Comprehensive, Effective

Family Solutions

Can cheating affect spousal support in California?

On Behalf of | Sep 11, 2023 | Spousal Support

In California, getting a divorce is pretty straightforward. You do not have to point fingers or prove someone did something wrong, like cheating. Instead, you can just say you have “irreconcilable differences,” and that may be enough reason for the court.

This means that if one spouse committed adultery, it does not automatically affect spousal support. However, cheating may have other indirect influences that divorced couples may need to consider.

Factors affecting spousal support

In California, spousal support decisions are based on several factors such as:

  • The duration of the marriage.
  • Each spouse’s earning ability.
  • Contributions made by one spouse to the other’s education or career.
  • The couple’s standard during the marriage.
  • The health and age of both spouses.
  • Any history of domestic violence.

While adultery does not play a direct role in determining spousal support in California, it can have indirect effects on various aspects of the divorce process.

Adultery’s indirect influence

Here are a couple of ways in which adultery can indirectly influence divorce settlements.

  • Financial impact: Normally, California, after determining community vs. separate property, splits marital property evenly. However, if one partner used marital funds extravagantly on an affair, it might tilt the balance in favor of the other spouse during property division. This, in turn, could indirectly impact spousal support calculations.
  • Marital standard of living: If the affair led to a significant decline in the couple’s financial situation, the court may consider this when determining the amount and duration of spousal support. It aims to ensure that the supported spouse can maintain a similar standard of living post-divorce.

Ultimately, spousal support decisions are at the discretion of the court. Judges may consider a wide range of factors and circumstances when making their determinations. While adultery may not be the sole focus, the court may bring it up as part of the overall picture of marriage and its dissolution.

In California, adultery itself is not a direct factor in spousal support calculations due to the state’s no-fault divorce system. However, it can indirectly influence spousal support if it affects other aspects of the divorce. It is crucial to consult with legal counsel who can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.