What Is The

Society generally accepts that it’s wrong to cheat on your spouse. But just how bad that is depends on laws of your home state. California is one of those states which adopts a “no fault” which is the law in courts in San Diego County. In many cases, one spouse feels that it is not fair that the other spouse breaks the “marriage contract” yet still is awarded one half of the assets and debts and that there is no issues with regards to child support or custody and visitation in most cases. If there is cohabitation, this may make a difference in the award of any spousal support order by a San Diego Judge.

Is adultery cause for divorce?

California was the premier state to adopt the no-fault divorce concept in 1970's. After that a person contemplating divorce is left with only two options – that the marriage has broken irretrievably or that the spouse is untreatably insane. Clearly, while many spouses believe that their spouse is “crazy” is alleged all the time but untreatably insane would require medical diagnosis and document. As such, the vast majority of the petitions for divorce in San Diego are for irreconcilable differences. Either way the spouse’s consent is not required to terminate the marriage. Infidelity or other faults are not points to consider by California courts to grant a divorce. However, the Judge would consider criminal convictions, CPA substantiated allegations, credible and proven child abuse, molest or neglect. For spousal support, if the spouse requesting support has a conviction for spousal abuse, then many San Diego Judges take this into consideration in whether to even grant a spousal support order and may also affect the amount.

Impact of Adultery on Property Distribution

California embraces the community property principle. What this means is that a couple owns equal shares of any and everything acquired after the marriage. This does not mean that all assets acquired during a marriage are divided one half each and some examples are if one spouse received it as part of an inheritance or a gift. This property, which includes all assets and debts including all income, is sometimes referred to as the marital estate in California and San Diego. The Judge does not have any right to award more property than either spouse is due in regards to a punitive action unless the Judge finds grounds to sanction conduct under the Family Law Code. Another example of when not all is divided equally if bought or acquired during the marriage is the “diamond engagement ring” given by a spouse to their new partner while the parties are still married as a token of promise to marry. Some educational debts are not divided one half each if more than ten years old during the marriage and other very specific factors however most educational debts during the marriage are confirmed to the spouse which received the educational benefit since, the presumption is, they will benefit from this after marriage due to an increased earning ability.

Impact of Adultery on Spousal Support

In San Diego, the law does not provide for punitive action against the erring partner when deciding on spousal support. Alimony is determined by the Judge strictly on the need of one spouse and the ability to pay of the other spouse. There are exceptions, such as above for domestic violence. The San Diego Family Law Judges use the Disso Master to assist in calculating temporary spousal support while using a different method and different factors for permanent spousal support. What can impact the case as explained above, is if the spouse that had the affair begins to cohabit with the new significant other after the break up but before finalization of the divorce. Section 4343 of California Family Code states that there is a presumption of decreased need for financial support which is diminished because of support of another [new significant other].

Impact on Custody

In San Diego, adultery does not enter into the court’s decision in terms of child custody or child visitation. Like many other states, California courts look to the child’s continued welfare and best interests. The State is of the opinion that the child’s best interest lies in keeping a close and healthy relationship with both parents. A spouse’s betrayal would impact the decision if the suitability as a parent came into question – for example if the spouse and their paramour engaged in intimate sexual acts in the presence of a child it would be considered an act of impropriety which would be considered child abuse and could lead to a decision of sole legal and sole physical custody.

A Law Firm that Cares

Doppelt & Forney, a Professional Law Corporation is an experienced San Diego family law firm which handles all divorce cases and related issues. These include property distribution, child custody, child support, spousal support, and alimony. The firm offers a free 30-minute initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call 858-312-8500. For more details of their services log on to: www.sandiegodivorcelawyerhelp.com.

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