The Impact of Adultery on Divorce in Pennsylvania

PA Divorce law adultery

Pennsylvania law recognizes adultery as a fault ground for divorce. 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. Yet, it is not likely to impact custody, visitation, child support or even marital property distribution.

Cheating in Pennsylvania is not a crime. But, there are many other real and significant ramifications that make adultery as serious as a crime. Adultery still counts as a civil matter for Pennsylvania divorce courts, and it is a heavily weighed factor in the divorce proceeding.

What Constitutes Adultery in Pennsylvania Divorce Law?

To fully understand Pennsylvania adultery laws, we must first understand what defines adultery. Adultery is when a married person is engaging in sexual relations with a person other than their spouse. If adultery is proven, the court will consider it when deciding whether 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.

Adultery and Grounds for Divorce

In Pennsylvania, adultery is recognized as a legitimate reason for divorce. While Pennsylvania permits divorce on “no fault” grounds, it is still possible to seek a divorce based upon “fault” grounds. Adultery remains a fault ground upon which a divorce can be granted. However, due to the cost associated with seeking a fault divorce, most cases proceed as no fault divorces. That doesn’t mean that adultery is irrelevant in Pennsylvania. Marital misconduct is a factor for consideration by the court with regard to alimony. This is especially so if the misconduct caused financial or emotional damage.

In order for the court to consider adultery as the fault ground for a divorce, the innocent spouse has to prove the the cheating. Such proof might include pictures, text, social media messages or phone call records. It can also include receipts for things like travel, dates and gifts, or even testimony from the adulterous partner.

A 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. Adultery won’t stand either if the innocent spouse forgave the cheating by reconciling with the guilty spouse.

Related: Does Fault Matter in Pennsylvania Divorce?

Impact of Adultery in PA Divorce – Frequently Asked Questions

Does adultery affect spousal support?

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.

When determining spousal support, which is the financial support provided to a spouse during the divorce process, the court may consider marital misconduct, including adultery. However, it is one of many factors and not necessarily decisive on its own.

How about alimony and alimony pendente lite?

  1. Alimony: Adultery can impact alimony, which is the financial support paid after the divorce is finalized. The court may reduce or deny alimony to a spouse who committed adultery, considering the adultery as marital misconduct. This is particularly relevant if the adultery caused financial or emotional harm to the innocent spouse.
  2. Alimony Pendente Lite (APL): Alimony pendente lite refers to temporary financial support provided to a spouse while the divorce is pending. Unlike regular alimony, APL is primarily based on need and the ability to pay, rather than marital misconduct. Therefore, adultery is less likely to impact the award of alimony pendente lite.

Related: How to Calculate Alimony?

Can adultery impact child custody and child support?

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. This behavior can include leaving them unattended or inadequately cared for. In such a case, the court may see this as cause for concern over the care for the child.

Impact of Adultery on Marital Property Distribution

Although adultery can influence alimony decisions, it generally does not affect the distribution of marital property. Pennsylvania courts aim to divide marital assets and debts equitably, regardless of fault grounds such as adultery. Therefore, the division of property is more influenced by factors like the length of the marriage, the income of both parties, and contributions to the marriage rather than the infidelity itself.


Adultery in Pennsylvania divorce law can significantly influence spousal support and alimony but typically does not affect child custody, child support, or the division of marital property.

  • Adultery is a recognized fault ground for divorce in Pennsylvania.
  • Marital misconduct, including adultery, can impact spousal support decisions.
  • Adultery may reduce or eliminate alimony for the cheating spouse, especially if it caused financial or emotional harm.
  • Alimony Pendente Lite is generally based on need and ability to pay, with adultery having less impact.
  • Child custody and support disputes are rarely affected by adultery unless it shows neglect or harm to the child.
  • The division of property is based on equitable distribution and not significantly influenced by adultery.

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.

Request a free consultation with our divorce lawyers serving South Central Pennsylvania!

