As a means for initiating a divorce, infidelity qualifies as a legitimate ground for divorce in the state of New York. As a “no-fault” state, a spouse need only show the divide between themselves, and the breakdown of the relationship, is not resolvable, and that the best thing for both parties would be a full termination of the relationship. Adultery, when shown, can represent the “irreconcilable difference” between the spouses, leading to the no-fault divorce.
However, while it is considered grounds for divorce, it does not necessarily mean that it automatically has implications regarding settlements and decisions. Marital fault, or adultery, is not a common consideration when the court is deliberating over topics such as alimony or dividing assets. Although the courts have made it clear that outlandish or egregious behavior is considered in the decision making process for the above issues, adultery does not rise to the level of what they consider to be egregious behavior.
In some cases, it is what occurs within the affair that has lasting impacts on decisions regarding the divorce settlements. For example, if one of the spouses used marital funds to make purchases for and support the affair, the court may factor that into their decision regarding an alimony award.