My Spouse is Having an Affair: What are my Options?
Any type of deception during a marriage can create a crack in its foundation. However, when the dishonesty is about an affair, the consequences can be devastating for the innocent spouse. After experiencing the initial shock of learning your spouse is being unfaithful, you may be overwhelmed and confused about what options are available to you now.
Depending on your situation you may not be able to conceive of leaving the marriage. After sharing a life with your spouse it can be hard to accept that everything you have meant to each other can suddenly end because of their infidelity. You may believe that the affair is a symptom of problems between you and that it is possible to repair your relationship. However, you may also have no choice but to acknowledge that the marriage is over.
If you are headed for divorce, you may want to file on the basis that your spouse has been unfaithful. While the affair may be the reason your marriage is ending, Wisconsin is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that blame is not a legal reason you can ask the court to allow you to divorce. However, this does not mean your spouse’s infidelity will not matter during your divorce.
Although Wisconsin law does not require that parties file for divorce based on fault, when there has been an affair, this fact could impact how the couple’s assets and debts are divided. For example, if your spouse used marital property to pay his or her extramarital partner’s living expenses or to buy lavish gifts for them, the court could consider this and decide to give you more property. Additionally, although the court cannot directly consider infidelity when deciding to award spousal maintenance, it could be relevant if it appears the affair placed you at a financial disadvantage.
If you and your spouse have kids, the affair could also be considered in connection with child custody and placement. This typically will be a factor if there is evidence that the unfaithful spouse has hurt your children through their behavior or that exposure to the unfaithful spouse and his or extramarital partner would be harmful to your children.
Discovering that your partner is unfaithful can be a devastating and painful experience which can leave you not knowing what to do next. We understand what you are going through and can help you navigate Wisconsin family laws.
Contact Karyn Youso for a free consultation to discuss your goals and consider your options.