Infidelity in Divorce
Posted on 03/26/2021 at 03:08 PM by Regan Wilson
When your relationship is ending due to your spouse having an affair, you may wonder what effect that has on your divorce.
For starters, Iowa is a no-fault divorce state, which means you do not have to prove that your spouse was unfaithful or abusive in order to obtain a divorce. Infidelity may be relevant, however, in terms of property division and child custody.
Typically, infidelity would not dictate how a court divides assets or debts of your marriage unless you can prove that assets were depleted to benefit the new relationship. For example, say you notice that your spouse has withdrawn significant sums from a bank account and purchased lavish gifts for the new partner. After identifying the asset that was wasted, your spouse would need to prove how he or she spent the asset. The court would then assess whether the expenditure amounted to a dissipation of assets under the circumstances. In concluding whether the expenditure amounted to dissipation, the court would analyze several factors, including whether it was money spent for legitimate household and business expenses. In short, if you notice an asset has been depleted and believe it is tied to your spouse’s new relationship, it is worthwhile to request proof of how your spouse spent the depleted asset so that it can be accounted for in your divorce.
With regard to child custody, infidelity may become a factor depending on how the children were introduced to the new partner and whether the new partner is unsafe. For example, if your spouse begins a relationship with someone with founded child abuse, substance abuse issues, or a criminal record, the court would highly scrutinize this new relationship in its custody award. The new relationship may also become a factor depending on the parent’s background check of the person, whether the child gets along with the new partner, and whether the parent prioritizes his or her relationship with the new partner at the expense of the children.
If you are contemplating divorce or establishing paternity, be sure to bring any infidelity issues to your attorney so that he or she can discuss how it fits your legal narrative. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact Attorney Regan Wilson.
Regan Wilson is a Shareholder Attorney at Dickinson Law practicing primarily in family law and general civil litigation. For more information on her practice, click here.
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