Some states are “no fault” which means that the spouse that files for divorce does not have to provide evidence of infidelity for their soon-to-be ex. Neither of you will have to come to court to testify about why your marriage is failing and you will simply have to give a reason for filing and the state will honor it. Even in “no fault” states the judge may take a reason of infidelity into account when determining an amount of alimony and to whom it will be paid. Sometimes, infidelity will rule out alimony, even for a spouse who earns no money prior to the divorce. However, you should be able to still divorce in a “no fault” state without having to prove the act of infidelity.
“No Fault” policies represent the modern ideas about relationships and the shifting views on divorce. Fault based states will allow people to discuss the fault for the marriage’s failure with the judge and divorce documents will state the reasons for divorce and state the name of the spouse who is liable for the reason. Most states have ruled infidelity as an illegal act and people who commit infidelity can be criminally charged.
The Judge Decides
Regardless of your state’s fault or no fault policy, the judge makes the final decision about how infidelity will impact your divorce and possible alimony payments. It can go three different ways:
1. The judge will state that no evidence supports an award higher than what is necessary to pay for basic expenses, or they can determine that there is no cause for alimony payments.
2. Evidence could determine that alimony payments are deserved and assign a fair amount that reflects the details of the infidelity and the needs of the recipient spouse.
3. The infidelity will have no effect at all and the judge will assign alimony based on the length of the marriage and the needs of the recipient.
There is no certainty of what you will be awarded or expected to pay and you will not necessarily know beforehand which situation to expect from the judge. It is always best to consult a divorce lawyer in your state to get an idea of what might happen.
Remember that Alimony is Not a Set Amount or Arrangement
Infidelity is not usually a factor in alimony decisions because alimony is meant to help the recipient avoid poverty as a result of a divorce. It isn’t supposed to be a punitive measure. However, spouses that exhibit violent behavior as well as infidelity may have their alimony benefits decreased or eliminated because of the zero tolerance policy on abuse.
If you have specific questions about your case and need answers, contact a divorce lawyer to discuss your circumstances. They can let you know if your state is a “no fault” state, how the courts have ruled in similar cases, and the likelihood of you being awarded alimony. Contact divorce lawyers Phoenix AZ if you have any questions or need any guidance.
Thank you Hildebrand Law for providing tips on Divorce Proceedings.