Imagine the police showing up at your door with a warrant to arrest you because you cheated on your spouse. If the thought causes you to panic, there’s no need: though adultery used to be a class B misdemeanor in Utah, adultery hasn’t been a crime since 2019. However, just because we’re no longer prosecuting people for adultery doesn’t mean that an extramarital affair is free from legal ramifications. Although you won’t serve time in jail for adultery, cheating on your spouse could negatively impact the outcome of your divorce, especially if your spouse can prove that the affair was the sole cause of the dissolution of your marriage.
Alienation of Affection
Utah allows parties to sue their spouse’s paramour in what’s known as an alienation of affection suit. Alienation of affection is a civil suit, not a criminal suit. Under specific circumstances, it’s possible to sue your spouse’s paramour in civil court for causing the marriage to end. However, these cases are uncommonly seen because plaintiffs often struggle to show that the spouse’s paramour alienated their affection or that there were resulting damages from that alienation. For example, if your spouse sought out the affair by visiting websites dedicated to facilitating affairs, you would not likely be able to sue your spouse’s lover for alienation of affection. Additionally, plaintiffs in these suits often struggle to show fiscal damages. Though these suits are rare, people have filed civil lawsuits against their spouse’s significant other and, in rare cases, they have won.
Fault Divorces in Utah
Utah is considered to be a no-fault state. This means that you do not have to prove that one party was at fault in order to get a divorce. In Utah, you can just get a divorce based upon irreconcilable differences. However, parties can seek a fault based divorce in addition to their irreconcilable differences. For example, if your spouse cheats on you, this may be considered grounds for a fault based divorce. This doesn’t normally happen because it’s more expensive and can take much longer than filing a no-fault divorce. Your attorney can help you decide if filing for a fault divorce is worth your time.
Under certain circumstances, cheating can also affect alimony. If the court determines that a party’s infidelity was a substantial contributing factor for the divorce, it may consider that fault when determining an alimony award. In some situations, if one party’s affair is proven to have caused the divorce, it can affect how much alimony a person pays and for how long they pay. However, this may not be a good choice for everyone.The benefit of the fault-based claim would have to outweigh the costs of litigating the claim would need to outweigh the cost of fighting for a fault-based divorce. This is not typically the case, especially with people who have average incomes. It’s unlikely that infidelity would completely eliminate a person’s obligation to pay alimony. Similarly, you cannot ask for alimony solely because your partner cheated on you.
Generally, parent-time schedules are based on the best interests of the child. This means that, when determining custody, the court will consider how much care each party provided to the children, each party’s ability to provide a stable environment for the child, each party’s ability to encourage the child to have a positive relationship with the other parent, where each party lives, and the child’s opinion provided that they’re old enough to have an opinion. Most parents who are involved and want custody will be able to get at least some custody. The most common issues that affect a person’s ability to get custody are substance abuse, mental health disorders, and prior history of abusing the child. Having an affair does not normally affect a person’s ability to get custody. However, if you’re doing things like introducing your children to your paramour, the court may not believe that you were acting in the best interests of the child. For the most part, affairs generally affect custody when the affair directly harms the child.
When You’re Ready to File
It’s difficult to come back from an affair, no matter what side of the affair you were on. Though therapy can help you through this difficult time, having solid legal advice can help further ensure the best possible outcome of the divorce process. If you’re ready to file for divorce, CoilLaw is here to fight for you. Our experienced law firm has the best divorce attorneys Utah has. At CoilLaw, we’ve helped many clients through a variety of family law issues. The divorce process may be tedious, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Contact CoilLaw today for a consultation.
If you’re ready to file for divorce, CoilLaw is here for you. Our experienced attorneys are experts on all the nuances of family law. Going through the divorce process can be overwhelming and exhausting. But you don’t have to go through it alone. In fact, having legal representation can be a crucial part of securing the best outcome after divorce. If you’re ready to file for divorce, contact CoilLaw today.