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I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

What role does cheating play in a Massachusetts divorce?

Few things are more emotionally devastating than finding out that one's spouse has been unfaithful. Many men and women in Massachusetts file for divorce in the aftermath of an affair, and expect their partner's poor choices to be reflected in the outcome of the divorce settlement. They are often shocked to learn that infidelity plays a very small role in divorce.

For spouses who have been subjected to acts of infidelity, it is important to try and avoid letting the emotional fallout affect their decision-making process. It is often a good course of action to take the time to process what has taken place, and to gain a measure of emotional stability before moving forward with a divorce filing. Doing so can not only lead to a less contentious divorce, but can also help spouses make more objective choices during the negotiation process.

For parents, infidelity can play a role in the child custody process. In instances in which adultery was conducted in a manner that could be dangerous to shared children, the matter may be brought to the attention of a family court judge. This would require a level of proof that one spouse is not able provide a safe environment for a child. An example would be a parent who set up sexual encounters with multiple strangers, or who used the services of prostitutes.

The impact that adultery has on a Massachusetts marriage is different for every couple. The best way to determine the proper course of action is to fully research all of the applicable laws governing divorce. Doing so can help a spouse understand what role, if any, their partner's behavior may play in the eventual dissolution of the marriage. This can help as a spouse files for divorce and attempts to move forward as a single person.

Source: Huffington Post, Divorce Confidential: A Cheating Heart and Its Role in Divorce, Caroline Choi, Oct. 1, 2013

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