(212) 349-1600 Located: 370 Lexington Ave, Suite 901 New York, New York 10017 map
Contact Us

How Does Infidelity Affect a Divorce in New York?

Posted on May 25, 2024

It is not required to prove fault in a New York divorce. Accepted grounds for divorce in New York include fault and no-fault reasons. However, if infidelity occurs, it should be discussed as grounds for a New York divorce. A spouse’s infidelity may impact the terms of a New York City divorce.

Adultery Must Be Proven in a New York Divorce

More than a spouse’s testimony against the other is necessary to prove infidelity. A judge may make reasonable conclusions based on evidence, without proof of sexual engagement, that adultery occurred. Adultery as grounds for divorce will be denied if the following occurs:

  • A spouse filing on the grounds of divorce is also guilty of adultery
  • The act of adultery was forgiven by a spouse, allowing the relationship to continue
  • Five years has passed since learning of the adultery and before filing for divorce
  • A spouse actively caused the adultery in some way

Evidence may include receipts, texts, phone records, and other electronically exchanged messages. Witness testimony may also contribute to the proof of infidelity.

How Infidelity Affects the Terms of a New York City Divorce

Infidelity generally does not impact property division, alimony, and child custody. However, exceptions to these rules may apply. A judge may consider the following actions when granting an action for divorce and determining divorce terms in New York:

  • Whether wasteful use of marital property occurred
  • If a spouse’s actions are especially egregious or shocking
  • Whether a parent’s behavior toward a child is altered as a result of infidelity, impacting a child’s well-being

What do these actions look like in real life, and how might they impact divorce?

Property Division and Spousal Support

Marital assets used to support adulterous acts may be accounted for in the division of assets. Additionally, spending marital assets on acts of infidelity may be recognized in determining spousal support. Over time, the value of these expenses can add up. A spouse may commit wasteful use of marital property by:

  • Buying gifts for a partner, such as clothing, jewelry, or other items
  • Paying for various outings and activities with a partner from marital assets
  • Using marital assets to book flights or arrange transportation to meet a partner

Documenting the inappropriate use of marital assets allows this spending to be accounted for and deducted from an unfaithful spouse’s share of marital assets. The use of marital property to support infidelity may also be deemed relevant in determining New York City alimony.

Child Custody

A child’s best interests are always considered when determining custody. Time with both parents is critical. When infidelity results in a parent becoming absent in a child’s life, then a court may consider this in determining custody.

Acts of infidelity occurring in front of a child can impact a child emotionally. Additionally, an extramarital partner’s behavior toward a child may impact child custody. A New York child custody evaluation may be necessary to determine how infidelity has affected a child.

Approaching a Fault-Based Divorce in New York

Evidence plays a vital role in a fault-based divorce. Divorce proceedings should never be an avenue for paying back a cheating spouse. Learn more about the New York City divorce process and the impacts of infidelity. Yes, infidelity is hurtful and may likely lead to divorce. But there is life after divorce and successful avenues to a brighter future.

We offer appointments in office, by phone or Zoom. Contact us Today. Close