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Does cheating cost you in a divorce?

September 4, 2019

does cheating cost you in a divorce

“Life is short, have an affair” is the catch phrase of Ashley Madison, the Canadian hook up site for cheating spouses which now boasts over 34 million members, including nearly 500,000 in Australia. And whilst the prevalence of infidelity in Australia is hard to measure, there is no doubt that when high profile personalities are caught cheating, it makes front page news. Remember Barnaby Joyce?

Family law solicitors are often asked by their clients whether they will get more from their property settlement if they can prove that their ex has had an affair. Clients often want to make their cheating former spouse pay for his or her infidelity by getting extra from the financial settlement. It is the case that in some overseas countries, private investigators are hired to find evidence of cheating and this evidence is used in Court to prove fault in a divorce to argue for a larger distribution of the marital property.

In Australia, however, there is no punishment or penalty as a result of a spouse having been unfaithful. Australia is what is called a “no fault” jurisdiction. This means that a court does not consider which partner was at fault in the marriage breakdown. The only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship, demonstrated by 12 months of separation. It does not matter whether or not a party has had an affair.

Who gets what in a property settlement will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The length of the relationship;
  • The financial contributions of each party;
  • The non-financial contribution made by each party, eg. to parenting and housework; and
  • The current and future needs of each party.

Family Law matters can be emotional and time consuming. Don’t delay, contact our experienced Family Law Team to see how we can help you.
For tailored legal advice for your unique situation, please call Paterson & Dowding Family Lawyers and Mediators on (08) 9226 3300 and make an appointment with one of our team of experienced family lawyers.

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