I Caught My Soon-To-Be Ex Cheating! How Will This Impact Our Divorce In Arizona?
Ending a Marriage Contract With Someone Who Didn’t Respect The Marital Vows
Sometimes, a marriage ends when two spouses simply drift apart and fall out of love with each other. Other times, one spouse is clearly to blame, especially if they strayed outside of the marriage. It is estimated that about 20% of divorces stem from infidelity. Additionally, 70% of marriages that are borne from an affair end in divorce. So statistics tell us what we already probably knew to be true- cheating is bad for marriage. If you’ve caught your spouse cheating, you might want to try counseling to save the relationship. But there’s also nothing wrong in ending your marriage contract with someone who didn’t respect your marital vows, and go straight to divorce. Will cheating have any impact on your divorce case? Read on to learn more. If you’d like a free consultation with one of our experienced Arizona divorce lawyers, call to schedule at 480-833-8000.
No-Fault Divorce State
Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, which means that you don’t have to have any particular reason to divorce your spouse. Most of the time, people will cite “irreconcilable differences” on their divorce petitions. Even if you caught your spouse cheating, you might want to cite irreconcilable differences, as proving the infidelity will just create complications in your divorce case, which usually means it will be more expensive as well. In general, cheating won’t have any impact on the four major parts of divorce: property division, spousal support, child support, and child custody. Even if you don’t list a fault on your divorce petition, you still need to meet state requirements to get divorced in Arizona. You can find more information about these requirements here. You should consult with a divorce attorney before deciding which cause to cite on your divorce petition.
Perhaps you and your spouse took advantage of the fact that Arizona is one of three states that offers covenant marriages. These are typically used by religious couples, although there is no religious requirement to enter a covenant marriage. To enter a covenant marriage, you and your spouse must complete premarital counseling. You will also need to attach a declaration with your marriage license application that explains that you understand what a covenant marriage is and why you want to be in one. The requirements for a covenant marriage are set out by A.R.S. § 25-901. It may sound difficult to enter a covenant marriage, but it is even more difficult to leave one. This can only be done with limited reasons. Some of them include incarceration, abuse, and abandonment. Infidelity is also an allowable reason for divorce in a covenant marriage. So if you are in a covenant marriage, your spouse’s cheating could be highly relevant. Talk to a Glendale family law attorney for any additional questions about this issue at 480-833-8000.
Oftentimes, extramarital affairs are based purely on carnal intimacy without any of the courtship that happens in a traditional marriage. But sometimes, the married affair partner feels the need to spoil their paramour, lavishing them with gifts, expensive meals, and even vacations. So if your spouse was taking their affair partner on shopping sprees and binges at the casino or bar, you’re probably wondering how this is fair to you when your assets are split in divorce. Arizona is a community property state, so all assets and debts acquired during the marriage should be split evenly between the couple when they divorce. And Arizona recognizes that it isn’t fair for one spouse to blow through the marital estate shortly before a divorce, knowing their spouse will have to eat half of their losses. This is a concept known as “marital waste.”
The laws surrounding marital waste are set out by A.R.S. § 25-318, although applying them in the context of an extramarital affair before a divorce can be complex for someone without legal education and experience. It can also be tricky to determine which spending before a divorce is reasonable, and what can be considered marital waste. Your attorney will make sure to argue for as much marital waste as possible so that you can be compensated during property division or spousal support. If you are planning on pursuing marital waste in your divorce, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney. For affordability and expertise in an Arizona divorce team, call 480-833-8000 to schedule your free consultation.
As you’ve read, cheating will only impact a divorce in Arizona in limited situations. But if you and your spouse entered into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, infidelity may be relevant should you divorce. A prenuptial agreement is a marriage contract created and signed before the wedding, while a postnuptial agreement is one created after the wedding. It isn’t uncommon for these agreements to include a clause that invalidates the entire contract should a spouse be caught cheating, or increases the amount of property and spousal support to which a spouse is entitled. But before you rely on such a contract, you must make sure that it is valid. For example, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement must be in writing, and can’t be signed under duress or coercion. The spouses must also disclose their financial interests to each other before creating a marital agreement. It is also usually required that the spouse who is asked to sign a prenuptial agreement is given sufficient time to review the agreement with their own legal counsel. Much could be at stake if you have a nuptial agreement and you are divorcing due to infidelity- call 480-833-8000 to speak to a dedicated Phoenix family lawyer.
Affordable Representation For All Of Your Arizona Family Law Needs
Whether or not you’re getting divorced due to your spouse’s infidelity, it can always be helpful to hire a high quality attorney to guide you through the process. Half of everything you’ve earned will be at risk in a divorce, and you don’t want to be financially taken advantage of by someone who betrayed your trust and marital vows. And if they hire an aggressive attorney while you represent yourself, this is more likely to happen. When you do retain your own Mesa family law attorney, they will handle every aspect of your case for you. Whether that’s drafting documents, making sure they are filed and served within court deadlines, negotiating with opposing counsel, and more, most people find that the cost of an attorney ends up saving them far more in the long run. Many types of divorce orders can’t be reversed, or you will need to wait at least one year for an expensive chance at having them amended.
AZ Family Law Lawyers makes it easy and affordable to proceed through your divorce with confidence. If you share minor children with your spouse, we can also assist you with child support and custody issues. Don’t assume that this type of legal care is out of your financial reach- our firm offers low down payments and monthly payment plans designed to work with your budget. We may even be able to have your spouse pay your legal fees. For more information, fill out our online form or call into our office at 480-833-8000.
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