How does adultery affect divorce settlement? – 2021

By Solent Family Mediation |
October 3, 2021

How Does Adultery Affect Divorce Settlement


What is adultery?

Infidelity is committed when a married person has sexual relations with a person of the opposite sex who is not his or her husband or wife.

Under the ancient legislation, having sexual relations with someone of the same gender was not deemed infidelity in divorce proceedings. A person in a same-sex marriage or civil partnership is not legally considered to have committed infidelity if they have sexual intercourse with another person of the same sex.

Obviously, you may consider your partner disloyal if they have an inappropriately close emotional involvement with someone else. Under UK law, this would not have been considered infidelity.

In the past, this distinction was crucial since adultery could be cited as a basis for divorce. Since the advent of no-fault divorce, however, divorce petitioners are no longer required to show a motive or evidence of infidelity. Instead, they must offer a simple statement of irreparable breakdown to confirm that the connection cannot be restored.

Is adultery a valid reason for divorce?

Under the previous divorce laws, infidelity, desertion, unreasonable behaviour, and separation were all grounds for divorce, but there was only ever one ground for divorce: the marriage had irretrievably broken down.

Since the introduction of no-fault divorce in April 2022, you can declare that this is the case with a “statement of irretrievable breakdown” in your divorce petition without having to specify the cause or reasons for this.

How does infidelity impact divorce in the United Kingdom?

There is a sense, based on the inquiries we receive, that if one spouse has committed adultery, this will affect the divorce outcome, particularly in terms of the financial settlement and child custody arrangements.

In truth, infidelity has minimal impact on a divorce proceeding, at least from a legal standpoint. You cannot claim adultery as a grounds for divorce or show evidence of infidelity. In addition, adultery has no bearing on financial settlements and, unless it impacts the welfare of any children involved, will not be considered when determining child custody.

Who pays for the divorce when adultery is involved?

Whether or not infidelity was committed has no bearing on who pays divorce fees or other financial settlement issues.

What happens if you commit adultery during a divorce?

Under prior divorce regulations, only the ‘wronged’ spouse was permitted to claim infidelity as a basis for divorce. If you were the injured party and wanted to use adultery as your defence, you would be needed to provide evidence of infidelity unless your spouse was prepared to admit it.

However, infidelity, separation, desertion, and unreasonable behaviour are no longer necessary grounds for divorce. In April of 2022, divorce laws were revised to reflect a more contemporary perspective.

Infidelity has no effect on the development of a divorce under the new legislation. The only requirement for divorce is irretrievable breakdown of the relationship.

How the court evaluates adultery and financial matters

The court has only one interest in determining a financial settlement between the parties: ensuring that family needs are addressed. This includes the requirements of both parties and any children.

It is frequently questioned if one party can obtain more due to the poor behaviour of the other. Infrequently can it be proven that an ex-actions spouse’s have affected the family’s assets. In one example, the husband had frittered away the family’s assets, and the court determined that it was inappropriate for him to be able to claim as much of what was left as if he had acted sensibly.

Solicitors and attorneys use the ‘gulp or gasp’ test when non-financial behaviour is presented as a justification for a higher portion of the assets. For the court to consider deviating from the standard distribution of assets, the defendant’s conduct must be unusually grave. If the judge hears the behaviour and does not gasp, then it is generally not severe enough; nevertheless, if the judge does gasp, then indicates that the behaviour is severe enough.

Extreme cases that have caused the judge to gulp include those in which the wife shot her husband with a shotgun, the husband committed incest with family children, and the wife attempted to stab her husband with a knife.

Infidelity is unlikely to be sufficiently serious for the court to modify its position on the division of the money, as demonstrated by the fact that it would take really serious conduct for the court to change its mind. However, it is crucial that your attorney has all pertinent information. I always adhere to the concept that I would rather have too much information than not enough.

Divorce Mediation – Solent Family Mediation – 0238 161 1051

Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation can make a substantial impact in the divorce process if you are planning a divorce. Divorce mediation may actually make a difficult and emotional situation easier for everyone concerned.

Simply put, divorce mediation entails meeting with your soon-to-be ex-spouse in order to jointly determine the conditions of your divorce. This choice is preferable to going to court, not only for your sake but also for the sake of your children.

In divorce mediation, an impartial third party acts as a mediator to help you and your spouse discover solutions to your problems that are mutually beneficial. The goal is for your divorce to be as peaceful and cost-effective as feasible.

Typically, divorce mediation will address problems such as the division of property, assets, and obligations, child arrangements (formerly known as child custody), and a parenting plan. It also addresses child support or spousal maintenance, pensions, and potentially tax issues. Now that we understand what divorce mediation is, let’s examine its benefits and get further understanding.

Call Solent Family Mediation today – Our mediators have the skills to support you through you divorce