The impact of adultery on divorce settlements in Pennsylvania

“Men and women who decide to flirt with adultery just once can become enmeshed in misery and unhappiness for themselves and their precious families.”

Joseph B. Wirthlin

An overview of adultery and divorce in Pennsylvania

Adultery is considered grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania. This refers to a sexual act between a married person and someone other than their spouse. This reason for divorce can affect property division, alimony, child custody, and financial support.

Here are some key points to understand about adultery and its impact on divorce proceedings in Pennsylvania:

  • Adultery can be used as evidence of marital misconduct, which can affect the distribution of assets during process of divorce;
  • If one spouse proves that the other committed adultery during the marriage, he or she will be entitled to receive spousal benefits from his or her former partner;
  • Having children does not change the fact that adultery occurred, but could potentially affect child custody arrangements if it is proven that the behavior negatively impacted the ability to raise the children;
  • If both spouses cheat on each other or have extramarital affairs, this will likely not be taken into account when deciding equitable distribution or alimony.

How marital infidelity affects alimony settlements

It is important to note that proving marital infidelity in divorce cases can sometimes be challenging. It requires providing evidence that meets legal standards and criteria. If successfully proven at trial, this could potentially lead to a more favorable outcome for one party over the other with respect to Pennsylvania divorce proceedings.

The impact of marital infidelity on child custody arrangements


  • Adultery can affect a parent\’s ability to provide a stable home environment for their children, which can result in limited custody or visitation rights;
  • If the adulterous relationship has negatively impacted parenting abilities, such as neglecting responsibilities or putting children at risk, it may affect child custody arrangements;
  • If both parents have committed adultery and it has not affected their ability to be good parents, it cannot affect any child custody decision.

It is important to note that while adultery may be considered in determining child custody arrangements, it is not necessarily determinative. Courts will consider all relevant factors before making a decision that they believe is in the best interest of the children involved.


Division of property and assets in adultery cases


  • Adultery may be considered a marital misdemeanor that may result in one spouse receiving a greater share of jointly acquired property than the other;
  • The court may also take into account any financial contributions made by either party to an extramarital affair in determining the distribution of assets;
  • If both parties are found to have committed adultery, this will likely equalize the distribution of assets unless there is evidence that one party spent significantly more money on their affair than the other.

It is important to note that while adultery may affect how property and assets will be divided, it is not determinative. Courts will consider all relevant factors before deciding on property division and settlements.

What evidence is there of marital infidelity in divorce proceedings


  • Hiring a private investigator to gather evidence such as photographs or videotapes;
  • Obtaining records of phone calls, emails, or other correspondence that may indicate an affair;
  • Witness statements from individuals with knowledge of the alleged affair.

It is important to note that circumstantial evidence alone may not be enough. It is important to corroborate the fact that sexual intercourse occurred between one spouse and someone else while they were still married.

Infidelity can have a significant impact on divorce proceedings in Pennsylvania, including alimony, child custody arrangements, and property division. Proving marital infidelity in a divorce can be challenging, but if successful, it can potentially lead to a more favorable outcome for one party over the other with respect to a Pennsylvania divorce settlement.


The role of prenuptial agreements in adultery cases

For example:

  • A prenuptial agreement may include specific provisions regarding the division of property if one spouse commits adultery, which can make the divorce process less contentious;
  • prenuptial agreements may also include language limiting or eliminating spousal benefits in cases where one party has committed adultery during the marriage;
  • it is important to note that courts may not always uphold every provision of a prenuptial agreement if they find it to be unfair or contrary to public policy.

While prenuptial agreements cannot prevent adultery, they can help couples protect their assets and financial interests in the event of a divorce caused by infidelity.

How adultery can affect the timing and cost of divorce proceedings in Pennsylvania


  • Adultery can cause conflict between spouses, leading to longer and more expensive litigation over property division, alimony, child custody, and support;
  • If one spouse is found guilty of adultery during the marriage by a judge or jury, it can prolong the proceedings as they try to defend themselves or prove otherwise;
  • Discovery of an affair by one spouse could derail negotiations between the parties and lead to a trial rather than a settlement.

For those seeking options divorce online in Pennsylvania, it is important to understand how allegations of marital infidelity can affect timelines and costs during the divorce process. In cases where spouses cannot agree on issues related to their separation or if there is disagreement over the evidence of adultery presented, this can significantly increase the time and cost of an already complicated process. Seeking legal advice from solicitors familiar with family law will be essential if there is any doubt about these factors affecting your impending separation.


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