Divorce can be a difficult process, both emotionally and legally. When it involves an affair, the situation becomes even more complex for everyone involved.
In California, where “no-fault” divorces are the norm, how will proof of infidelity affect your divorce proceedings? The state does not require either party to prove wrongdoing in a divorce. Evidence of an affair, however, can still have an impact.
Overview of California Divorce Laws
California is known to have some of the most complex and challenging divorce laws in the United States.
In a divorce, the state divides the marital property equally between the two parties. This is true for all communal property, regardless of who holds the title.
Child custody is generally based on what is in the best interest of the child.
The state also follows a guideline-based formula for spousal support.
If, however, one spouse proves the other had an affair, the court can make decisions that bypass these standard practices.
What Counts as Evidence of an Affair in a Divorce Case?
There are a few key pieces of evidence that lawyers will look for:
- Actual Proof of Infidelity
- Witness testimony
- Other documentation, such as phone records, text messages, emails, DMs, etc.
- Evidence That the Affair Negatively Impacted Marriage
- Increased expenses related to the affair
- A decrease in love or affection between partners
How an Affair Can Impact a California Divorce
The state considers adultery a form of “marital misconduct.” This means it can be used as the basis for a divorce. Evidence of an affair can greatly affect the divorce settlement.
For example, the spouse who committed adultery may receive a smaller percentage of marital assets. They could also receive less spousal support or be ordered to pay a larger portion than normal.
Infidelity could also affect child custody decisions. Custody is based on the child’s best interests, so the accuser must prove that the infidelity created or posed harm to the child.
Building an Infidelity Case in a Divorce
To create a strong argument, the accuser must:
- Secretly gather all evidence and keep it in a safe place.
- Keep the evidence private. They should not share it with the other spouse or anyone else until their attorney says it’s okay.
- Not tamper with or destroy any evidence. Doing so will harm the case, and it could lead to legal consequences.
- Consider hiring a reputable private investigator to help gather evidence that is admissible in court.
- Always be truthful with their attorney about any evidence they find.
Navigating the Legal System in a Divorce Involving Infidelity
When going through a complicated divorce case, having a reputable divorce attorney is crucial. They can guide you and provide legal counsel throughout the process. Continue researching state laws regarding divorce and infidelity. This helps you become more involved, working alongside your attorney rather than sitting back and watching.
Additionally, consulting with a therapist or counselor can provide emotional support, helping you cope with the stress of the situation. Remember, you don't have to go through this alone, and there are resources available to help you.
Whether you are the spouse who suspects infidelity, or the spouse accused of it, you need help from an experienced law firm. Samra Dhillon & Associates is here to protect your interests in a divorce. We offer free consultations, so reach out to us online today or call our office at (916) 571-1550.