Will Infidelity Affect My Divorce?
June 29, 2021
Infidelity in long-term relationships is unfortunately common, with recent national surveys indicating that 15% of women and 25% of men have engaged in sexual intercourse outside of their relationship, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Everyone has a different definition of “cheating,” and the former percentages increase by 20% when including emotional and sexual intimacies without intercourse.
Legal separation or divorce, whether it results from infidelity or another cause, is one of the most stressful situations a person can encounter. If you are forced to go through a divorce following infidelity, an experienced family law attorney can help you with asset division, spousal support, and other issues.
Divorce cases are rarely simple, even when you and your former spouse are parting ways amicably. Whether you're fighting to prove you deserve to have custody of the children, or you're negotiating spousal support, our experienced attorneys at Iwanyshyn & Associates can offer you the compassionate representation and fierce advocacy you need.
With experience in financial planning and setting up custody arrangements, our attorneys have the unique expertise to help you navigate the divorce process and settle any lingering disputes. We proudly serve individuals and families in Allison Park, Pennsylvania, and throughout Pittsburgh, Wexford, Cranberry, and Gibsonia. Call or reach out to our office today to learn more about how we can help you with your case.
You Should Know: Pennsylvania
is a Hybrid Fault State
Many states only allow divorces that are “no-fault,” but Pennsylvania allows spouses to seek "at-fault" divorces. It is also considered to be a “hybrid fault” state, which means that a spouse may file as either “no-fault” or “at-fault.”
In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse places any blame on the other for the divorce. As a result, the filing spouse only needs to tell the court that either both spouses agree to the divorce or that the marriage is irretrievably broken and there's no chance for reconciliation.
Courts will consider either spouse’s misconduct as it related to the divorce in an “at-fault” divorce. In Pennsylvania, marital misconduct includes adultery, drug addiction, and abuse. Fault must be proven in court with admissible evidence, such as emails, photos, videos, and/or witness testimony.
Can Adultery Be a Factor in Divorce?
Yes. Depending on the circumstances, adultery can play a factor in a divorce, specifically in the terms of a divorce agreement. Pennsylvania defines adultery as voluntary sexual intercourse with a person besides your spouse. If you’re considering whether or not you wish to file a fault divorce in Pennsylvania, as a general rule there's usually little to no benefit. Having to prove fault invariably increases stress levels and may prolong the divorce process. Bringing witnesses into court to help prove your claim may lead to the inconvenience of bringing your family and friends to court to help prove your claim.
However, fault can make a difference when a judge is considering marital misconduct when deciding whether to award spousal support. Wrongdoing is only one of a number of factors the judge will look at, so it would be wise to consult with an experienced, local divorce lawyer as to whether using a fault-based ground for divorce is worth it considering your unique circumstances.
Spousal support, often referred to as alimony, is financial support paid by one spouse to the other during or after a divorce. Alimony helps low-earning spouses meet their needs while the divorce is pending and, if necessary, for a period after the court finalizes the divorce. During a marriage, particularly a long marriage, one spouse may become financially dependent on the other. Judges do not automatically award alimony to a financially dependent spouse under Pennsylvania law.
Instead, courts reserve spousal support for cases where it is necessary. In determining whether alimony is needed, Pennsylvania courts consider many factors, including:
Each spouse’s income and earning potential
Physical and mental health
The length of the marriage
A number of other factors
Spousal support payments may be periodic (paid on a monthly or annual basis) or a one-time lump sum payment. Periodic payments may be awarded for a specific period of time, or will typically end if either spouse dies, or the supported spouse remarries.
Clients with a large estate and a high net worth have additional financial considerations that may warrant a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. These agreements will always play a factor in any divorce terms and may outline specific conditions for the division of certain assets, spousal support, and child support.
Child Custody & Support
Child custody cases are rarely simple, even when you and your former spouse are parting ways amicably. Whether you're fighting to prove you deserve to have custody, or you're renegotiating the terms of the initial agreement, our firm can offer you passionate representation and fierce advocacy. Our top priority is to protect your rights as a parent and ensure that the best interests of you and your children are protected throughout the divorce process.
Calculating child support in Pennsylvania in most instances is fairly straightforward if the parties are both working individuals on a full-time basis. The intricacies become more complex if there is a family-owned business or partnership, if one spouse is not working to their earning capacity, or if either spouse is self-employed. These cases require knowledge and use of forensic accounting or, in the case of an individual not working up to their potential, the report and testimony of a vocational expert.
How Iwanyshyn & Associates Can Help
What makes our firm unique is how we give you the tools and guidance you need to make clear and informed decisions. We strive to enable our clients to take action on their own whenever possible, so we don't have to charge them more than what’s necessary. We want to help you take care of your family and remain an integral part of your children’s lives. The way our attorneys work toward that goal is by providing you with legal expertise and personal support throughout your divorce and custody hearings.
Our goal is to clear a path for you to move forward efficiently and effectively with your life. With experience in C-Level leadership in publicly traded companies and private, family, and closely-held businesses, we are your best choice. We offer a level of expertise and experience that you can count on, bringing skills in certified public accounting and business appraisal and valuation to your aid and at your service.
At the end of the day, our goal is to help you make responsible and appropriate choices that work towards your short-term and long-term interests. We believe that our firm, Iwanyshyn & Associates, is the best choice for you — and we’re happy to sit down and discuss with you all the reasons why. Call or reach out today to schedule your own case consultation.