Whether you’ve made the difficult choice to proceed with divorce because your spouse had an affair or whether you yourself had an affair, you may be wondering, how do the courts in Pennsylvania view an affair?
In Pennsylvania the answer to this question is largely established by statutes. In filing for divorce, Pennsylvania is a no fault state. This means that if you want to be divorced you do not have to prove that the other person committed a “fault” such as adultery (i.e. had an affair) in order to receive your divorce decree. An affair neither helps nor hinders filing for a divorce in Pennsylvania.
Additionally, a court determining the custody of minor children will not consider an affair by either parent. Instead the court will create a custody order based on the best interests of the children. To do this, the court examines specific ‘custody factors’ that are listed in Pennsylvania’s statutes. An affair committed by either party is not one of these factors.
Where a court can consider an affair is in awarding alimony. Where one spouse files to collect alimony from the other and this other spouse has had an affair, Pennsylvania courts are allowed to consider the ‘marital misconduct’ of the other spouse. An affair is considered to be marital misconduct. Alternatively, if a spouse tries to collect alimony but they themselves had an affair, this could bar them from collecting alimony.
In filing for a divorce it is important that the lawyer you retain knows how the circumstances surrounding your separation and the filing for divorce can impact yourself, your children, and your finances. Our firm of Pittsburgh based attorneys specialize in the practice of family law. Contact us today to discuss filing for a divorce and to discuss the course of action that’s best for you.