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Will you need to prove your spouse cheated during your divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2022 | Divorce

If you discover that your spouse has had an extramarital affair, that could very well be the reason you file for divorce. Infidelity violates the foundation of trust that is so important in any marriage, and it can endanger the other spouse both financially and physically.

You may have learned about the affair because of social media activity, a hidden cell phone or the proverbial lipstick on your partner’s collar. Despite your certainty that they cheated, you may not currently have any conclusive evidence of their infidelity.

If you intend to divorce your spouse because they cheated on you, will you need to prove their infidelity in the California family courts as part of the divorce process?

You don’t have to prove fault to get a divorce

California only has two grounds for divorce, and neither is truly fault-based. One is incurable insanity, and the other is an irreparable breakdown of the marital union. Asserting a breakdown of your marriage leads to a no-fault divorce, meaning you won’t have to prove anything for the courts to grant you a divorce.

That means you don’t have to worry about your ex trying to avoid the divorce by lying and claiming that they didn’t cheat on you. You can move forward with the divorce on a no-fault basis and just be happy to have left someone who didn’t respect you.

There are times you may want to prove infidelity

Maybe you signed a prenuptial agreement with your spouse that imposes a financial penalty for infidelity. To trigger those penalty clauses, you will typically need to prove the adultery occurred in the family courts unless your spouse admits to their misconduct or settles with you outside of court.

If you have reason to believe that your spouse wasted or dissipated thousands of dollars of marital property during their affair, identifying inappropriate spending of marital income and misuse of marital assets could lead to financial consequences when the courts divide your marital property.

Unless one of those unique scenarios applies to your family, moving forward with a no-fault divorce and not addressing the adultery in court may be the most cost-effective and private solution when considering a divorce.