If you’ve been unfortunate enough to discover your spouse has been cheating on you, you’re not alone. A 2014 APA (American Psychological Association) study found that cheating is responsible for between 20% and 40% of divorces. However, before deciding on a divorce, clearly understand all the possible consequences.
The last thing you need is to discover even more unpleasant surprises.
A summary of possible financial costs of infidelity.
Alimony and share of assets
The financial impact of infidelity ranges from ‘nothing extraordinary’ to ‘quite severe.’ You may be surprised to learn that the difference isn’t the fact of the adultery–by and large, that is irrelevant. Nowadays, the deciding factors are how much money the cheating spouse spent on their extramarital affair and where they got the money.
Here, some costs can be quantified. For example, they may have rented the other party an apartment, bought them a car, or showered them with expensive gifts. This is a type of affair where the court can objectively quantify the cost of the other relationship.
Let’s say your cheating spouse spent X dollars a year on the third party, and this might have been going on Y number of years. The court will work out that the financial cost to the marriage was, therefore, X times Y dollars. If that money came from a joint account or joint investments, then you would be entitled to compensation in the form of increased alimony or a larger share of assets.
Again, with child support, people are usually taken aback to find that infidelity does not confer any rights to increased child support. So naturally, your spouse will still have to support all the children you’ve had together financially.
If your spouse has given you an STD, you might wonder if you can sue? The answer is, you can. You should be able to receive financial compensation on the grounds of “marital tort” (meaning misconduct by a spouse). However–and it is a big “however”–you will need to prove that you got your STD from your spouse. Providing such proof could include providing medical evidence such as a doctor’s testimony.
Examination of other costs (social, mental health, family relationships, etc.)
Of course, there are other costs involved in infidelity apart from financial ones. For instance, one is the effect on family relationships, often-forgotten familial relationships such as in-laws. Sometimes, quite special bonds have been formed with certain in-laws.
Friendship groups also frequently become embroiled and disrupted if the infidelity becomes common knowledge and friends take sides. But, of course, all this is trivial when considering the possible effects of marital breakdown on children.
Custody of the children
As with child support, your spouse’s infidelity will not grant you extra custody of the children. The only way to get extra custody would be to show that the affair somehow led to your spouse engaging in unsafe behavior around the child.
When staying together is more beneficial than separation and divorce.
Given all the costs of infidelity outlined above, faithfulness is undoubtedly the best strategy. However, when that has failed, are separation and divorce inevitable?
These are the signs of an irretrievable marriage:
won’t see a marriage counselor
is still with the other party
still tells lies constantly
only staying in the marriage for your children
unable to forgive and forget the betrayal
no longer includes physical intimacy
is unhappy, unsettled, and fractious
If none of these conditions exist, there is a fairly good chance of saving the marriage. There is practical help online to deal with the vexed issue of exactly when you should walk away after infidelity. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find a solution that works for you and your family.