Does Adultery Impact Child Custody in California?

Adultery impacts countless relationships and, in many cases, it leads to the breakup of marriages. According to an article published by Business Insider earlier this year, relationship experts and psychologists have studied the science of infidelity for years, coming up with some surprising insight on the matter. Before we address how cheating impacts child custody in California, here is some data from the findings:

  • Economically dependent spouses are more likely to cheat.
  • People feel differently based on the sex their spouse cheats with.
  • The average person’s chance of cheating is about 42%.
  • Straight men are more upset by sexual infidelity, whereas straight women are more upset by emotional affairs.
  • People are more likely to cheat around ages 39 and 49, right before they hit the big 40 or 50.
  • Genetics may influence the likelihood of straying.
  • Nowadays, women are as likely as men to cheat.
  • Older Americans are more likely to cheat than younger Americans.
  • Emotional affairs are becoming more common.
  • The key factor that keeps people from cheating is morality.
  • Previous cheaters are more likely to cheat again.

Now that we know a little more about cheating, let’s discuss the issue of child custody and whether cheating can impact it. To learn more about how the California family courts address infidelity, we must discuss the state’s no-fault divorce laws.

California is a No-Fault Divorce State

California is a no-fault divorce state, which means spouses can file for divorce without pointing the finger at their spouse. The California courts are generally not concerned with “why” a marriage broke down, all that matters is that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Usually, infidelity does NOT impact property division (unless the cheating spouse wasted marital assets on the affair), spousal support, or child custody, with limited exceptions.

In by far the majority of cases, cheating will not affect child custody. Adultery can affect child custody if the cheating parent somehow let the relationship impact their parenting, for example, if a mother left her small children home alone all night so she could spend the night at her boyfriend’s house while her husband was away.

Another example is a cheating father who parades his girlfriend around the family residence in front of his teenage children while their mother is at work. Since these scenarios can affect the children’s emotional and physical well-being, they could have a direct impact on child custody. But in most cases, affairs are kept secret and do not have a negative impact on parenting.

Next: Cheating Spouses Leaving Digital Trails

If you’re looking for divorce representation, we invite you to contact Cage & Miles, LLP for a confidential, free consultation.

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