My Legal Blog

Howdy! I'm Dan Smith and I live with my wonderful family in Perth. This is my legal blog which aims to look at every part of the legal system. I should point out that i'm not a lawyer myself. However, my good friend Stan has been representing people in court for many years. I find Stan's work fascinating and I love asking him questions. I have even done a bit of my own research into the legal system. I decided to pull everything together here so I could organise my thoughts while also providing useful info for others. Thanks for checking out my blog!

Does Adultery Affect the Division of Assets in a Divorce?

Law Blog

If you've made the difficult decision to file for divorce from your spouse, was it because they cheated on you? Clearly, adultery will have played a role in the end of your marriage, and it might have even been the sole cause in your view. Does the fact that your spouse committed adultery affect the division of your finances?

No-Fault Divorce

The fact that your spouse has cheated on you (even if this was the direct cause of your decision to file for divorce) does not always influence any financial settlement. Australia offers a no-fault divorce, and anything you've heard of individuals winning large sums of money in legal action against their spouse (or the other party in the affair) have occurred in other countries, with their own specific legal system. Australia is perhaps not as litigious as other legal jurisdictions, and so the concept of initiating legal action for emotional pain and suffering is not as common here. So does your spouse's adultery impact your divorce negotiations at all?

Your Shared Finances

Adultery only plays a role in a financial settlement when said adultery has utilised your shared finances in some form. But what does this mean? Depending on the nature of their extramarital affair, your spouse may have incurred some costs in conducting the affair. As an example, they might have spent a significant amount of money on items such as gifts for the other party, travel and hotel rooms. They might have even been providing financial support for the other party.

Financially Disadvantaged by the Affair

If this spending can be conclusively proven, you can request that the subsequent division of assets take this into account. It can be that the extramarital affair was funded by your shared finances, and you should not be financially disadvantaged by this. Proof is required (bank statements, credit card bills), and such claims cannot be merely based upon a gut feeling. If you wish to formally request that your spouse's spending on their affair should play a role in the division of your financial assets, you should engage a family law specialist to make these negotiations for you, as the matter can be somewhat more complicated than a standard division of financial assets.

The legal system does not place any moral judgement on an extramarital affair being a contributing factor in a divorce. It can, however, place a financial judgement on cases where the affair has depleted shared finances.

For more information, contact a divorce law service in your area.


16 July 2020