Every 36 seconds two people who once vowed to love each other until death, end their marriage. That averages out to about 149 divorces per 1000 marriages.
A large percentage of those marriages ended because the spouse cheated. There are laws that protect spouses in this case, and you need to know what to do.
Knowing how to protect yourself from the actions of a cheating spouse saves you further heartache down the road. You don’t have to worry about your well-being if you decide to end the marriage.
If they leave you for the other person, you don’t have to agonize about them getting away with it. In some cases, the punishment for infidelity is more than a little alimony.
Finding out that your spouse cheated is more than horrifying. It crushes your spirit. Here’s what you need to know legally to help you emotionally.
If Your Spouse Cheated, You Can Put Them in Jail
In quite a few states in the US, marriage law is heavily influenced by religion. So much so, that you can get up to five years of prison time for cheating.
States like Oklahoma have zero tolerance for people who disrespect their marriage vows. It’s a felony punishable by jail time. The judge may opt to fine the guilty party $500, or both—jail and the fine.
Other states like Mississippi, Illinois, and Hawaii also consider cheating a crime. Mississippi and Hawaii have Alienation of Affection laws that date back to 1926. Break this law and your spouse could spend a year locked up or pay a hefty fine.
Study the laws in your state pertaining to infidelity, because cheating affects a divorce.
Did Spouse Spend Money on His Affair Partner?
If you noticed your spouse spent money on their lover, you can get it back in some cases.
In community property states, any money accumulated during the marriage belongs to both people. Both of you have an equal right to every dime.
When a spouse takes what equally belongs to you and spends it on an affair, you can demand reimbursement. The courts require tangible proof—bank statements and receipts. Once you have proof, you can make the cheater pay up in the divorce settlement.
Automatic Custody of the Kids
Regardless of how hard you try to shield your children, an affair will affect them. Although you’re the victim, that doesn’t secure automatic full custody of the kids.
That might be a hard pill to swallow.
In a divorce that involves children, the court looks out for the overall well-being of the kids. The spouse’s cheating behavior towards you doesn’t speak on their ability to parent. Some cheaters are great parents.
Please be aware of this if you file for divorce. Infidelity doesn’t secure full custody.
Know Your Rights
If your spouse cheated, you don’t have to take the short end of the stick. You have rights. Use this guide to refer to your state’s rules on infidelity and fight to get your dignity back.
We have more tips like this to help you on your journey. Check out our lifestyle guide for more ideas on life and love.