How does adultery affect divorce?

Clients often ask how affairs during a marriage will affect the outcome of divorce. From a legal approach, the short answer is that affairs have little to no affect outside of certain specific situations. From a practical approach, an affair can bring with it intense emotions. These feelings can inevitably affect the difficulty and length of settlement negotiations.

Unlike some states, New Jersey is a no-fault divorce jurisdiction. This means that instead of having to prove a marriage is over because of some fault by the other spouse, such as adultery, a spouse can simply state that they believe the marriage is over and cannot be fixed. This no-fault approach saves the parties from spending substantial time and money in proving fault, and makes unnecessary the eventual emotional difficulty and trauma of reliving each spouse’s shortcomings during the marriage.

Beyond the issue of granting a divorce, New Jersey Courts also divide the financial parts of the marriage through a two-part approach. First, Courts divide the marital debts and assets based on a fairness standard, which usually results in an even 50/50 division. Second, Courts determine future financial support based on the needs and abilities of the parties.

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