Personal Injury Lawyer
What legal action can be taken against a cheating spouse depends from one state to another. In West Virginia, adultery is not considered a crime but does give you grounds for divorce. There are however a lot of other criteria that come into play, and it would be for the best if you consult with an experienced divorce lawyer to understand the impacts of infidelity on your divorce case. We’ll give you an overview of what can happen in the case of adultery with regards to your legal rights, divorce, alimony, child custody and so on so that you have an idea of how things work.
What you need to know if your spouse cheats on you
Currently, sixteen states in the US consider adultery a crime, West Virginia is not one of them. However, when it comes to WV, adultery can play a role in how a divorce proceeds. In WV adultery is defined as a married person having sexual relations with someone other than their spouse.
If your spouse has cheated on you then here’s what you can do:
- You can file for a divorce stating adultery as a fault-based reason.
- You need to file for your divorce within three years of your spouse last cheating on you. This does not apply if it as an ongoing affair that you just found out about.
- You need to start living separately from your spouse after finding out about the adultery.
You cannot file for divorce on the grounds of adultery if:
- You also cheated on your spouse.
- You continued to live with your spouse after finding out about the adultery.
- You accepted your spouse’s infidelity.
- Your spouse cheated on you after you filed for divorce from him or her.
- There is no evidence of the affair other than uncorroborated testimony.
How does proving infidelity affect a divorce proceeding?
If you have been able to show the court that your spouse has had an affair within the last three years, then this could have bearings on other aspects of the divorce. In West Virginia, it is left to the judge to decide how much alimony needs to be paid, for how long and whether in installments or in a lump-sum.
Adultery could sway the judge’s decision one way or another. For example, a man might be exempted from paying alimony to his ex-wife if she was having an affair during the time that they were married. Do bear in mind that each case is different, and several factors could affect the court’s decision.
Adultery could also affect child custody, possibly giving the cheated-on spouse an upper hand in the battle. Again, other factors are also considered when awarding custody of the children to one parent or going in favor of joint custody.
If you believe that your spouse has cheated or is cheating on you and you would like to know what legal action you can take, in the State of West Virginia, we encourage you to contact a family lawyer residents turn to.