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The Emotional Effect Of An Affair During Marriage



Although people seek divorces for a variety of reasons, infidelity is one of the most common reasons. Affairs take an emotional toll on a marriage and may have legal consequences during a divorce. Infidelity sometimes results when the cheating spouse believes that the faithful spouse is the reason that the marriage is unhappy. The cheating spouse may feel guilty about the affair or may feel entitled to pursue his or her own happiness. The discovery of an affair often leaves the faithful spouse feeling angry, rejected, and suspicious. An affair is usually a sign of crisis in a marriage and can make divorce proceedings more emotionally painful.

The Legal Effect Of An Affair On Divorce Proceedings

Divorce laws vary by state, and although adultery may affect alimony awards or other parts of the divorce proceedings, affairs have less legal significance than they did in earlier times. Before the introduction of no-fault divorce, common law mandated that husbands supported wives. If a husband had an affair, the wife could seek a divorce, citing adultery as the grounds. If the affair were proven, the divorce would be granted, and the husband would have to continue to support his former wife. On the other hand, if a woman had an affair and the husband sought a divorce based on adultery, the husband would not have a continuing duty to support his ex-wife. Most courts now decide alimony and other matters strictly on finances. Although adultery is still a crime in some jurisdictions and is still grounds for divorce, no-fault principles usually apply to alimony and division of property. Most spouses divorcing today can expect that financial settlements will be equitable.

Prenuptial Agreements And Affairs

Many couples try to simplify divorce and safeguard against affairs by engaging in prenuptial agreements that provide for specified monetary awards and division of property in the case of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements often provide for greatly reduced monetary or property awards where infidelity is proven. Different states have different requirements for prenuptial agreements. Contact a divorce attorney in the jurisdiction where you are divorcing to determine how the laws will apply to your case and whether infidelity is a relevant issue.

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