Should You Divorce a Cheating Spouse?

Should You Divorce After Your Spouse Cheats On You - Stockton Family Attorney

If you’ve been the victim of infidelity, which can shatter the foundation of a marriage, nobody can tell you whether you should stay or go—and that’s the tough part. You’re caught in a period of questioning your own identity, and you just wish there was a clear-cut answer to whether your marriage can survive your spouse’s betrayal.

Only you can make the decision to divorce or work things out with your spouse after he or she has so callously and cruelly disregarded your feelings. However, you have to make the decision logically (and keep the “big picture” in mind, all the time… even when it’s tough).

Logical Decisions You Need to Make About Divorce After Your Spouse Cheats

Some people have a zero-tolerance policy on cheating: One episode and the marriage is over.

Others see infidelity as more of a gray area and choose to stay and work on the marriage.

Many people don’t know immediately what the right decision is. It can take months for the reality of the affair to sink in, and experts suggest not making any rash decisions when you’re dealing with raw emotions.

However, in addition to the deeper questions about your marriage, trust, and whether you can still love your partner, you need to evaluate your new—and unwelcome—situation logically.

Ask yourself:

  • Can you afford to live on your own, with just one income? Would you be entitled to spousal support?
  • Realistically, would you or your ex keep possession of your marital home?
  • Where would your children live, and how much would you or your ex pay in child support?
  • Would you have to move to another city, or even another state, so you’d have a support network in place?
  • How reasonable is your spouse when it comes to negotiation? (Sometimes remorseful spouses can be more reasonable than unrepentant ones, which is something to keep in mind if you choose to divorce.)
  • How will your children deal with the news of a split? Do you have a counselor or therapist you—and your children—can talk to?
  • What can you do to protect your assets if you choose to divorce?

Financial Considerations

If you’re not currently working and your spouse is, you may not be financially prepared for divorce. You can’t count on spousal support or child support until you have a signed court order in your hands, no matter what your spouse promises to pay you or what he or she has given you in the past.

Talk to your Stockton divorce attorney about your options if you’re out of the workforce. You may have to begin working before you file for divorce.

Your home falls under “financial considerations,” too. The person who takes over the marital home generally assumes the payments for it, and all the utilities, repairs, insurance, and other bills come along with it.

You’ll also have to weigh your financial considerations against your ability to forgive your spouse. Nobody wants to live with the unfair consequences of a spouse’s affair—especially the victimized spouse—but if you have to choose between struggling a little financially and living the rest of your life with the misery of what your husband or wife has done, your choice may become a bit easier.

Where Would Your Children Live?

California law is very clear about being fair to the children when it comes to quality time with each parent. However, in many situations, parents aren’t able to reasonably divide every day in half for the kids; many families have custody plans that involve visitation at one parent’s house with the children’s primary residence at the other parent’s house.

The court’s responsibility, above all, is the best interests of the child.

As you contemplate divorcing your unfaithful spouse, think about possible outcomes for your children. Would they keep living with you or primarily live with your spouse? What would be best for them? (As a side note, most experts agree that divorce is better for children when the parents can’t, or won’t, get along.)

Getting Far Enough Past Your Emotions to Think Logically

It takes time—sometimes a lot of time—for the raw emotions to subside. While you’re still on that roller coaster, you should avoid making any permanent decisions (even the decision to stay is a permanent one). It’s tough to see through your emotions and look at the logical consequences of what your spouse’s infidelity has done. Talking to a therapist or counselor can help you sort through your emotions and make the best possible decision for you and your children.

Do You Need to Talk to a Stockton Divorce Attorney?

If you’re contemplating divorce and need to talk to a lawyer who understands, call us at 209-910-9865 or get in touch with us online for a divorce case evaluation. We’ll talk about your situation and start developing a strategy that gets you—and your kids—the best possible outcome.