At Lyons & Associates, P.C., we specialize in all aspects of matrimonial and family law. Many of our divorce clients ask us if it matters that their spouse has cheated during the marriage.
Across the United States, there are approximately 120 million married people. It is estimated that about 40% of all married people admit to having some type of affair during their marriage (whether physical or emotional). See http://www.infidelityfacts.com/infidelity-statistics.html.
That means that, as you are reading this article, there are approximately 48 million “cheaters” in our country.
But how might cheating affect your divorce? The answer under New Jersey law is that cheating is not likely to have any impact whatsoever on custody, parenting time, alimony, child support, or the division of your assets. The main case in New Jersey that codifies what holding means is Mani v. Mani, 183 N.J. 70 (2005). However, there are two exceptions when cheating that could come into play.
On the custody side, if your spouse is engaged in a relationship with someone who poses a real and present danger to your children, then the courts could consider that. For example, if your spouse’s new paramour has a history of drug problems, criminal history, or child abuse, a judge could place limitations on how much that new paramour should be around your children.
Financially, a non-cheating spouse may have recourse if it can be shown that the cheating spouse’s behavior has somehow diminished the worth of the marital estate. If a spouse, for example, takes out a second mortgage on the home or liquidates retirement assets or runs up credit cards to spend that money on a new paramour, then a court could decide to divide the assets in such a way to try to make the non-cheating spouse more financially whole.
Contact Lyons & Associates
There may be other costs of infidelity – like guilt, embarrassment, anger, or uncertainty about its impact on your daily life. All of those are legitimate concerns, and frankly no lawyer can truly help an individual when he or she is grappling with issues involving our most human sexual intimacies. However, if you know someone who is cheating or being cheated on, or if you yourself have questions about how cheating may or may not impact your divorce, call one of the experienced attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C. at 908-575-9777, or fill out our online intake form.
Written By: Theresa A. Lyons, Esq.