How Does Cheating Impact Divorce Settlements?

Cheating Impact Divorce Settlements

Divorce proceedings and settlements can be significantly impacted by acts of physical betrayal, such as cheating, due to the emotional issues that must be overcome by both sides. While cheating has little to no impact on the law surrounding the distribution of assets, payments of alimony or child support, or child custody in divorce cases, it can have an outsized impact on negotiations during the divorce process.

There are several considerations divorcing couples should take when physical betrayal has taken place during the marriage so that they can carefully navigate the emotional landmines and ensure that they can arrive at a settlement agreement that feels fair and equitable to each of them.

Emotional Issues After Cheating

The emotional issues that stem from cheating or an affair can draw out the process of reaching an agreement in your divorce. One partner, the victim of the betrayal, might be hurt, angry, resentful, and distrusting. The other partner might feel guilty or react defensively. If these emotions are not properly addressed, they will hijack the ability to make rational financial, child-related, and other important decisions and reach a fair and lasting agreement. Including the right team of professionals in your divorce proceedings can help you achieve this.

Working With Mental Health Professionals and Divorce Coaches

When emotional betrayal is involved, mental health professionals and divorce coaches can help both parties in a divorce by providing expertise and support to address the emotional and communication issues that will arise. The betrayed spouse will need support dealing with feelings of anger, sadness, and resentment, while the spouse who cheated will need support dealing with feelings of guilt. These professionals create a safe environment for each spouse to get the support they need.

By providing practical tools, mental health professionals and divorce coaches can help foster a sense of mutual understanding and facilitate productive dialogue through guided discussions. Not only does this accelerate the divorce process, but it also reduces the financial burden and emotional strain of prolonged and contentious proceedings.

Working with Divorce Financial Professionals 

How you deal with the financial issues in your divorce will have a long-term impact on your life and the life of your children. Certified Divorce Financial Analysts will help ensure that the financial assets and liabilities are properly identified and valued and that the funds needed to support the children and each party’s post-divorce life are properly calculated. The goal should be for a durable agreement that allows each party to move on with as much financial security as possible. While these professionals understand that emotions about money and the fallout from cheating can impact decision making, it’s their job to make sure the financial facts are known so that each party can leave the marriage with a financial plan that provides for as much future financial security as possible.

Choosing the Right Divorce Process

Divorcing couples should always evaluate their options for their divorce process carefully, especially when one party cheated or had an affair. The best way for couples separating due to emotional betrayal to rationalize and remove their emotional issues from the equation is to choose non-adversarial proceedings for their divorce, such as mediation or collaborative divorce, which specifically includes mental health and financial professionals as part of the team.

A traditional litigated divorce often does not encourage the inclusion of these professionals. This results in the divorce lawyers viewing the emotional issues and financial issues through a very narrow lens of “what would the court do?” Additionally, the more aggressive approach that litigators take can exacerbate the emotional issues the couple is experiencing. This not only makes the negotiation process more difficult, but also makes the chance for settlement less likely.

How Vacca Family Law Group Can Help

If you’re going through a divorce involving betrayal such as cheating or an affair, consider collaborative divorce or mediation so the emotional and financial issues can be properly addressed. Remember that while it may feel natural to allow anger to drive your decision-making, pursuing litigation under these circumstances will only make your divorce more expensive, lengthy, and stressful for all parties. 

At Vacca Family Law Group, we focus on collaborative divorce and mediation to help couples find amicable and efficient solutions while carefully navigating emotional distress. To learn more about how our non-adversarial divorce options could be right for you, contact us to schedule a free introductory call.