Indiana Divorce: Does Adultery Matter?

May 10, 2012

Your spouse cheated. You're devastated.

But now what? weddingrings.jpg

Indiana divorce attorneys know the choices you'll have to make in the coming weeks and months won't be easy. Should you stay and try to work it out or end it with an Indiana divorce?

Likely, there are a lot of considerations you need to sort through, and you shouldn't rush it. What's probably going to factor into your decision is how long you've been married, whether you have children, what your financial situation is and whether you think you'll ever be able to trust them or be happy with them again.

While Indiana divorce attorneys can't make the decision for you, we can help guide you through the process and help you understand all your options.

One thing many people want to know is whether adultery matters in an Indiana divorce. The answer is no - and yes.

The laws vary from state to state. In some states, the issue of adultery is going to matter big time. But in Indiana, divorces are considered "no fault." What that basically means is that neither party has to show that the other did anything wrong in order to acquire a divorce. The only thing that needs to be said is that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Under the state law, unless you have some sort of prenuptial agreement, all assets and debts are divided down the middle. It doesn't matter if it's in just one spouse's name or if he or she did the cheating. Mostly, the court is going to look at how much you each contributed toward that property, whether it was something that was given as a gift solely to one spouses and the conduct as it pertains to the waste of your assets (think gambling debts).

The only way adultery might have much of impact on how assets are distributed would be if one person used certain marital assets to support the extra-marital relationship. So for instance, if your husband takes money out of your joint checking account to provide some sort of support to his mistress, the judge may take that into consideration when deciding how to divvy up the property.

When it comes to child custody, the judge may take into consideration the conduct of the cheating spouse and its impact on the children when deciding where the children should stay. Then again, a judge may decide that conduct was a wrong done only to the other spouse - not the children. A lot of discretion is left to the judges. That's why it's so important to invest in a skilled Indiana divorce attorney in these cases.

There are some situations where spouses who have cheated have contracted sexual transmitted diseases - which they have then passed on to their faithful spouse. There have been cases where that resulted in a personal injury lawsuit.

What we've found is that in a lot of cases (not all), the spouse who has been unfaithful feels guilty. Even if they can't save the marriage, they want to make amends, which means they may be willing to concede more than they might otherwise. Of course, that's not an absolute science, but it is something you may be able to work to your advantage.

If you do decide to proceed with a divorce after your spouse has had an affair, you are really going to need someone who can stand by your side an advocate to that judge and who can appeal to him or her for the outcome that is in your best interests.

Highland Family Law Attorney Burton A. Padove handles divorce matters throughout northern Indiana, including Gary, Hammond and Calumet City. Call Toll Free 877-446-5294.

Additional Resources:
Divorce Questions: How Does Adultery Affect A Divorce Case? By Brittany Wong, Huffington Post

More Blog Entries:
Indiana Divorces and the Kid's College Fund: A look at a S.C. Supreme Court Decision, March 10, 2012, Indiana Divorce Lawyer Blog