Your spouse was unfaithful to you for over two years, although you only learned about it a few months ago. You’re hurt, angry, and wondering whether her actions will have any impact on the outcome of the divorce. Will she lose her bid for custody of the kids? Receive less of the marital estate? Has any request for spousal support be denied?
In most cases, the answer is no.
When parents cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, a New York court will make that decision based on what it believes to be in the best interests of the child. If your spouse’s adultery had no impact on their relationship with the kids, then it probably wouldn’t be considered during custody proceedings.
On the other hand, if any of the following situations apply, then the court may question your spouse’s ability to parent:
- They brought the children with them on assignations and either left them in the car or carried on the affair in their presence.
- Their new partner has been convicted of a felony or sexual offense
At the very least, they may order that the partner not be present when your spouse visits the children.
New York is a no-fault state for divorce, so the fact that your spouse committed adultery is, in and of itself, insufficient grounds for denying them their rightful share of the marital estate. The court will distribute property based on the length of the marriage and what property was accumulated during that time.
However, if your spouse used marital funds to buy expensive gifts for their new partner or maxed out joint credit cards to spite you after you discovered the affair, then you could be awarded more property to compensate. Similarly, if your spouse diverts an investment plan and deposits the money in their partner’s account, then the court could attach that account and reclaim the money.
If you’ve been cheated on, then you will probably be frustrated to know that spousal maintenance awards are generally not impacted by adultery. On the surface, this seems highly unfair. They cheated on you, but you still have to support them financially.
The ability to receive spousal maintenance is not based on a reward system for good behavior. Its statutory purpose is to prevent a financially-dependent spouse from becoming a public charge. The support amounts are calculated to cover their needs while they get the skills or education they need to become financially self-sufficient.
Contact a New York divorce attorney
If you have questions about how spousal misconduct will affect the outcome of your divorce, then make sure you raise them with your New York divorce attorney. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx lawyer with over 35 years of experience. He handles divorce and family court matters on a regular basis. He will explain how the law applies in your case and protect your interests as you seek a fair outcome. Call 718-329-9500 to set up a free in-person initial consultation or visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com to learn more.