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Can adultery influence your divorce settlement in Virginia?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Divorce |

When ending a marriage, marital misconduct, including adultery, can influence the outcome of the divorce settlement. Courts in Virginia take this type of misconduct seriously and may consider it when making decisions.

Understanding how adultery may affect your case is important for individuals navigating the dissolution of their marriage.

Divorce grounds

Virginia recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Adultery falls under the category of fault-based grounds, meaning couples can cite it as a reason for seeking a divorce. If one spouse can prove that the other committed adultery, it can influence various aspects of the divorce proceedings.

Property division

In Virginia, when couples divorce, they divide their stuff using a principle called equitable distribution. This means things get divided fairly, though not always equally. While adultery alone does not decide who gets what, the court may factor it in when deciding what is fair. If one spouse spent marital money or assets on an affair, the court might consider that when making decisions.

Spousal support

Adultery can also impact spousal support, also known as alimony, in Virginia. If one spouse can prove that the other committed adultery, it may affect the amount and duration of spousal support awarded. The court may be less likely to award support to a spouse who has committed adultery, or it may award a lesser amount or for a shorter duration.

Child custody

Adultery generally does not directly impact child custody arrangements in Virginia unless there is evidence that the extramarital relationship has a detrimental effect on the children. The court’s primary concern in custody cases is the best interests of the child, and adultery may only be relevant if it affects the parent’s ability to provide a stable and supportive environment.

Being aware of the influence that adultery can have on a divorce in Virginia can help individuals make the best decisions for themselves and their families.


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