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Adultery and Divorce: Knowing Your Legal Options

By Robert L. Froerer on June 14, 2017

A couple having an argumentThe lawyers at Froerer & Miles have helped countless clients with matters related to divorce, separations, child custody, and alimony payments. Working with an experienced Ogden family law and divorce attorney means having peace of mind even in the most difficult legal matters.

We have received many questions from clients about adultery and how that relates to divorce cases. Let's cover some basics about Utah divorce and adultery laws below.

The Legal Definition of Adultery

In the state of Utah, adultery is legally defined as voluntary sexual intercourse that occurs between a married person and someone else who is not the married person's spouse.

Adultery Is a Criminal Offense in Utah

Adultery is considered a crime in 21 states, including Utah, though it is rarely prosecuted. The state of Utah treats adultery as a class B misdemeanor criminal offense.

Can Adultery Be Considered Grounds for Divorce?

It might be in some cases, but Utah is a no fault state, meaning that a couple may simply file for a divorce because of a variety of factors, such as "irreconcilable differences".

With that in mind, while adultery is no necessarily a ground for divorce, it can make a difference when it comes to various matters related to divorce proceedings.

The Impact of Adultery on Alimony

Alimony refers to payments made from one spouse to another when there is some degree of financial dependence on one party. As part of a divorce, the court can order the spouse who makes more money to make payments to the spouse making less money.

If it can be proven that a spouse was unfaithful and that the adultery resulted in the end of a marriage, alimony may be denied to the spouse seeking payment. This only matters when the act of adultery was a major cause of the end of the marriage. When one spouse forgives the other or when both spouses forgive each other for acts of infidelity, adultery will not factor into any alimony discussions.

The Impact of Adultery on Child Custody

Adultery may be considered when it comes to child custody claims in a divorce, but not always. Adultery only plays a factor in these matters when the circumstances of the infidelity demonstrate some issue with the moral standards of the spouse and their ability/fitness to be a parent.

The Impact of Adultery on Other Factors in a Divorce

In addition to alimony payments and potential impact on child custody, there may be some other issues to consider in a divorce. This could include financial losses to the couple or the other spouse as part of the extramarital affair, obtained or received property related to the adultery, and so forth.

Given the variety of factors involved, it's important that you seek the help of a divorce attorney. A lawyer familiar with various family law issues can advise you and how to proceed and what to consider when ending a marriage. Our goal is to ensure fairness and make sure everyone's best interests are considered.

Learn More About Divorce Law

If you require legal assistance over business or family law matters, we encourage you to contact our experienced team of attorneys today. The lawyers of Froerer & Miles will help you make sound decisions about your legal matters.

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