Adultery Laws In Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, adultery is recognized as a fault ground for divorce. What this means is that the cheating spouse is at fault, due to his or her adulterous behavior, for the decision to divorce. When a divorce involves adultery, it can affect spousal support and alimony; however, it is not likely to impact custody, visitation, child support or even marital property distribution.
To fully understand Pennsylvania adultery laws, we must first understand what defines adultery. Adultery is generally defined as a married person engaging in sexual relations with a person other than his or her spouse. If adultery is proven, the court will consider the adultery when deciding whether or not to award spousal support or alimony to the cheating spouse.
Now that we understand what adultery is and how it impacts divorce, it’s important to also know how Pennsylvania law views adultery. Read on to learn more.
Is Adultery A Crime In Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, it is not a crime to commit adultery. However, there are many other real and significant ramifications that make adultery nearly just as serious as a crime. Adultery is still viewed as a civil matter for Pennsylvania divorce courts, and it is a heavily weighed factor in the divorce proceeding.
When adultery is the fault ground for divorce, it won’t affect the share the cheating spouse receives of the couple’s marital assets but could mean less or no alimony. While it is rare that adultery would impact child custody, it is possible. For example, if a spouse’s adulterous actions showed neglect or harm for a child, such as leaving him or her unattended or inadequately cared for. In such a case, the court may see this as cause for concern over that partner’s ability to care for the child.
In order for adultery to be considered as the fault ground for a divorce, the adultery, or sexual relations outside of marriage, must be proven. Such proof might include pictures, text or social media messages, phone call records, receipts for things like travel, dates and gifts, or even testimony from the individual with whom the adultery was committed.
One very critical detail is that adultery will not hold up in the court as a ground for divorce if the so-called innocent spouse also committed adultery, or if the innocent spouse forgave the adultery by reconciling with the guilty spouse.
Help with Adultery and Divorce in Pennsylvania
If you or someone you know is considering filing for divorce with adultery as the reason for doing so, it’s important to get professional legal advice from an experienced divorce attorney who understands Pennsylvania divorce law.
By seeking advice early, you will be in the best position possible to protect your rights and assets and work toward a swift and fair outcome. Additionally, speaking with a trusted family lawyer will help protect your children and your custody rights. If you have a question about adultery and divorce, please contact us today!