Who Pays for a Divorce After Adultery?
When you are going through a divorce because your spouse cheated (or if you cheated), you might have questions or concerns about the costs of the divorce process and whether the cheating spouse should have to pay. All divorce cases in Massachusetts will occur according to Massachusetts divorce law, and adultery may be a factor in some of the financial issues that arise in your divorce case. In general, adultery is not the sole factor in the financial considerations of a divorce, but adultery can still play a role in divorce cases. We want to discuss adultery and finances in a Massachusetts divorce with you in more detail.
Adultery Can be a Factor in a Fault-Based Divorce
Massachusetts has both no-fault and fault-based divorce options. In a no-fault divorce, adultery is not an issue in terms of whether the divorce can be granted. In a fault-based divorce, the party who files for divorce must prove one of the fault-based reasons for divorce identified by Massachusetts law. Adultery is one potential fault-based ground for divorce. If one spouse does file for a fault-based divorce on the grounds of adultery, then adultery can be the basis of the divorce.
Adultery and Alimony in Massachusetts
In any divorce in Massachusetts, regardless of whether it is a no-fault or a fault divorce, adultery can be considered as a factor in determining alimony. When a court determines whether alimony is appropriate, and what the amount and duration should be, it can consider adultery as one possibly relevant factor that can affect the alimony award. However, alimony will not be awarded solely because of adultery so that the cheating spouse “pays” for the divorce, so to speak.
Adultery and Property Distribution in a Divorce
Similar to alimony, adultery can also be a factor that courts consider in the distribution of marital property. Since Massachusetts is an equitable distribution state, the court will look at a variety of factors in determining a division of marital property that is fair or equitable to the spouses (but not necessarily equal). In some cases, adultery can be a factor in the court’s determination of what an equitable distribution of marital property looks like.
Adultery and Attorney’s Fees
Adultery can be a factor in determining how alimony will be awarded in a divorce, and how marital property will be divided between the parties in a divorce, as we have discussed above. Indeed, in situations where one spouse cheated and the adultery results in a divorce, that spouse ultimately may end up paying—in terms of making alimony payments or in terms of receiving less marital property in the distribution of assets. However, when it comes to attorney’s fees more strictly for the divorce, the court will typically only award attorney’s fees based on financial need.
In situations in which one spouse cannot pay the costs of the divorce case and the other spouse can pay those fees, the court can award one spouse to pay the other’s attorney fees.
Contact a Massachusetts Divorce Attorney for Assistance
If you have questions about financial aspects of your divorce as they relate to adultery, one of our experienced Massachusetts divorce lawyers can speak with you today. Contact the Law Office of Rachel M. Matos for more information.