Does Adultery Impact Spousal Maintenance?

People divorce for a multitude of reasons but one of the most common reasons is infidelity.  Finding out that your spouse has cheated elicits a lot of emotions including sadness, anger/rage, betrayal, jealousy, and more. Whether it happened long ago or recently, and regardless of your reaction, it is very common for the wronged spouse to want to get revenge on the cheating spouse and, in the event of a divorce, that can mean trying to get more spousal support as a punishment for cheating.

The laws on this vary from state to state but, in Arizona, cheating does not automatically mean paying more in spousal support. Arizona, like most states today, is a ‘no fault’ divorce stare which means a spouse does not need to prove fault to file for divorce and fault will not be considered in the division of assets. In fact, technically there is no correlative relationship between fault and spousal maintenance.  It also does not mean that you will get rewarded with a higher percentage of the assets if you have been cheated on.  In fact, even if you earn more and are the wronged spouse, you could still have to pay your cheating spouse spousal maintenance.

While this seems cold and unfair, there are a few exceptions to the rule that the wronged spouse may be able to take advantage of if they have proof of things like using marital assets (shared money) to pay for things related to the affair such as hotel rooms, gifts, meals, etc., or excessive expenditures. If the judge determines that something like that has happened they may decide to unequally divide assets and/or debts or establish a higher alimony payment but there is no guarantee.

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