Washington is a no-fault divorce state, which means that you do not have to assign fault to your spouse in order to obtain a divorce. That means that you cannot cite the infidelity of your spouse, or cheating as the reason for divorce. The courts are not interested in why your marriage fell apart. If you can establish the following few basic criteria under Washington law, you can obtain a divorce.
Does that mean that cheating has absolutely no impact on the divorce, or that your spouse’s adulterous behavior has absolutely no influence on the financial settlement that you received? Not exactly.
How Infidelity Can Affect the Divorce Settlement
While you cannot name your spouse’s adultery or cheating as the basis for the divorce, you can use his behavior to influence the financial terms of the divorce settlement.
Say, for example, during the adulterous relationship, your spouse rented a luxury apartment for his girlfriend. In a settlement, your divorce attorney could argue that you deserve the cost of the apartment on top of a standard dissolution of marriage amount. However, for this, you must prove these expenses with documented evidence
That doesn't mean that you undertake illegal activities, like hacking into your spouse’s social media or email accounts. While commonplace, logging on to someone's account is illegal without permission.
Any evidence that you procure through such activities is probably not admissible in court. If you suspect that your spouse is cheating on you, use legal means to obtain evidence. This means hiring an investigator, usually, so verify to yourself first that the cost is worth it.
Egregious Adulterous Behavior
If you were mistreated during the marriage in other ways, like having your spouse openly flaunt his/her affair, then your settlement could ostensibly be higher. Higher settlement amounts very often are determined by hiring a competent divorce lawyer.
If the adulterous relationship was also accompanied by violence or abuse in your marriage, then a court may consider this an extenuating circumstance. It is possible you could be awarded additional funds as the abused spouse if your divorce goes to court.
It is possible to fully answer questions about adultery and divorce only on a case-by-case basis. Discuss your case with a divorce lawyer, and find out if you can obtain an increased settlement amount based on adultery in your marriage. Call 425-460-0550 to speak with family lawyer Molly B. Kenny to discuss your case, or fill out the online form and schedule a consultation.