The end of a marriage has emotional, financial, and legal consequences. But what happens if one partner is unfaithful? Does that impact how much they owe the other in a divorce? In this post, an experienced British Columbia divorce lawyer and mediator answers your questions about how adultery affects divorce.

Adultery and Divorce Settlements

Unfortunately for the spouse who was cheated on, Canada has a no-fault divorce system. This means the unfaithful partner typically does not owe the other partner more in spousal support, child support, or property interests when the marriage ends. One could even owe the unfaithful spouse alimony, in some circumstances.

A court may consider extreme cases of cruelty or adultery in the divorce order; however, this is rare. Cruelty and adultery are generally only relevant as grounds for divorce.

Adultery and Grounds for Divorce

In Canada, you can apply for divorce for three reasons:

  1. Separation of one year
  2. Adultery
  3. Cruelty

In most cases, spouses must be separated for a year before applying for a divorce. Adultery may allow you to bypass this regulation. As British Columbia divorce lawyers know, however, using adultery as grounds for divorce is often complicated and contentious.

To divorce for this reason, you must provide credible evidence of the affair to the court. Unless your spouse is willing to admit the affair in writing, it may possibly not be worth the time, money, and energy required to prove your allegations.

Instead, British Columbia marriage dissolution lawyers often recommend applying for divorce based on separation for one year. You have time to negotiate your separation agreement and finalize the details of your separated lives before getting a divorce.

You do not necessarily need to live in separate homes to meet the definition of  separated spouses. You may wish to consult with legal counsel for divorce in British Columbia before leaving your marital or family home, as this can impact your legal rights. 

Adultery and the Negotiation Process

Adultery can influence divorce in one important area: settlement negotiations. When you and your spouse split up, you will need to make arrangements for the following:

  • Division of property: houses, vehicles, investments, and bank accounts
  • Allocation of debts: credit cards, mortgages, loans, and tax liabilities
  • Child custody: living arrangements of the children, visitation schedules for the other parent, and holiday and vacation schedules
  • Child support: financial support for any minor children, including daycare, schooling, and medical expenses
  • Spousal support: alimony payments for either spouse, if any, and how much

While federal and provincial law guides many of these elements (particularly child support), it is much better if you and your spouse can agree before your case winds up in court. 

As you can imagine, however, the emotions that often accompany adultery can make civil negotiations difficult. In this case, you may wish to find a skilled British Columbia mediator who knows how to resolve the issues between you to reach an acceptable agreement. 

At Pier Law & Mediation, we know how messy, stressful, and overwhelming divorce can be — all the more so when it involves adultery. Don’t go through it alone. Our experienced divorce lawyers in British Columbia can help you negotiate with your spouse, divide property fairly, and draft a settlement agreement.

With our professional mediation services, creative problem-solving skills, and strong negotiation tactics, we hope to settle your case amicably. We can also represent you in court if legal appearances are necessary to achieve your desired outcomes. No two divorces are the same, and we take the time to understand each unique situation. Family law is what we do. Call (604) 560-8285 today for a consultation with Pier Law & Mediation.

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