The Aftereffects of Cheating on a Marriage

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The Aftereffects of Cheating on a Marriage

Once you find out about cheating, it can cut you so deep that it feels as though the pain will never go away. If you are the cheater you start to realize how getting sucked up in the moment can have tremendous consequences on your life. But what are the real aftereffects of cheating on a marriage? If you are staying together, it means trying to pick up the pieces and reestablish trust, no easy feat there. You may feel like you are in jail or constantly on trial in your own house. If you are the victim of cheating you’ll feel like you’re living with a criminal, someone who reminds you constantly of the betrayal, someone you are always suspicious of no matter what they are doing. It’s hard to reestablish trust and it takes lots of time.

If you aren’t staying together, realize that unless the assets were used to conduct an affair, no fault divorce laws in every state means that cheating has no legal bearing on the separation of assets. In Florida the law is such that if a husband was meeting a lover, let’s say at a hotel room using his and his wife’s shared account, if she can prove it she can recoup that money. Adultery may come into play in a custody battle if the lawyer can prove that it shows evidence of that person being a bad parent.

The psychological aftereffects of cheating after divorce are low self-esteem, anxiety, anger and the need for revenge, depression and for some a disconnect from reality. Sometimes you realize the affair all of a sudden and it ends the marriage. Sometimes it’s one person’s dirty little secret that the other knows about, but tolerates for a time. But sooner or later enough is enough. Either way when you find out you’ve been cheated on the pain can be overwhelming. And when it leads to a divorce it is compounded, especially if it is a long, drawn out and painful divorce with fighting over the assets or custody of the children.

Lots of people need to rest after that, reconnect with themselves, their friends, and their family. They have to get used to being divorced and being single again. There are lots of adjustments to be made. Where will you live? Do you have to go back to work? There’s the need for validation which usually comes from dating again or a rebound relationship. Am I attractive? Will others find me sexy? Sooner or later everyone gets over infidelity even if it leads to divorce. It’s a painful journey but light is at the end of that tunnel. Usually things fall into place in the long run. For more help with recovering from an affair, read the book, Transcending Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD): The Six Stages of Healing by Dennis C. Ortman, Ph.D.

5 Steps to Divorcing your Husband

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Getting a divorce is a huge decision. But most people know deep in their heart when the time is right, when you have irreconcilable differences, when there has been too many grievances to repair trust or when you just can’t be happy together or get along anymore. Most people are solid on the emotional issues and how to move forward in that sense. But when it comes to the legal sense they are often clueless. Many don’t look into the process at all. They are vulnerable to shady operators. What you are looking for in the legal sense is a Petition for Dissolution.  Once a judgment is entered then the divorce is final, but not before. Without that document you aren’t legally divorced. Some not-so-honest lawyers let cases go on and on for years without getting a judgment handed down. So it’s best to know, be informed about the process so that it can move forward as smoothly as possible without wasting time, money and adding more emotional distress than there needs to be. Here are 5 steps to divorcing your husband. The first step, file a petition of dissolution. In the 1970’s no-fault divorce laws came to fruition in many states across the country. Find out what the particular situation is in your state. In no-fault states, either party can file a petition of dissolution for any reason. In states where one spouse has to be at fault, reasons such as infidelity, domestic abuse and others may need to be stated. Most states however are no-fault states. But you definitely need to check. A quick Google search should tell you.

There is generally a charge to file this petition. The document will be served to your soon-to-be ex-spouse to notify them of your wish to be divorced from them. It’s a good idea to let your husband know that you’ve filed for a divorce previous to receiving the papers, or else it could be a big shock, make them fly into a rage,  or result in some other negative emotional response. After the one person is served with papers, they have 30 days in order to compose and send in a response. If they fail to file, the petitioner or the person who filed for divorce can ask for a default of judgment. The filer should then receive all of the things they asked for in the original petition. There may be exceptions. Make sure you select a divorce lawyer carefully and discuss this with him or her should your husband fail to respond. Now an automatic temporary restraining order (ATRO) will be put into place to prevent one spouse or the other from absconding with the children, selling or cleaning out the couple’s assets and so on as an act of revenge. You are not allowed to take your children out of state at this time. You can’t benefit from any insurance claims at this time. No concealing or transferring property or other assets. Now you’ve completed the first step and are in divorce proceedings. It won’t end until you get a judgment from the court.

