While infidelity, or adultery, as grounds for divorce in New York, it actually has little to no impact on a financial settlement handed down by the court. Of course, you can still file for alimony and be awarded what you seek, but just know that the adultery itself will not be used as a mitigating factor when determining if you are entitled to support, and how much.
In New York, the law defines adultery as “a married person having sexual intercourse with another person, who is not his or her spouse”. Because adultery is a “fault divorce” ground, you will be required to prove that there was adultery from an outside party, usually a hired private investigator.
With regard to alimony, the court uses this list in order to determine if alimony will be awarded, and how much is to be paid out.
– Length of the marriage, including any time the couple lived together before and after the marriage
– Contributions and services by the spouse seeking alimony, such as homemaker contributions
– Age and health of both spouses
– Need for one spouse to gain education or training, and how long this might take
– Income and property of both spouses
– Acts that prevent a spouse’s ability to gain employment or increase earning ability (for example, mental or physical abuse)
– Any need to pay for exceptional expenses, such as schooling and medical care for children
– Where children from the marriage live
– Present and future earning ability of each spouse, including reduced ability of one spouse due to delaying of education or career opportunities, and inability to earn due to age or absence from workforce
– What property was awarded during equitable distribution
There are a few others that belong on the list, but what is important here to understand that adultery, proven or otherwise, is not on this list, because it is not a factor in alimony decisions. Simply, adultery does not ensure alimony, and while although the court does take into consideration egregious and heinous acts when deciding over awarding alimony, they do not consider adultery either of those things. The only time adultery comes into play with respect to financial settlements is if marital funds are spent on the spouses’ lover.