By seeking advice early, you will be in the best position to protect your rights and assets. With and experienced family lawyer you can work toward a swift and fair outcome. 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 at (717) 790-2048 !

  1. Dwane Thomas says:

    My wife and then committing adultery for years now and she want me to move out the house we have six kids to be adopted I am the breadwinner I have been providing for my family for over 15 years I need help before this is a stressful situation she also tries to start fights arguments as he screams and yell at me in front of the kids

  2. Mario Lawson says:

    We had a verbal agreement of me being responsible for everything ive achieved for her, in my control so she would not be a public charge before i brought her into the states. Me and my best friend filed for her to get her into the states.

    She agreed and eventually I brought my Ethiopian wife into the USA in 2014. 3 years later she commits adultery twice (once over my house and once over his house). I caught them both and my best friend told me about it! My wife also knows that i have a mental condition called schizophrenia (Iam home all day and home taker of the house). She took well advantage of my mental anguish by verbally threatening me to it's fullest, but ive tried to isolate myself off from her each time she returns from work in which ive help her get.

    Throughout the years her threats of calling the police on me escalated to the point that my "Voices" told me not to file against her, so i was kind of afraid and didn't pursue that hoping she wouldn't. Though she never apologized and ive never forgiven her, it's now Oct 2019 and she threatened me with the police if i didn't send them to public schooling and eventually got a PFA on November 8th 2019! Though ive told her i had good plans to properly and legally homeschool my 2 daughters, she sneaks out, calls the police and evicts me with the PFA!

    Iam the head of the house hold and ALL bills are in my name! I am currently in the shelter now and need help! My hearing in on November 20th 2019.

  3. Brianna says:

    My husband kissed me good bye lied to me about where he was going. Come to found out he was with my best friend the entire time. Didnt have any contact with his daughter for 5 days. Just completely disappeared. Then finally lashed out to me. And told me he cheated on me 3x then proceeded to tell me what all he did with her. I want to file for adultery.

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  5. Jim naret says:

    I found out last year my wife had an affair with a man 27 years old she was 38 has 3 teenage kids. This happened 26 years ago. I still live with her .im thinking of divorcing her but i want to get her for adultry. Can i subpeona her lover? I know everything that happened.

  6. Jammie Lauro says:

    My Cousin found out her husband has been cheating on her for months and has now left the house saying he is no longer married. He is still seeing the other woman and is now telling my Cousin she is on her own when it comes to money and household. My Cousin is a mother of a 14 year old daughter. She also has been a home maker for 8 years and has no High school diploma and suffers from social anxiety. She is scared that she will lose her daughter and home. She has lost weight due to the stress she is under from her husband cheating and leaving. She does not know where to start and has no money to her name only a joint bank account and credit card her and her husband share. He has recently said to her he does not care what she does and she has no proof of the cheating. He knows she has no money and is threatening her that she will lose everything. He is also verbally abusive.

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  8. Josh korzi says:

