The relationship of Adultery and Divorce in Arizona
Adultery (an extramarital affair) can destroy a marriage in a minute. When it comes to the legal separation between two people in Arizona, however, does an affair play a role? Whether you have cheated or you are divorcing from a cheating spouse, knowing the legal implications is going to be incredibly important.
Adultery and the Legal Implications on Divorce
Arizona is a no-fault state. This means that two individuals can get divorced without having to prove who is to blame for the dissolution of a marriage. In this context, an extramarital affair does not really have a serious impact on the legal proceedings.
For divorce proceedings to be initiated, one of the spouses will have to make a formal request in court on the basis of irreconcilable differences. In such an instance, the court will simply grant the divorce. The only exception is a covenant marriage – a special option in Arizona that involves premarital counseling and that allows a fault-based divorce.
How Adultery Affects Other Aspects of a Divorce
So, unless you are in a covenant marriage, an extramarital affair is not going to impact the manner in which a court grants a divorce. There are several other aspects of the separation, however, that could be affected by an affair.
Adultery itself is not taken in consideration when alimony calculations are being made. It could, however, have an indirect impact.
If a spouse is unfaithful and they have been living with somebody else for a certain period of time, that spouse could lose their right to receive alimony. The reason is simple – they do have a source of financial support in the face of the second partner.
Whenever a spouse spends a lot of money on an extramarital affair (expensive gifts, accommodation), this fact could be taken in consideration when alimony considerations are being made.
Child custody is another crucial aspect of the divorce. When deciding about awarding custody, Arizona courts use the child’s best interest as the primary determining factor. The ability of the two parents to provide good emotional, physical and educational care will be examined thoroughly.
Usually, infidelity does not play a role in child custody determination. One exception does exist. If a parent puts kids in harm’s way because of the infidelity, they could experience negative consequences as far as child custody goes. Inappropriate behavior or being in an extramarital relationship with a violent person are two examples of children being jeopardized by the affair of their parent.
What to Do if You’ve Been Involved in an Extramarital Affair
If you have been cheating on your spouse, you may feel concerned about the way in which an affair is going to affect divorce proceedings. Unless the divorce is amicable and you can agree on all points, chances are that the divorce will be used against you.
Your ex’s attorney will use all arguments to build a solid case against you, if this is the desire of your former spouse.
The first thing to do is to find a good family law attorney. Whether through negotiations or litigation, your lawyer will work hard to grant the best possible outcome. As already mentioned, an extramarital affair cannot be used against you in serious ways unless a few special conditions are being met.
Keep in mind that there have been considerations about the inclusion of extramarital affairs in the definition of a marital misconduct. While such a regulation has not passed yet, it could have serious implications. An extramarital affair being considered a type of marital misconduct could affect asset division, spousal support and custody much more profoundly in the future.