How Does Adultery Affect Your Divorce in Alberta?
It is natural for the connection between partners to ebb and flow, but if one partner secretly pursues a romantic or sexual relationship with somebody else, the breach is severe. For many couples, a partner’s cheating spells the relationship’s end.
Divorce is among the most challenging adversities many people face. In addition to the highly emotional nature of a separation, individuals must navigate the division of property, the updating of important documents, and drawing up a parenting plan for any children they share with their former spouse. The presence of adultery as a reason for your separation may have particular impacts on your divorce in Alberta.
If you are separating from your partner as a result of adultery, contact our Edmonton divorce lawyers today to discuss your case, and see how we may be able to help you.
Grounds for Divorce in Alberta
In Alberta, there are three grounds on which you may be able to get a divorce: cruelty, separation, and adultery. By law, adultery is defined as a married person voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with someone who is not their spouse. In order to prove that adultery took place, the person who committed it must provide a signed affidavit, or there must be evidence (eg. photographs, videos, eyewitness testimony).
Divorce on the grounds of separation requires the two partners to live separate and apart for one year before the divorce can be granted. Cruelty and adultery may grant immediate separation.
A court may not recognize there to have been adultery if:
- the alleged adultery did not take place;
- one spouse encouraged the other to commit adultery in order to get divorced without a year of separation; or
- the spouse who was cheated on has forgiven the spouse who cheated, and has agreed to continue being married.
One instance of forgiveness does not absolve the spouse who has committed adultery for future acts. If, for example, you forgive your spouse for cheating, but then they cheat again, you may still file for divorce on the grounds of adultery.
Sometimes, in a marriage that is non-monogamous, the spouses may have an agreement that they can sleep with other people. The traditional definition of adultery may therefore not apply in such a case. However, this does not mean “anything goes”: if a spouse engages in sexual activity with someone else in a way that violates the couple’s agreement, this may be considered adultery.
While some couples believe that claiming adultery might expedite their divorce process, this may not always be the case. The preparation and scheduling of a trial may in reality take more time, money, and effort than spending a year separated before filing for divorce.
If you are wondering whether adultery is a viable grounds for divorce in your case, contact us today and schedule a consultation with our Edmonton divorce lawyers.
Adultery and the Division of Property
When a couple divorces, they must typically divide the property they acquired together. This may include a marital home, vehicles, large furniture items, as well as intangible assets such as investments and stocks.
Adultery usually has no impact on the way property is divided. Each spouse is entitled to keep the assets they owned before the marriage. Assets they bought together are often split equitably, taking into account both the financial and non-financial contributions of each spouse.
One instance in which adultery may have an effect on the division of property in a divorce is if the spouse who committed adultery spent family assets on the person with whom they had the affair. In such a case, they may be liable to their spouse for those dissipated assets. Contact our Edmonton divorce lawyers to learn more.
Adultery and Spousal or Child Support
Every parent is required to provide financial support to their children. Child support is calculated based on a number of factors, including the parents’ incomes, and how much support they are providing through day-to-day care. The goal is to provide the children with the best and most consistent care possible. Where there is a disparity in income between the parents, the higher earner will typically be required to pay more in child support, regardless of where the child resides.
Spousal support, in which a higher-earning spouse provides ongoing financial support to their ex-partner, is intended to reduce the strain of financial hardship on a partner who may have been economically disadvantaged by the divorce.
Both spousal and child support are built on economic considerations, and adultery typically does not play a role in a court’s decision-making. Where adultery may play a role is when decisions are being made regarding a parenting plan.
Impact on Parenting Plan
A parenting plan involves important decisions such as where a child will live, how much time they will spend with each parent, and how the parents’ decision-making responsibilities will be divided. In deciding, a court will prioritize the best interest of the child.
What does “in the child’s best interests” really mean? The court typically takes into account the child’s specific circumstances, including their age, education, history with each parent, as well as any particular needs they might have. Adultery may be considered when the circumstances of the cheating, or the involvement of a new partner, have an impact on the children’s well-being.
Contact Our Edmonton Divorce Lawyers Today for a Consultation
Adultery is a serious transgression within a relationship. If you and your spouse are navigating the end of your marriage as a result of adultery, our Edmonton divorce lawyers may be able to help you approach the process with clarity. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more on how we may be able to help you.
** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of divorce law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta divorce lawyer.