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Will Infidelity Affect My Divorce Settlement?


If your spouse cheated on you, ultimately leading to your divorce, you are probably wondering if this act of betrayal might have an impact on your divorce settlement. In many states, adultery does not have much of an impact on one’s divorce settlement. However, in Rhode Island, this conduct may be considered by the Court in the division of marital property. It is a factor, therefore, that should not be ignored.

The Impact of Adultery

Rhode Island permits no-fault divorce, which means the spouse filing the petition need not prove the unfaithful spouse’s actions caused the breakup of the marriage in order to get a divorce. Still, in a no-fault based divorce in Rhode Island, adultery can impact the award of marital assets.

Typically, courts will consider several factors when determining how to divide marital property. Some of these factors include:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The overall health and age of each spouse
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition, preservation and maintenance of assets
  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage
  • The ability of the parties to acquire income or assets in the future
  • Any party’s wasteful dissipation of assets

In cases where infidelity is involved, a judge might consider infidelity when rendering a decision regarding property division. If a spouse’s cheating led to the divorce the court can consider that conduct as one factor in dividing marital property. Under these circumstances, it is possible the cheating spouse would receive a smaller portion of their assets, particularly if the unfaithful spouse used marital assets to help facilitate the affair. For example, if your spouse spent marital funds on hotel rooms, vacations, or other expenses related to the affair, the judge may consider this when dividing marital property.

Adultery and Child Custody

It is unlikely that an affair, without more, however, will factor into a judge’s decisions regarding custody and visitation. Family courts believe that the continued involvement of both parents serves the best interests of the parties’ children, which is why infidelity does not tend to have an impact on such decisions. However, it is always possible that in particular circumstances custody or visitation might be impacted, for instance where a spouse’s conduct in conducting the affair placed the children at risk, caused their neglect, or they otherwise acted contrary to the children’s best interests.

Reach Out to Our Compassionate Family Law Team

If your spouse was unfaithful, leading to the demise of your marriage, you need an experienced divorce attorney on your side to ensure your interests are protected. At McIntyre Tate LLP, our divorce team is backed by more than 150 years of collective legal experience, which we will use to your advantage during this challenging time. We understand how emotional the divorce process can get, especially when adultery is a factor, which is why we are committed to providing skilled and compassionate guidance and advice.

Get started on your divorce case today and reach out to our team at (401) 351-7700 to set up a case evaluation with a knowledgeable member of our team.