If you discovered that your spouse committed adultery, it can be emotionally devastating. It could also have an impact on your divorce in Virginia. However, the financial implications may not be as major as you might think.
Adulty Is Grounds for Divorce in Virginia
It is considered adultery for a married person to have sexual intercourse with someone that is not their spouse. Adultery is grounds for an at-fault divorce in Virginia. In addition, there is no waiting period for filing the divorce when it is based on your spouse cheating on you.
How Adultery Impacts on Issues in a Divorce
Under Virginia’s divorce laws, the fact that your spouse cheated on you may not have much of an effect on the issues that must be decided in your divorce as you would wish. Your spouse will not be punished or be forced to give up many of their rights in the divorce. Here is how it could impact on the judge’s decisions.
The court must consider adultery in deciding how to split up marital property and debts. However, you will most likely not receive more assets than you would have been awarded if there was no cheating unless your spouse used marital assets in pursuing their secret relationship.
Child Custody, Support, and Visitation
Similarly, a spouse’s infidelity will have little impact on a judge’s decisions on who should have custody of your children and parenting time. The court must be guided by the best interests of the child in deciding custody and visitation issues, and adultery is not one of the factors that is to be considered. However, the court may not allow a new partner to be present during parenting time until the divorce is finalized.
Your child support also would not be impacted by your spouse’s cheating. A non-custodial parent’s child support payments are calculated using child support guidelines.
The one issue in a divorce that can be significantly affected by adultery is spousal support. In most cases, the cheating spouse is prohibited from receiving alimony. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and the judge can consider these factors in awarding spousal support:
- Financial situation of each spouse
- Degree of fault of each party in the marriage
Do you suspect that your spouse is committing adultery? Are you considering filing for divorce for other reasons? Our experienced family law attorneys are here to help. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.