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Can adultery influence the outcome of an Ohio divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2023 | Divorce

Few things can undermine the faith that someone has in their marital relationship like adultery. Discovering that a spouse has strayed can lead to a deep sense of betrayal, followed by anger or depression, sometimes both. It is common for infidelity to lead to a messy divorce.

Although many couples come to reconcile after an extramarital affair, quite a few divorces in Ohio are the direct results of someone’s infidelity. Those who have been hurt by an unfaithful spouse and who are eager for justice may wonder if the family courts will compensate them for the betrayal they have experienced.

Adultery does not inherently alter divorce rules

In a standard no-fault divorce, claims of adultery won’t necessarily influence any of the judge’s major decisions. Unfaithfulness alone will typically play very little role in how a judge handles a couple’s divorce. The goal is to fairly handle marital property based on economic factors, not personal failings.

However, conducting an affair is often an expensive undertaking. People pay for hotel rooms or trips with their affair partner that they claim were business-related. They buy gifts and pay for meals at restaurants, likely all using marital resources or adding to shared debt.

Actions that undermine the relationship while wasting money make constitute financial dissipation and can impact how a judge divides the marital estate. The more one spouse spends on their affair, the more likely it is that the courts will adjust the property division decree to account for that misconduct.

For many, living well is the best revenge

While it may be satisfying to think of a judge stripping an unfaithful spouse of all of their money as punishment for violating their wedding vows, that simply isn’t how divorce works in Ohio. Judges will want to do what is fair and appropriate, and marital misconduct will have very little influence on what they believe is equitable.

Instead of wasting time and resources trying to use the courts to punish a spouse who committed adultery, it may be better to focus on reasonable objectives so that someone can begin rebuilding their life. Learning about what influences property division matters in Ohio divorces can help those who are planning to file navigate their next steps as successfully as possible.


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