It usually takes around six months or so to get a judgment. That said, custody and the splitting of assets are the two main items to be negotiated and settled upon. Will there be spousal support? Who gets the house and how are the assets to be allocated? Now it’s time for our second step, to get a court date in order to work these issues out, called an “Order to Show Cause” or an OSC. This process is called “pendent lite,” which is Latin meaning, “while the case is pending”. Whatever arrangements met at this time are not permanent, though the longer they stay in place the more likely they will become permanent. You can negotiate with your ex-spouse at any time and reach an agreement during this phase. Both parties should file OSC in order to gain some peace and some space. Now if there has been any physical or emotional abuse you should take part in our third step, filing a domestic abuse restraining order.

Now the fourth step is called the disclosure of finances. Many times in a marriage one party knows much more about the finances than the other. Furthermore, many states assume that even if one spouse has stayed home and hasn’t worked, their contribution through domestic duties and perhaps caring for the children mean that they are entitled to their fair share of the assets. Even if they were total couch potatoes, how the law states it is clear. However, be sure to check on the particulars with your attorney as laws can vary from state to state. Hiding assets will not be looked on favorably by the judge. In fact, he or she may award even more than their fair share in recompense for the deceit. It’s best to disclose everything. Now, once the disclosures are done the settlement negotiation begins. That’s our fifth step. How much will support be? How will property and other assets be allocated? Who gets custody of the children? How will holidays be divvied up? If no settlement can be reached a court date will be required and set. Now you can ask for a stipulated judgment or a marital settlement agreement (MSA). The difference between the two is that one is a judgment handed down by the court; the MSA is an actual contract. If it is breached then you can sue for breach of contract. Finally, you will then receive a Notice of Entry of Judgment which gives you a legal date for when your divorce took place. Once that document is filed you are officially, legally divorced. For more on this, pick up a copy of Getting Divorced Without Ruining Your Life: A Reasoned, Practical Guide to the Legal, Emotional and Financial Ins and Outs of Negotiating a Divorce Settlement by Sam Margulies.

There Are Several Defenses You Can Use To Prevent A Fault Divorce

 

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If your spouse is claiming a fault divorce against you, there are several defensive stances you can take to prevent this:

  • Collusion occurs when two parties work together to fake a fault grounds for divorce in order to gain the divorce more quickly.  In some states, separation prior to divorce is a requirement, so couples may opt to make up a story in order to attain a divorce more quickly.  If you and your spouse do this, but then decide later that you don’t want to be accused of the fault that you and your ex contrived together, you can use the collusion as your defense.
  • Connivance is the act of setting up a situation that causes someone to do something wrong.  If your spouse sets up a situation in which you’re alone with another person (who could be seen as a potential lover), and then uses that later as proof of adultery, you can use the defense that your spouse set up the situation.
  • Provocation is when someone provokes or leads someone else to do something. If your spouse claims that you deserted him or her, you can use the defense that your spouse provoked you to do it.
  • Condonation is the approval of behavior.  If your spouse accuses you of adultery, you can use the defense that your spouse condoned or approved of that behavior while you were together.

It’s not wise to use any of these defenses unless you have sound proof of their validity. Submitting this claim will create more time needed to finalize the divorce, more court expenses, and no guarantee that your defense will be validated in court.  If you feel certain about your defense and have proof of its validity, then you can and should bring your defense to the court’s attention.

There Are Potential Benefits To Proving Your Spouse Is At Fault For Your Divorce

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In 15 states within the U.S, all divorces are considered “no-fault” divorces.  The remaining states allow for a person to choose either a ”fault” or “no-fault” divorce.   In order to prove the fault of your spouse, you must prove that your spouse committed one of the following acts:

  • Cruelty, adultery, desertion/abandonment/neglect, confinement in prison, or the inability to have sexual intercourse.

If you are able to prove one of these things about your spouse, you can have what is called a fault divorce, which gives full responsibility to your spouse for the grounds or causes of your divorce.  The benefits of doing this only pertain to the states that allow for a fault divorce, and can vary depending on your state of residence as well as your individual circumstances surrounding your divorce.

One potential benefit of a fault divorce is gaining the actual divorce more quickly.  If you’re able to prove the fault of your spouse, you will likely get a divorce granted much more quickly due to the projected need for a legal separation from your spouse.  The person who proves fault may also get a larger share of the marital property and/or more alimony.

If both parties are found to be at fault, the spouse who is found to be the least at fault will be granted the fault divorce under the court doctrine called “comparative rectitude”.

If you are the one being accused of being at fault, keep in mind that it has to be proven in order for it to be granted.  If you are not at fault, then you have nothing to worry about.