In quite a few states, adultery has very little or no impact on divorce proceedings. It is common for lawmakers to include provisions in the family law statutes for their state that prohibit the consideration of marital misconduct when splitting up a couple’s marital assets.
In other words, the spouse who suffered the indignity of getting cheated on gets no sort of justice whatsoever from the family courts unless they have special protections from a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Thankfully, Virginia has a much different approach to infidelity and adultery. There are multiple ways in which your spouse’s extramarital affair could impact your divorce.
You could seek a fault-based divorce for grounds
Most divorces in Virginia are no-fault divorces, as no-fault divorces are typically faster and simpler for everyone involved. However, adultery is one of the grounds for divorce in Virginia.
If you have verifiable evidence, such as written admissions of sexual encounters sent via text message or email, you could potentially divorce your spouse and demonstrate to the court that they are at fault.
Provable adultery can impact how the courts split your assets
If you have evidence of an extramarital affair, the court absolutely can penalize your spouse by allocating more of the marital debt to them and more of the marital assets to you.
Particularly if you have evidence that your spouse spent significant amounts of household income on the affair prior to your separation, you likely have grounds to request that the courts adjust the asset division process to reflect your ex’s infidelity.
Adultery can limit your liability for alimony
If you are the primary wage earner in your family and your spouse has stayed home to care for your marital house or your children, they would likely have grounds to seek alimony under Virginia family law. However, if you prove to the court that you decided to divorce over infidelity, the courts could decide to wave alimony or substantially reduce the amount that someone has to pay a spouse that was unfaithful.
Depending on the issues in your divorce and the evidence you have, an extramarital affair could impact the outcome of your divorce proceedings in Virginia.