    My cheating wife got a pfa to get out of spousal support

  9. Cathy L Ely says:

    My husband was planning my accident or whatever didn't work now we went to Florida house son 14 I was 54..makes 259. Thousand a yr..and didn't care left all Bill's and took what ever he wanted all tools important things. I was a abused we woman …he closed my money market day we r on way home. July 2018..checking debit cards under 445 00 terrible I put him on money market 16 months b4 this ..I think THE dirty pig he gound a WEAK one. Evil souls evil life is not good enough for families…got p.o.a. illegal business on his attorney part. .niw we r going to Harrisburg for justice 4 30yrs married. he made 2.3 million since he left. I m in terrible situation 4 a pipeliners wife and son….court is all corrupt ..terrible 3 yrs 3 month. It's been. He wants us gone he told leople th hat b4 surprise 3rd attorney. UOT OF TOWN. THEY WERE TAKING ME DOWN SO I FOUND ONE THAT WOULD TAJE OVER. ….ATTORNEY YOOK MY HUSBAND DOWN HALF MILLION. 4 WHAT. REALLY..WOMEN OF TBE WORLD. CHILD. R. FIRST. DADDY DEAREST left all Bill's we have rentals. He sold. 3 property's. That. Were. Mine. Illegal .Harrisburg is a good ace 4 ignorance to real div6. It's a civil criminal thing from my husband attorney nos he is incompetent. 4. Financial bussiness. I did all industry bussiness. corrupt. More to this tban. Mo judge. No attorney. e er heard what they r TRYING to do..imature adults th bat dont care abkyt others. Divorce attorney. husbands. robbed him. Bragged st vkurt to others. He is taking this one down. Yes attorneys told me. 1st 3 months. Now its 3yrs. 3 months. .if anyone can give good more advice to handle all wabt I m. Tbere Akira more terrible things ..they found conspiracy theories about. my life and husband. 59 yrs desperate. broke she is. Ge pays 4 her. 259. Us. We have rental. ..i get nothing I definitely will
    I worked hard. Not 4 a bogus attorney. this one is. ..and a 58 pig that was broje and myst kine half million to still TRYING what u said. plan didn't work. husband said Shane was coming to finish me off. 120 lb..wife he was scarey. Happy 4 now I m safe till after settlement. ..he bought new night guns and this hat. I found records after he finally left..DANGEROUS situations he needed help. Bad gene. ..or. I had major brain surgery. he would slam MUCK hang chase. Jump on. Me. 240. Pd on. I was. O2 pds when he left. I m. 115 now. he wanted me desd. He. Tried I be we ould have mayb got away we ITH it. Font be silent victim. I kinda was I have pictures messages. and its disgusting that I m married to a sick husband ..at6 just wanted unnecessary hearing's. 4 reality this is so real u m sick. We r starving FROM normal life from. A husband that has son .doesn't have car no college money he has Grant's. Scholars my so seems mad abkut nit e en graduation money. .nothing sad. He didn't see his dad 4 2yrs. ..husband drives by r. Lane. Called my friends. AUSTINS coaches friends. saying g narsasist stuff he is a Socialepath. ..I m just sick from everything. I keep don in pretty good form. hot a stimulus money Greg got rrrs .. i csnt wait till truth trust reality…DANGEROUS 4 divorce. bad attorney. 4. A pipeliners. Divorce..

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  12. Phil says:

    If adultery is who determined that adulry can be used as a weapon in a divorce case

  13. Claudia says:

    I was married for 23 years, have more fingers in my hands that the intimacy we had the first 3 years, once I got pregnant 21 years ago, he never touched me again. I took him to 4 urologists; he was claiming pain, even that had a strangle something and took him to the emergency room; all excuses were used. The Drs. said was a phantom pain to take care at therapist and psychologist..he went but nothing changed. Since I was in love and promised I would stay in the health and sickness I did stay. I have never cheat, not even mentally. I told me Sept, 22nd that he cheated the entire marriage with "People." He never admitted anything about with who, just said, you already know, I'm not going to discuss that, etc., now in process of divorcing 2 days ago, looking at the lawyers documents that he provided to them, I found charges of the webpages where he gets friends and expose himself to have intimacy with other man, men, ts, tv, tg plus they can even get money, he put in his profile women, but his friends are only trans and men, Is ok if his sexual preference are not woman, but he knew this before he married me and deceived and lie to me, to cover himself. I love him, and I stayed without saying anything to no one until october. I'm in a terrible depression additional that he doesn't want to give me a penny. I was his 3rd wife; I found out that all had a similar experience as me.

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  15. Juan castro says:

    I'll try to get my wife back she left the house about 2 years ago but we have occasionally Rollins together and having sex 5 months old last time barely got her back 6:10-732-9358

  16. ceylene says:

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  17. raju says:

    pls help me

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