How Does an Affair Affect Divorce in Utah?
Most people do not get into a marriage thinking it will end, much less that one partner will cheat on the other. When this does occur, it can be shocking. This behavior can lead to months or years of disastrous infighting, and it can also lead to divorce. Here, our Salt Lake City divorce lawyer discusses how an affair can affect a divorce in Utah and whether or not you may need assistance from Emy Cordano to get you through this.
DOES AN AFFAIR PLAY A ROLE IN UTAH DIVORCES?
Cheating. Adultery. Unfaithfulness. No matter what we call it, when one spouse has an affair, it can lead to devastating consequences for marriage. This is one of the most horrific things that one spouse can find out about the other. In most situations, this is a betrayal that cannot be overlooked. It is not uncommon for one spouse to seek a divorce if they find out the other spouse has cheated on them.
But does cheating affect the divorce process in Utah? Well, the state of Utah certainly does take adultery seriously. In fact, up until 2019, adultery was considered a misdemeanor offense in this state. That being said, an affair will not likely be a factor when it comes to most aspects of the divorce process in Utah.
Perhaps one of the most pressing matters during a divorce will be property division. In general, the fact that one spouse had an affair will not affect the equitable distribution of property during a Utah divorce. However, if the cheating spouse used a significant amount of the couple’s money to fund their adulterous behavior, this could be taken into account when it comes to the division of property.
Additionally, an affair will likely not play a role in any child custody or visitation decisions if the married couple has children under the age of 18 unless the affair displayed one spouse’s inability to properly or safely care for their child.
HOW ABOUT ALIMONY IN UTAH?
One area where records in Utah may consider the effect of adultery is alimony.
Alimony may need to be considered in the event one spouse will be left in a financially dependent situation as a result of the divorce. During the course of a marriage, it is not uncommon for one spouse to rely on the other financially. In these situations, the courts may require the higher-earning spouse to make alimony payments to the financially dependent party for a certain amount of time.
If one spouse thinks that they should not have to make alimony payments because they were cheated on by the other spouse, they will typically have to gather significant evidence that an affair occurred. This will include gathering financial documents, phone records, photos or video surveillance, or any other type of evidence that could connect their spouse to the adulterous relationship.
WHAT ELSE DOES ADULTERY IMPACT?
As stated above, adultery will not typically impact many aspects of a divorce. However, if a spouse spends a significant amount of joint money on an affair, the court may compensate the faithful spouse by giving them a larger share of the couple’s property.
It is important to keep track of your spouse’s spending on an affair. You should gather receipts, financial statements, phone records, and billing statements, to show how your spouse was allocating the marital assets.
Additionally, adultery can impact the type of divorce being filed. In Utah, couples can file using a “no-fault” or “fault-based” divorce. Typically, couples will opt for a “no-fault” filing to save money and time, which does not require you to prove marital misconduct. However, if you wish to have the cause of divorce listed as “adultery” you will need to file for a “fault-based” divorce.
Regardless of the type of divorce you choose to file, Utah courts will consider adultery when determining how much alimony to award.
WILL YOU NEED A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR?
The burden of proving the affair is on the faithful spouse. If you have any doubts that an affair is occurring, a private investigator can provide the evidence needed to prove the affair. A private investigator is a must if you, yourself have no evidence of the affair or if you yourself are the only “witness”. The faithful party’s testimony is not enough to prove an affair. Hiring a private investigator will ensure the proper evidence is gathered to prove an affair. Using a private investigator to prove an affair can weigh in the decision for property division and any considerations for alimony.
A private investigator can play many roles throughout a divorce case. If you are unsure whether or not you need a private investigator, refer to the blog post “Why you may need a private investigator for a Utah divorce.” A private investigator can help get the answers and evidence you need.
Call our Salt Lake City divorce lawyer today. If you are considering going through a divorce in Salt Lake City or the surrounding areas, you need to seek assistance from Emy Cordano, a skilled family law attorney based out of SLC. Attorney Cordano has extensive experience handling complex divorce cases, including those involving adulterous activity. These cases can be challenging and wrought with emotion, but Attorney Cordano will have your back and work to ensure that you are treated fairly every step along the way. When you need a Salt Lake City divorce lawyer, you can contact us by clicking here or call us at (801) 901-8159 for an initial consultation.