Will the family courts dole out justice to cheating spouses?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2023 | Divorce

Marriage vows are a promise to be faithful to a spouse and responsible toward them even when they are sick or face other major challenges. Typically, people expect lasting romantic and sexual faithfulness when committing to marriage.

Unfortunately, not every person who gets married is capable of or interested in fulfilling the promises that they made at their wedding. A significant percentage of Washington marriages end in divorce when one spouse learns that the other cheated. Someone who is reeling from the shocking revelation of their spouse’s infidelity will often wonder what comes next. For many people, divorce is the natural response to an extramarital affair. They may also want justice from the spouse who didn’t remain faithful. Can they expect the courts to hand down justice for a violation of their marital vows?

Fault is not a factor in most Washington divorces

Washington is a no-fault state for divorce proceedings, which means a judge doesn’t consider wrongdoing when making choices about property division, custody and support matters. Even when there is clear documentation of infidelity, that misconduct will not automatically alter what a judge decides to do with marital property. Often, judges will give very little consideration to even well-substantiated accusations of marital infidelity.

The one exception involves spending marital resources on their affair. Using a shared credit card or money from a paycheck to pay for hotel rooms, fancy meals and other expenses associated with an extramarital affair is a form of financial misconduct that can affect divorce proceedings.

Provided that there is financial documentation of how much the cheating spouse spent on their affair partner, the other spouse could ask a judge to consider that misuse of marital resources when dividing their property. For many people preparing for divorce after uncovering of spices affair, the courts will not impose any kind of penalty on the cheating spouse or take any steps to compensate the person who discovered the adultery.

Those who understand how the courts handle divorce proceedings that have been impacted by an affair can focus their time and energy on building a better future for themselves rather than trying to punish their spouse. Learning more about how Washington handles different divorce scenarios with the assistance of an experienced legal professional may help those who are contemplating impending end of their marriage.

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