You’re 35 years old when you find out that your spouse has been having an affair. You can’t believe it. You’ve been married for 10 years and you have two kids together. You’re looking at the text messages showing that the affair happened, but it’s hard to wrap your head around this new reality.
Naturally, with this broken trust, your confusion may turn to anger, frustration and sorrow. There’s a reason that affairs so often lead to divorce. It’s very hard to get past something like this, even if your spouse tells you that they’ll end the relationship and they won’t do it again.
But is the divorce court going to see this the same way that you do? You hear people talk about taking their cheating spouse to court for “everything they own” or doing all they can to make sure their ex never sees the children. Will the divorce court punish your ex for being unfaithful?
Affairs can impact the court case, but punishment is not the goal
In short, no, the divorce court will not attempt to punish your ex. Affairs are not illegal and this is not a criminal court. The judge isn’t trying to reprimand your ex for their behavior, no matter how immoral it seems to you.
Instead, the court will try to help you through the process of ending the marriage. They can make decisions about child custody, for instance, or how you need to divide assets. Odds are you and your spouse won’t be able to work together to find these legal solutions, so the court steps in.
That said, an affair can impact the case in some ways. Maybe your spouse gave his or her other partner a lot of your money and marital assets. That can change how property is divided. Maybe this new partner is someone with a criminal record, who is unsafe for the kids. That may impact the child custody decisions. But don’t assume the court is on your side or interested in punishing your ex.
Working through a hard divorce
Cases like this are often challenging and complicated. It is crucial for you to know about all of the proper legal steps you need to take.