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Can My Cheating Spouse Receive Alimony?

Posted By Cairns Law Offices || 30-Mar-2015

There's no question that cheating leads to many divorces in the United States every year, and with old and new romances igniting on social media such as Facebook, it seems as if cheating is becoming more common than ever before.

If your marriage has been destroyed by adultery, you may be wondering if the affair can affect your legal rights in a divorce. In states such as California and Colorado, the courts will not consider any evidence of cheating in a divorce case; however, that's not the case in Pennsylvania.

Unlike the no-fault divorce states, Pennsylvania allows spouses to seek fault-based divorces. With a fault-based divorce, the courts will consider any evidence of marital misconduct as it relates to the divorce, and this includes adultery, domestic violence, and substance abuse.

How does cheating impact alimony in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, adultery is defined as engaging in voluntary sexual intercourse with someone other than one's spouse. Can adultery affect alimony or property division in a Pennsylvania divorce? Yes, absolutely.

In Pennsylvania, if you can prove that your spouse cheated on you, he or she may not be eligible to receive alimony. If your spouse's affair led to your divorce, and you believe your spouse should not receive alimony, then you will need to prove the adultery to the courts by providing plausible evidence of the affair, which may include:

  • Racy text messages
  • Email evidence
  • Facebook evidence
  • Hotel receipts
  • Phone records
  • Photos or videos

Since circumstantial evidence may be enough to prove that your spouse had an affair, you do not necessarily need to prove sexual contact.

You will need however, to prove that the adultery caused the divorce. If your spouse had an affair, you forgave them and filed for divorce a few years afterwards, the court could decide that the affair did not cause the divorce.

If you want to avoid paying alimony, you must have "clean hands" yourself, meaning you could not have committed adultery if you're going to argue that your cheating spouse should not receive alimony.

While Pennsylvania takes adultery very seriously, adultery cannot affect child custody or visitation matters in a divorce, unless for some reason the cheating spouse's relationship has had a negative impact on the children.

To learn more about alimony in a Pennsylvania divorce, contact Cairns Law Offices for a FREE legal consultation. We are A+ Rated by the Better Business Bureau and are exclusively dedicated to low-cost divorces.