When your spouse has an affair, it can spell the end of your trust and your marriage. Many people who were cheated on find that divorce is the best way to try to move on. Still, infidelity can make settling divorce legal issues such as spousal support emotionally complicated.
California and no-fault divorce
California law recognizes no-fault divorce, meaning neither spouse needs to behave egregiously to legally end their marriage. There simply needs to be irreconcilable differences to get a divorce. Even if your spouse was unfaithful, you do not list adultery as the grounds for divorce in California.
Because California is a no-fault divorce state, fault within the marriage does not affect how divorce legal issues — specifically spousal support — are resolved. Basically, you may still owe spousal support even if your spouse cheated on you.
How long will I be paying spousal support?
The idea of no-fault divorce can be a tough pill to swallow if you are divorcing because your spouse had an affair. However, there are limits on spousal support that apply to all divorcees to ensure the final order is fair.
For example, if you were married for less than 10 years, spousal support will last up to half the duration of your marriage. If you were married 10 years or more, spousal support will last a “reasonable” amount of time.
There are also circumstances under which spousal support will end early. One is if the parties agree so in writing. Another is through a court order. A third is if the spouse receiving support remarries. Finally, spousal support will end upon the death of either spouse.
Ultimately, spousal support will last as long as it would reasonably take the receiving spouse to become financially self-sufficient. Courts will examine a variety of statutory factors when determining how long it will take the receiving spouse to become financially self-sufficient. Courts aim to ensure an award of spousal support is fair and lasts only as long as is reasonably necessary.