Does Cheating Matter to Judges

By | September 18, 2015

According to some estimates 17% of marriages end because of a wandering spouse.  Women cheat to gain an emotional connection, while men cheat mostly for sex. The most likely times for cheating to occur are during the first year of marriage, following the birth of the first child, the seventh year of marriage (the infamous seven year itch), and during middle age.

Does Cheating Matter?

Nevada is a no-fault state.  Adultery is not relevant and cannot be used against you.  An endless list of accusations can be made.  Coinciding with talks of proving the affair.  But these efforts are in vain. The court will not care.  The judge is not in a position to judge morality.

Spouses have a false belief the court will punish a wandering spouse.  They are wrong.  Adultery is part of the emotional divorce, not the legal divorce.

When Does Cheating Matter?

I just got through saying adultery isn’t relevant.  Am I flip-flopping?  A little.   There are a few, rare situations where adultery could affect a divorce.

The first is on marital assets.  The legal issue is called marital waste.   If you spend large amounts of community assets, typically in the form of dinners or vacations, on the affair then a judge may require you to compensate your spouse for half of the assets used.   The judge is not punishing, but rather ruling an affair unfairly reduced the dividable assets of the couple.

The second and much rarer circumstance is child custody.   If the affair is with a porn star, or the child’s teacher the court may need to step in.  We have dealt with both of these issues.   The judge is not making a statement about “moral fitness”.  They are simply looking at issues which may be detrimental to the mental health of the child.

The final area is with pre-nuptial agreements.  Many pre-nup agreements have specific penalties for cheating.  They are called “infidelity clauses.”  An infidelity clause awards damages or limits economic rights if the spouse is found guilty of cheating.

About Author:

Stacy Rocheleau is a divorce lawyer in Las Vegas, NV.  She founded Right Lawyers in 2001 focusing on divorce, child custody and family law.   With offices in Las Vegas, NV and Henderson, NV Right Lawyers has helped guide thousands of clients through these issues.


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