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How infidelity impacts a California divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 25, 2019 | Firm News

Technology has drastically altered the way people live their lives. While there are numerous benefits to gain through social media and having a computer in your pocket, it also makes it easier for spouses to discover infidelity, which often leads to divorce. 

Many spouses think they will have a slam-dunk case when they divorce a cheating spouse. However, in the state of California, the truth is a lot more nuanced than that. Chances are, adultery will not have as much of an impact on your divorce as you think, but it is still vital to understand how it could come into play.

Property division

Infidelity will not impact the distribution of assets in a divorce. A couple needs to go through an equitable division of assets, and one spouse will not inherently receive more because the other spouse cheated. However, the judge will consider whether the cheating spouse spent any money on his or her paramour. If the spouse bought expensive presents or vacations for the third party, then the judge will likely require that spouse to pay back half the money spent to the other spouse. 


A spouse receives alimony based on his or her financial situation living alone. One spouse who makes substantially more money than the other will need to pay monthly to ensure that the other spouse can live independently. Alimony will not function as a punishment for adultery. 

Child custody

Society frowns upon adultery, but it is not illegal. A judge will not punish a spouse by forbidding time with a child for cheating on a spouse. The exception would be if the spouse’s new partner would pose a threat to the child’s well-being. For example, if there is evidence showing the new partner abused the child, then the judge may limit the time the spouse can spend with his or her son or daughter.