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Can you ask for more marital assets because your spouse cheated?

On Behalf of | Dec 10, 2021 | Division Of Assets

Couples can get divorced in California for many different reasons, but adultery is still one of the top issues that end marriages. When one spouse is sexually unfaithful to the other, the spouses may go to therapy to work things out, or the relationship may end as soon as one spouse discovers the cheating.

Adultery doesn’t just damage your trust in your spouse, but it can also lead to major upheaval in your life, including a substantial decrease in your standard of living after the divorce. If you have an unfaithful partner, can you ask the California courts to award you more marital property in your upcoming divorce?

Community property rules do not factor in marital fault

Under California’s community property laws, one spouse’s fault for the end of the marriage does not influence how a judge divides the shared assets of the spouses. Unless you have a prenuptial agreement that penalized adultery, the courts won’t change how they split your property over an affair.

However, while infidelity alone won’t change property division, how your spouse paid for their affair might impact the process. Community property laws also mean spouses should preserve the marital estate and not waste resources in a manner that damages the household or the marital relationship. If you can find financial records that show what they spent taking their affair partner out for meals, renting hotel rooms or buying gifts, then you can report that to the court.

Such spending could be marital dissipation and can impact the property division process. You could potentially receive your fair share of half of those dissipated Assets in the property division ruling. Understanding what factors influence property division in a California divorce can help you make better decisions as you plan to leave your spouse.