Man Using Cellphone While His Wife Sleeping On Bed

Will Cheating Affect My Divorce? 

E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law Sept. 15, 2022

Cheating can cause serious emotional issues, breaking the trust between two partners. When cheating takes place within the bonds of marriage, the consequences can be serious. Punishment for adultery was severe in the past, but the law and society’s views on infidelity have changed over the years.  

However, cheating can still affect the outcome of divorce proceedings in Virginia. It can influence the court’s perspective on key issues like the division of assets and alimony. If cheating is one of the factors leading to your divorce, it’s important to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side.  

For over twenty years, E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law has helped many individuals address their legal issues. He has extensive experience in Virginia family law and will apply his knowledge to your case. Gordon serves clients in Lynchburg and Blackstone, Virginia, and throughout Amherst, Bedford, Campbell, Charlotte, Nottoway, and Prince Edward counties. 

Divorce in Virginia 

You may be wondering: “Is adultery grounds for divorce?” In Virginia, you do not need to cite any specific ground for divorce. However, you still can cite adultery as the legal grounds for your divorce. 

It’s possible to file for divorce on a no-fault or fault base in Virginia. In a no-fault divorce filing, neither spouse claims that the other was at fault for the failure of the marriage. This is typically the case in a divorce where the couple cites “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for their divorce. 

Choosing to file for a fault-based divorce means that one spouse can claim that the other spouse’s actions were the cause of the divorce. The spouse who chooses to file for fault-based divorce can cite the other spouse’s adultery as the reason the marriage failed. 

Ways That Adultery Might Factor In 

Answering the question of exactly “How does cheating affect my divorce?” involves looking at several different factors. It can affect spousal support, child custody or child support, and the division of assets. 

Spousal Support (Alimony) 

Because Virginia allows individuals to file for a fault-based divorce, adultery can affect how much alimony a spouse has to pay. If the person who cheated is required to pay alimony, the amount of alimony might increase if their infidelity caused the divorce. 

Child Custody & Child Support 

Similarly, the court may not look favorably on the person who cheated when determining the child custody arrangement. That could also lead to higher child support payments from the person who is at fault for the divorce.  

Division of Assets 

Asset division is a difficult matter under any circumstances. When cheating is involved, it becomes even more complicated. The person who cheated may find that the court considers them at fault for the end of the marriage, and therefore may award fewer assets to that at-fault party.  

Living With Someone Else While Divorce Is Pending 

Living with someone else, or cohabitating, while your divorce is pending could impact how the court views your financial situation and your case.  

The court may award you alimony (whether it’s temporary or permanent) to help to provide financial support. As soon as you begin cohabitating with someone, that alimony may end. 

Because cohabitation changes so much about your financial situation, it can also affect the division of assets. Property that you may have once been entitled to receive might go to the other spouse if you choose to cohabitate while your divorce is pending. Speak with an experienced divorce attorney in Virginia to learn more about how cohabitation can affect divorce.  

Seek Trusted Legal Guidance 

In Virginia, if one spouse cheats, their actions could have a significant effect on the divorce proceedings. No matter what your situation is, it’s important that you are informed of your rights and armed with a legal strategy that represents your best interests.  

Gordon is here to help you understand your options. His more than twenty years of legal experience will guide you through each step of your case. E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law, proudly represents clients in Lynchburg and Blackstone, Virginia, and throughout Amherst, Bedford, Campbell, Charlotte, Nottoway, and Prince Edward counties. Contact the firm today to schedule your consultation.