Discovering that your spouse has engaged in adultery can be very painful and often leads to divorce. If you have decided to seek a divorce due to adultery in your marriage, you may have questions about how it will effect the legal process.
This article explains the basics of how adultery impacts the divorce process, as well as how it may impact alimony (which is also referred to as "spousal support"). If you still have questions after reading this article, you should contact an experienced family law attorney who can provide advice and help protect your rights during the divorce process.
In Ohio, a spouse seeking to end the marriage can ask the court for a "divorce" or for a “dissolution of the marriage” - a dissolution of marriage does not require a ground (reason) for the dissolution, but in order to get a divorce, the filing spouse (the one requesting the divorce) must show the court there is a reason.
If you seek a divorce in Ohio, you must show one or more of the following grounds for the divorce:
When filing for a divorce on one of the above fault-based grounds, you are basically pointing the finger at your spouse, and claiming that your spouse's misconduct led to the break up of the marriage. When you pursue a fault divorce, you must be prepared for a more lengthy, contentious and costly legal process. The court will require you to prove the fault by showing evidence of the acts, supported by testimony of a third party witness. The emotional impact on any children of the marriage may also be increased by this type of legal process.
If you want a lower conflict process, then you may seek a divorce based on one of the two no-fault grounds, even if there has been adultery in your marriage.
Generally, the lowest conflict and lowest cost option is the dissolution of marriage. The dissolution of marriage process requires the couple to agree in advance on divorce-related issues, such as the property and debt division, alimony and child custody. Once an agreement is reached on all issues, one spouse may file with the court for dissolution. If you are unable to reach an agreement on the financial and custody issues, then you must file a divorce case instead.
For more information on divorce and dissolution in Ohio, click here.
During the divorce process, one spouse may ask the the court to order the other spouse to make financial support payments. In Ohio, these payments are called “spousal support.”
Ohio does not have set guidelines or calculations on when to award spousal support or how much to award. There are, however, factors the court is required to consider in each case. The factors are:
For more information on spousal support in Ohio, click here.
It can. When deciding whether to award alimony, courts in Ohio may consider marital misconduct, including adultery by either spouse, as part of "any other factor the court finds to be fair and relevant" listed above. In addition, if one spouse begins to cohabit (live together) with a romantic partner during the divorce proceeding, a judge may consider that as a factor as well if the cohabiting spouse requests alimony.
However, the court is not required to consider the marital misconduct and, even if the court does consider the misconduct, it is not required to find it relevant to a decision on spousal support. In other words, there is no guarantee that adultery will play a role in an award of spousal support in Ohio.
For more information on family law topics in Ohio, click here.