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Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny

Does adultery matter in a divorce in Washington State?

Adultery has no bearing on a divorce in Washington State. Cheating doesn't matter because Washington State is a "no-fault" state, which means that either party can file for divorce without providing proof of a particular cause, such as adultery.

Instead, the filing party only has to state that the marriage is "irretrievably broken." Because adultery doesn't matter in a Washington State divorce, it does not impact the parenting plan or divorce settlement.

Grounds for Divorce in Washington

Some states require that the spouse filing for divorce has a legal reason or “grounds” for divorce. In these “fault states,” the filing spouse tells the judge why she wants a divorce and explains the marital misconduct (such as adultery) of the other party. The grounds will be a matter of record and may impact the child custody, alimony, and the divorce settlement.

Washington State, on the other hand, is a no-fault state. Because Washington subscribes to a no-fault philosophy, the courts don’t give any consideration to the reasons you want a divorce. In fact, Washington judges won’t hear couples’ nitty gritty qualms or their dirty laundry. All the filing party must specify is that the marriage is unfixable and irreconcilable.

Factors the Judge Considers in a Divorce

The law makes it very clear that judges are not to consider fault when determining divorce arrangements. As such, adultery does not come into play in decisions about custody or property division, nor does it impact spousal support, a common concern amongst couples.

Many wronged spouses want to use the adultery as the reason to convince the judge that they deserve alimony, but this won’t impact the judge’s decision.

The only kinds of factors that Washington courts consider when determining alimony include the following.

  • The income and financial resources of the spouse requesting alimony (obligee)
  • How much time the obligee needs to obtain adequate education/training to find suitable employment
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The couple’s standard of living prior to the divorce
  • The age, physical health, and financial obligations of each spouse
  • The paying spouses (obligor’s) income, assets, and ability to pay spousal support until the obligee can earn an adequate living

Reaching for a Divorce Resolution

You will also want to have an attorney review your case to assist with negotiations, offer tips on how to achieve an amicable divorce, and protect your interests. For a divorce lawyer in Washington, call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today at 425-460-0550 for a consultation.

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney