How Will Infidelity Affect My Divorce?
So, you've found yourself in a situation where infidelity has shaken your marriage to the core. It's never an easy topic to discuss, let alone go through. The good news is that you're not alone. According to the American Psychological Association, infidelity accounts for up to 40% of all divorces. Nevertheless, you're likely wondering how your actions or your spouse's infidelity will affect your divorce proceedings.
It's always beneficial to contact a divorce attorney to get a clear idea of how infidelity will affect your divorce. If you live in Covington, Kentucky or anywhere within the Greater Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky area, such as Newport or Florence, The Berger Firm has your back.
Overview of the Kentucky Divorce Process
The divorce process in Kentucky starts with filing a petition for dissolution of marriage in the appropriate county circuit court. The petition sets forth the grounds for divorce and other relevant issues such as property division, maintenance, child custody and support, and debt allocation.
You should also register a summons that notifies your spouse of the lawsuit and the time and place of the preliminary hearing. The petition and summons should be served on your spouse by a third party.
If you and your spouse can agree on all the issues—such as who gets what property, how much spousal support should be paid, and how parenting time should be shared— you can file a joint motion for the court’s approval.
If you cannot reach an agreement, or if your spouse doesn’t appear or respond, the court may conduct a default hearing, where you can present evidence to support your claims. If the court finds that the grounds for divorce are met and that a just and proper division of property and support is made, it will grant a final decree of dissolution.
Grounds for Divorce in Kentucky
Kentucky is a no-fault divorce state. This means that the only recognized ground for divorce is irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. In other words, you do not have to prove that your spouse is at-fault for your marriage’s irreparability—due to actions like adultery, cruelty, abandonment, or substance abuse—to obtain a divorce.
However, if you allege that your spouse’s misconduct has caused you to suffer, the court may consider that in its judgment on property distribution, support, or custody.
Potential Impacts of Infidelity in a Kentucky Divorce
So, how will cheating affect my divorce? Here's how infidelity impacts alimony, custody, and asset division decisions.
Let's start with alimony. If you're the cheating party in a divorce in Kentucky, you may end up paying more in spousal support than you would have otherwise. The court will look at the faults of each party in the breakdown of the marriage when awarding alimony and may decide to award the innocent party more money as a result of the infidelity.
Another common question we're asked is, "I cheated on my spouse—will I lose custody of my kids in the divorce?"
Child custody and support decisions are made to reflect the best interests of the chidlren. A cheating spouse won't automatically lose the right to gain custody, but their chances may certainly be impacted. Since divorce itself can be mentally and physically taxing on children, putting their emotions through the added distress of learning about infidelity can be too much for them to handle. Therefore, if you're the one who cheated, the court may rule against you when it comes to naming a primary custodial parent or determining the amount of child support you'll have to pay.
Kentucky is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital assets will be divided fairly but not necessarily equally in a divorce. Infidelity can be a factor that the court considers when dividing assets because it can be seen as a breach of the marriage contract and a violation of trust. This could be especially relevant if the cheating party spent marital assets on an affair.
Proving infidelity can be a difficult process, but it's essential if you're hoping to have it impact the legal aspects of your divorce.
In Kentucky, you must provide clear and convincing evidence of infidelity, which can include photos, emails, text messages, and testimony from witnesses. In many cases, a private investigator may be hired to gather this evidence.
It's important to work with a family law attorney who has experience in these matters, as they can help you understand what evidence can be used against you and how to defend yourself against accusations of infidelity.
Get a Dedicated Advocate in Your Corner
If you’re going through a divorce and infidelity is part of the equation, it's important to remain calm and level-headed while documenting any evidence you have. Your divorce lawyer can use this evidence to build a stronger case for you, but it is important to be upfront about any infidelity that may have occurred.
If you’re looking for a law firm to help you with your divorce, The Berger Firm is here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out and call us today.