Is Divorce Court the Place to Punish Your Ex for an Affair?

It is impossible to know exactly how many people get divorced because of infidelity, as many people are loath to make a permanent record of their spouses’ cheating ways. Embarrassment, concern for children, or just a desire for privacy can prevent people from speaking openly about what led to the end of their marriage.

However, even without fully transparent information about motivations for divorce, there’s little question that infidelity continues to be a common reason for people to end their marriage. If you have had to endure unfaithfulness on the part of your spouse, you might want justice and desire a way to punish them. Is divorce court the place to seek justice after your spouse cheats on you?

Blame Doesn’t Matter in a No-Fault Divorce

Washington is a no-fault divorce state, which means that most people going through divorce file their action based on a breakdown of their marital relationship or irreconcilable differences with their spouse. The cause for the divorce, in other words, doesn’t matter.

The Washington family courts aren’t likely to care about infidelity claims during divorce proceedings. An affair won’t impact what they believe is in the best interests of the children. Adultery will also not usually affect how the courts split up your property, as the law about community property specifically states that the decisions about property division must not consider marital misconduct.

Unless your spouse emptied household accounts to fund their affair, which might constitute dissipation, you will have a hard time convincing the courts to enact any sort of financial consequence for infidelity unless you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement assigning specific consequences to an affair.

The Best Revenge Is a Life Well Lived

There is a popular saying that happiness is the best revenge. Moving on with your life after a spouse cheats may seem like letting them off easy at first. However, you will save yourself the stress and wasted resources by focusing not on their past mistakes but your better future without them.

Instead of trying to find ways to punish them in court, focus on advocating for what you need for a successful and positive future. Partnering with an attorney willing to represent your best interest in court can be the first step toward achieving that better future after divorce.

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