Does Adultery Affect Child Custody? The Impact Of Adultery On Child Custody

Adultery is one of the most common reasons for divorce, but does it have any impact on child custody?

image of divorcing couple
Divorcing Couple

The answer may depend on the state where the divorce is filed, the evidence of the affair, and the best interests of the child.

Adultery and Child Custody Laws

In most states, courts are required to decide child custody based on the best interests of the child, regardless of the marital misconduct of either parent.

This means that adultery does not usually affect a custody decision, unless it can be shown that the affair had a negative effect on the child’s well-being.

Some factors that courts may consider when determining the best interests of the child include:

1.The child’s wishes, if they are old enough to express them
2.The mental and physical health of both parents and the child
3.The stability and continuity of the child’s home environment
4.The relationship between the child and each parent
5.The ability and willingness of each parent to provide for the child’s needs
6.The cooperation and communication between the parents
7.Any history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or criminal activity

Generally speaking, adultery does not directly affect any of these factors, unless there is evidence that the cheating spouse exposed the child to harm, neglect, or inappropriate behavior.

For example, if the cheating spouse spent marital funds on the affair, abandoned the child to pursue the affair, or introduced the child to a new partner without proper discretion, these actions could be considered as detrimental to the child’s best interests.


Adultery and Child Support

Adultery may also have an indirect effect on child support, depending on how it affects the division of marital property and income.

In some states, adultery is a ground for fault-based divorce, which may entitle the innocent spouse to a larger share of the marital assets or alimony.

This could affect the amount of child support that the cheating spouse has to pay or receive, depending on their financial situation.

However, in most states, adultery does not affect property division or alimony, as they follow a no-fault divorce system.

This means that courts do not consider marital misconduct when dividing assets or awarding spousal support, but rather focus on factors such as the length of marriage, the contribution of each spouse to the marriage, and the earning capacity of each spouse.



Adultery is a painful and personal issue that can cause a lot of emotional distress and resentment in a divorce.

However, it does not necessarily have a legal impact on child custody or support, unless it can be proven that it harmed the child or affected the financial situation of the parents.

In most cases, courts will try to make custody decisions that are in the best interests of the child, regardless of the parents’ infidelity.

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