a spouse’s infidelity has negatively impacted the children, then this can affect child custody and visitation rights. Without proof that a spouse’s adultery has negatively impacted the children, the adultery usually doesn’t influence a court’s decision on child custody and visitation.
Our Jenkintown family lawyer can help you protect your rights if you’re struggling to come to an agreement with your spouse on child custody and visitation. The Law Office of Joanne Kleiner has experience handling numerous aspects of divorce in Pennsylvania.
Adultery Is Sometimes Not Considered Cause for Divorce
If you forgave your spouse after their adultery, then Pennsylvania law likely won’t recognize it as the cause behind your divorce. You must prove adultery caused the divorce.
Another situation in which the state won’t acknowledge adultery as the cause for divorce is when both spouses cheated. However, alimony can still be given to the spouse with a lower income if both of you committed adultery.
Your spouse having an affair with another isn’t adultery if you consented to it or you received a benefit from it. An example of receiving a benefit from your spouse’s affair with another is knowingly spending money that was obtained from prostitution.
Be aware that your spouse may claim to have been insane when they committed adultery in order to still be eligible for alimony. If it turns out the spouse who committed adultery was actually insane at the time they cheated, then the court may allow them to receive alimony from the divorce as long as they can prove a financial need.
You Can’t Sue Someone for Adultery in Pennsylvania
People who commit adultery in Pennsylvania can no longer be prosecuted for it. However, a spouse can still be considered at fault for a divorce because of their infidelity. The court may give the adulterer a smaller portion of the property as a result of their infidelity.
How Do You Prove Adultery in a Divorce?
You must provide proof of adultery if you claim your spouse isn’t eligible for alimony because of adultery. Hold onto anything you can use as evidence your spouse cheated. Items you can use as evidence include hotel receipts, photos, videos, phone records, text messages, and emails. The proof you collect doesn’t need to be of sexual intercourse. Our Jenkintown family lawyer can further advise you on how to prove adultery in divorce in Pennsylvania.
Whether you’re the one who committed adultery, your spouse committed adultery, or both of you cheated, you should consult with a divorce lawyer to ensure your rights are protected. There are aspects of Pennsylvania divorce law that you may be unaware of, and you don’t want to be taken by surprise. Contact the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner at (215) 886-1266 today for advice on divorce, assistance with mediation, or representation in court in Jenkintown.